Canadian-American tenor Isaiah Bell recently returned to Mark Morris’ acclaimed double-bill production of Curlew River/Dido & Aeneas at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, giving “a performance of exquisite poignancy” (The New York Times) as the Madwoman in Curlew River, opposite Stephanie Blythe as Dido. Shortly thereafter he made his Carnegie Hall debut, winning third place in the 2017 OSNY Solo Competition at Weill Recital Hall.
Further recent engagements include George Benjamin’s Written on Skin with the Toronto Symphony conducted by the composer, Lysander in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at l’Opéra-Théâtre de Metz in France, Strauss’s Elektra at l’Opéra de Montréal under Yannick Nézét-Séguin, and Handel’s Ode for St. Cecilia’s Day and Messiah, with Nicholas McGegan and the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra in San Francisco. Previously he appeared in Britten’s Owen Wingrave, under Mark Wigglesworth at the Aldeburgh and Edinburgh Festivals, Acis and Galatea at Lincoln Center with the Mark Morris Dance Group, Mendelssohn’s Lobgesang with Bramwell Tovey and the Vancouver Symphony, and, with Kent Nagano and l’Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, Berlioz’s Roméo et Juliette and a Decca recording of the Honegger/Ibert opera L’Aiglon.
In the current season he sings Messiah and Weill’s Seven Deadly Sins with the Toronto Symphony, Eurimaco in Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria with Opera Atelier, Messiah with the National Arts Centre Orchestra conducted by Alexander Shelley, and his first Beethoven Symphony no. 9 with the Seattle Symphony. He also makes solo debuts with the Calgary Philharmonic, the Nashville Symphony, and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra.
In May 2015 Isaiah played the central role of Marlow in the American premiere of Tarik O’Regan’s Heart of Darkness at Opera Parallèle, a performance described by the San Francisco Chronicle as “sung with exquisite lyricism and an air of heroism”. He also has sung Bach’s Matthew Passion with Yannick Nézét-Séguin and l’Orchestre Métropolitain, a recital of German and English song for CBC Radio’s “In Concert,” a staged Messiah with Against the Grain Theatre, two discs of German Baroque cantatas with the Theatre of Early Music, and William Walton’s Façade with members of l’Orchestre symphonique de Montréal.
As a composer, Isaiah has written four operas – including the music and libretti for two operas for young audiences commissioned and widely toured by Opera NUOVA – and a number of song cycles and arrangements. He shares a very nice vizsla with his husband René, who is also very nice.