Isaiah Bell, tenor



On the world premiere of La Reine-garçon:
“This young man has immense stage presence and is endowed with a powerful and beautiful instrument. Watch out for him – stardom awaits.” Ossama el Naggar
February 2024
“Isaiah Bell, agile both vocally and physically, impresses in his wild incarnation of Count Johan Oxenstierna.” [translated from French] Éric Champagne
February 6, 2024
“…but it’s the delicious Isaiah Bell as the narcissistic and hilarious Count Johan that Bouchard spoils with many moments of enjoyable comedy that stole my heart.” [translated from French] Yanik Comeau
February 4, 2024
On Isaiah’s solo show The Book of My Shames:
“Bell manages to balance the painful with the funny by deftly avoiding the poles of mawkishness and self-deprecation. As a result, he invites us to laugh with him and not at him, and to empathize with his sadness rather than pity him in his worst moments.It doesn’t hurt that he has the delivery and timing of a seasoned standup comic and the voice of an angel. Well, maybe not quite an angel, per se, unless you can imagine a winged cherub singing about mutual masturbation.

Bell is a prodigiously gifted tenor… but he often wrings the most emotional intensity out of his own songs when he reins things in and delivers the lyrics in an almost-spoken style.

This is a creative team that gets just about every detail right, allowing Bell to shine at centre stage. If that isn’t love, I don’t know what is.”

John Lucas
STIR Magazine
May 2023
“It is, of course, a tour de force… Bell’s delivery is seemingly casual, even confessional, but his timing is that of a polished professional, well versed in delicacies of tone and timing.” David Gordon Duke
Vancouver Sun
May 2023
“Ardently coltish Isaiah Bell shows off a gleaming, assured tenor as Lysander. Mr. Bell’s secure declamations were well balanced with wonderfully vocalized introspective passages.” James Sohre
Opera Today
July 2022
“The part of Obadiah, sung by the tenor, gets what is perhaps the most famous of the oratorio’s arias (“If with all your hearts ye truly seek Me”). If the concert had stopped right there, it would have been enough for some. Mr. Bell’s dazzling, impassioned singing was utterly convincing.” Joanna Barouch
Broadway World
May 15, 2022
On Poulenc’s The Human Voice, adapted and performed by Isaiah for City Opera Vancouver:

“With a remarkably fine tenor, Bell conveys his character’s… utter devastation. Bell’s voice, clear and immaculately on pitch right to the top of his range, has a plaintive edge he uses at moments of intense emotional interplay or eases out when less overwrought. Bell’s finely tuned performance is so perfectly married to his own sensitive and intelligent adaptation that the viewer is irrevocably drawn into the unfolding of this intensely personal drama.”

Robert Jordan
Opera Canada
Spring 2021
The Book of My Shames highlighted in this list of Toronto’s Best Classical Music of 2019: “Unflinching personal narrative, gorgeous music (some of it composed by him) and a deft dramatic/comedic touch… Please bring this show back!!” Larry Beckwith
Confluence Concerts
January 3, 2020
“The star of the evening was surely tenor Bell. Moments of stillness, smooth-as-silk coloratura, careful attention to every note, even a fun treading of the line between Baroque-style straight-tone and full-throated operatic vibrato – Bell had the chance to offer it all, and he did so with poise.” Jenna Simeonov
The Globe and Mail
December 23, 2019
“Isaiah Bell’s exceptionally soothing and poignant delivery of “Comfort ye.” There was a tenderness and sweetness to his lines — sort of like hearing a John McCormack without the accent. He endowed the dramatic “Every valley” with delightful ornamentation, treating phrases such as “the rough places” with virtuosic embellishment… It was a pleasure to hear Bell again in “Deposuit potentes,” this time in the lower register of his range and with a sense of power and urgency not required in Handel’s work.” Steve Siegel
The Morning Call
December 9, 2019
Opera Canada‘s profile on the project with which Isaiah made his directorial debut:
“For Bell, this craft and this immediacy is the key to making these pieces feel timeless. ‘If it’s good art it’ll touch something in us that’s eternal.'”
Martin Molpeceres
Opera Canada
October 18, 2019
“The confessional one-person show has to be an actor’s greatest challenge. Done wrong, the performance wallows in self-indulgence. Done right, one person’s perspective can illuminate other lives. Young Canadian tenor Isaiah Bell…achieves the latter in The Book of My Shames.” John Terauds
The Toronto Star
June 7, 2019
“As Hadrian’s lover, Antinous, the impressive Canadian tenor Isaiah Bell sang with a high, well-rounded, English-style tenor that suited a haughty young male on the brink of manhood.” Christopher Hoile
Opera News
October/November, 2018
“Cushioned by an ensemble of melting solo strings, the sweet-voiced tenor Isaiah Bell and the refined baritone Thomas Hampson exchange loving phrases.” Anthony Tommasini
The New York Times
October 19, 2018
“Mr. Hampson and Mr. Bell turned in daring performances in their portrayal of Hadrian and Antinous as lovers, but the quieter moments that followed were more moving and resonant.” Anthony Tommasini
The New York Times
October 14, 2018
“Isaiah Bell’s clear tenor and youthful physique made him a believable Antinous. His aria also brought spontaneous applause from the audience, one of only two singers so rewarded.” Joseph So
ludvig van TORONTO
October 15, 2018
“The tenor, Isaiah Bell, played the roles of a shepherd, Sonno’s servant – Morfeo, and Cirilla. It was in the latter role of Cirilla that Bell was given the space to display his ability. Cast as cleaning lady in the hospital, Bell enjoyed hamming it up as a woman, which he did in fine style. He backed up his excellent acting, with a solid singing performance, in which he evinced thought and intelligence, phrasing his lines with an interesting array of a dynamic and rhythmic accents.” Alan Neilson
Opera Wire
August 26, 2018
“Isaiah Bell’s attractive tenor captured the comedy of the hapless Aminta” Heidi Waleson
The Wall Street Journal
July 23, 2018
“And, it’s certainly about time that Canadian tenor Isaiah Bell sang for Opera Atelier. He makes his like-a-glove company debut in Ulysses, and his smooth sound is the first we hear.” Jenna Simeonov
The Globe and Mail
April 20, 2018
Read the Opera Canada profile on Isaiah.
“As we chatted, I sensed Bell is an old soul, possessing a serious-minded maturity that belies his age.”
Joseph So
Opera Canada
Spring 2018
“Every word came through clearly…And Bell’s opening aria (“Comfort ye”) was wonderfully warm” Rob Hubbard
Twin Cities Pioneer Press
December 15, 2017
“Ellen McAteer shone with her brilliant, clear soprano, and Isaiah Bell with his strong, glowing tenor, crystalline diction, and flexible, strongly shaped phrasing.” Michael Miller
New York Arts
May 12, 2017
“Singing the central role of the Celebrant with effortlessly clear diction and a ringing purity of tone was tenor Bell. Bell has the warm, graceful voice of a classic lyric tenor, yet with an upper register approaching countertenor territory, especially notable in the exquisite a cappella “Lord’s Prayer.” His delivery of the Sanctus was equally moving, with a prayer-like quality…” Steve Siegel
The Morning Call
March 27, 2017
“And amid an excellent cast, the tenor Isaiah Bell as the Madwoman gives a performance of exquisite poignancy. The scooping of his voice, up and down, could provoke laughter, but Mr. Bell makes you hear the grief in it, the text’s ‘wandering mind.’ His hesitations pierce the heart, and his physical performance is no less delicate and affecting.” Brian Seibert
The New York Times
March 16, 2017
“Returning after his TSO debut in 2015 was tenor Isaiah Bell, who was a compliment to the role … [and] took the technical challenges of the work with a swaggered ease.” Michael Vincent
Musical Toronto
December 20, 2016
“Tenor Isaiah Bell gave a subtle, nuanced performance — the part is ideally for showing off his elegant sense of phrasing and exceptionally ringing, golden middle register.” Natasha Gauthier
Ottawa Citizen
June 17, 2016
“…The first among them, a Canadian tenor who is – for the moment – little-known in Europe, distinguished himself through his seductive timbre and remarkable singing.” Sébastien Foucart
March 5, 2016
“Two small roles left big impressions: John Mac Master’s Aegisth and Isaiah Bell’s Young Servant. The latter made the ears prick up not only as the first male voice heard in the opera, but for his vivid characterization with just a few lines.” Robert Markow
Opera Magazine
April 2016
“Bell boasts a strong, glorious voice with heroic, oratorio-style ring. Soaring easily into light sweetness at the start of the duet, he subsequently demonstrated that he can produce multiple colors lower in the range and darken his instrument to proclaim with authority when necessary…Bell’s sound is so classic English, and so fresh, that one can simply hope that he will sing as wonderfully as he did on Friday for decades to come.” Jason Victor Serinus
San Francisco Classical Voice
December 8, 2015
“Bell has an attractive, youthfully sexy stage presence that signals his character’s generosity of spirit and caring.” Andrew Beck
Hartford Arts Examiner
June 22, 2015
“In the demanding role of Marlow, tenor Isaiah Bell was excellent.” James Roy MacBean
The Berkeley Daily Planet
May 7, 2015
“Marlow, sung with exquisite lyricism and an air of heroism by tenor Isaiah Bell…” Joshua Kosman
San Francisco Chronicle
May 2, 2015
“Isaiah Bell was quite stunning in his vocal subtlety and strength. Bell’s voice is so pure and full, with such a lovely ring and evenness in his tone production. His renderings of both “Saget es, die ihr erlöst seid…” and “Stricke des Todes” were events in themselves, and added noticeably to the electricity of the proceedings.” Geoffrey Newman
Vancouver Classical Music
February 25, 2015
“Isaiah Bell stood out as a singer to watch, with an uncommonly warm light tenor, smooth musical line and sound artistic choices. Beginning the work by announcing the coming of the Lord, he evinced gentleness and excitement in “Ev’ry valley shall be exalted” and poignancy singing, “Thy rebuke hath broken his heart.” Ronni Reich
New Jersey
December 23, 2014
“Isaiah Bell’s beautiful tenor, command of the style, and natural stage presence made me hear Damon’s music anew.” Stephen Raskauskas
Broadway World
August 11, 2014
“Tenor Isaiah Bell sang with ringing clarity and youthful brio.” Susan Yung
August 10, 2014
“Isaiah Bell sang Lechmere unusually well, his voice adding colours to the part, which could otherwise be interpreted as bland and callow.” Anne Ozorio
Opera Today
June 16, 2014
“Rising star Isaiah Bell, the Canadian-American tenor, enthralled as the evangelist who narrates the story. He maintained clear focus throughout, his effortless voice rising and falling as the dramatic events unfolded. He shaded all his recitatives with the subtle nuances of a fine Shakespearean actor, ultimately declaiming Jesus’s death to harrowing effect.” Holly Harris
Winnipeg Free Press
April 15, 2014
“His vocal tone was something to behold.” Michael Vincent
Musical Toronto
March 29, 2014
“Tenor Isaiah Bell… sang “Every Valley” with beauty and warmth, and delivered a poised “Behold, and see.” This is a singer to watch, not just for his attractive stage presence but for his elegant tenor.” Joseph So
La Scena Musicale
December 15, 2013
“Tenor Isaiah Bell also had both [acting talent and readiness to risk] in abundance, a pretty, seemingly effortlessly produced voice and willingness to invest himself wholly into the character.” Lydia Perović
Definitely the Opera
December 15, 2013
“Standouts include tenor soloist Isaiah Bell who stole the spotlight whenever he appeared in the first half. His joy in his journey and self-discovery was both striking and engaging. His dramatic presence elevated the production.” Ramya Jegatheesen
The Charlebois Post
December 15, 2013
“Isaiah Bell brought a silken tenor to the part of John and Angel 3.” Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim
The New York Times
August 13th, 2013
“… and in the Curlew central role of the Madwoman, the tenor Isaiah Bell gives a performance of haunting beauty, ideally depicting emotional distraction with ultimate economy and glowing vocal skill…. Most eloquently of all, Mr. Bell’s pared-away body language evokes the original Noh idiom. His face, with dark eyes, stays masklike. The distinguished carriage of his head alone tells us that the Madwoman is, as she says, of noble birth; he has only to lower his eyelids or tip his head for it to pierce the heart. And when his body folds in misery, or when he travels round the stage in literal transports of grief, the pathos is extreme…. His singing is finer yet, with firmly sculptured phrasing — especially striking in the many quiet, high lines, but with memorable touches of chest color in lower notes — and effortless clear diction. You hang on his face, his words, and on the gleaming current of his vocal tone.” Alastair Macauley
The New York Times
August 1st, 2013
“Isaiah Bell’s performance of the Madwoman stood out for its emotive power and effortless musical execution. His clear, expressive tenor voice expertly navigated the extremes of the role. Bell sang the high and low notes with equal clarity of resonance and dynamic control. The intensity of his expression reached to the back of the hall…” Kimberly Feltkamp
The Millbrook Independent
August 7th, 2013
“Bell interprets the role remarkably…. [he] modulates his high, clear tenor beautifully among fading-away grief, imperiousness, and violent despair. The last moment belongs to him.” Deborah Jowitt
August 4th, 2013
“The centerpiece of this production, however, was Isaiah Bell as Madwoman. Bell took on one of [Peter] Pears’ roles here and made it wholly, fully his own. With his powerful delivery and Morris’ insightful choreography here fully embodied, Bell more than rose to the challenges of this demanding role.” Cashman Kerr Prince
The Boston Musical Intelligencer
August 1st, 2013
“…the overwhelming emotional force of tenor Isaiah Bell’s performance as the Madwoman deserves special praise.” Michael J. Moran
In the Spotlight
August 2013
“…a strong and supple voice with a pleasing maturity.” Ute Davis
National Capital Opera Society
Spring 2013
“The young tenor Isaiah Bell has a perfect voice for the oratorio. He can sing high notes without straining the voice, allowing it to maintain impeccable diction. He does not try to impress. He recited the text with beautiful phrasing which accentuated meaning.” Pierre Meunier
La Liberté
December 23rd, 2012
“Young tenor Isaiah Bell… sang with with passion and a powerfully resonant tenor voice.” James Flood
Cleveland Classical
April 17th, 2012
“I was intrigued by BC tenor Isaiah Bell… His is a light, sweet sound, with very good agility and a well supported upper range, making him ideal in Rossini. He sang Ramiro’s aria from La Cenerentola – a fiendishly difficult piece not for the faint of heart. He sang fearlessly and quite well, with all the money notes.” Joseph So
La Scena Musicale
February 7th, 2012
“Special mention goes to… Isaiah Bell as the First Jew, whose doctrinal proclamations were chilling in their fervency and clarity.” Robert Markow
Opera Magazine
July 2011
“Isaiah Bell is an exceptional new young Canadian tenor who’s set to emerge on the world market.” Noel Edison
Conductor, Quoted in
Halifax Chronicle-Herald
December 15th, 2010
“Bell’s tenor voice is both light and sweet, but with more than a hint of darkness in it. He sang the sequence of recitatives and arias, narrating how the crowd’s rebuke broke Christ’s heart, with admirable power. His tone, colour and conviction conveyed the mix of sorrow and compassion to be found in Handel’s treatment of this part of the Crucifixion drama.” Stephen Pederson
Halifax Chronicle-Herald
December 19th, 2010
“Tenor Isaiah Bell as the Madwoman was breathtaking. He sustained an intensity of emotion which never toppled into hysteria. His restrained gestures, like the Madwoman’s simple, haunting curlew motif in the music, slowly built suppressed tension and let Britten’s music work its magic.” Elizabeth Paterson
Review Vancouver
May 29th, 2010
“Tenor Isaiah Bell, as the Madwoman, sang fervently with a varied palette and much eloquence (particularly memorable was the duet of oscillating semitones with the flute).” Elissa Poole
Globe and Mail
May 28th, 2010
“The Madwoman was sung with depth and inspiration by tenor Isaiah Bell, who communicated the solemnity and abject sorrow of the women seen in medieval altar paintings at the feet of the crucified Christ.” Hilary Clark
Opera Canada
Fall 2010
“…Blew us out of our shoes with the emotional power and beauty of his voice.” Dr. Charles Barber
City Opera Vancouver’s Artistic Director, quoted in the Times Colonist
January 23rd, 2010
“Isaiah Bell, who provides Lionel’s singing voice off-stage, is blessed with a beautiful, pure tenor.” Adrian Chamberlain
Times Colonist
February 16th, 2008

Next Performing


| May 18, 2024 |

Haydn: Creation

Otto Tausk, Conductor

Vancouver Symphony Orchestra


| May 22, 2024 |

Banned from the Concert Hall: Purcell's Catches and Other Filth

Victoria Baroque



| March 22-24, 2024 |

Mozart: Requiem

Peter Oundjian, conductor

Colorado Symphony


| February 3-11, 2024 |


Julien Bilodeau & Michel Marc Bouchard: La Reine-garçon

Jean-Marie Zeitouni, conductor

Opéra de Montréal


| January 7, 2024 |

Schumann's Liederkreis, op. 39
with original & traditional songs

Michael McMahon, piano

Société d'art vocal de Montréal