Isaiah Bell, tenor

The Book of My Shames

 

The Book of My Shames is an original solo theatre show with music, co-created by Isaiah Bell and director Sean Guist, with original words and music by Isaiah.

This unique experience is “thoughtful, raw, and honest,” with achingly funny turns. It is powered by the glowing vocals of Canadian opera star Isaiah Bell, following him through the challenges of growing up in a restrictive fundamentalist commune, making bad choices in men, and pursuing a life on the stage. Combining rapid-fire monologues and personal stories with an unorthodox array of music old and new, this “comic, wrenching, and personal tour-de-force” reminds us that desire, rejection, and acceptance are themes common to us all… Isaiah just does it with a bit of glitz, some operatic pathos, and a campy wink.
The Book of My Shames was developed with the support of Pacific Opera Victoria and Intrepid Theatre, and given its premiere in Toronto in June 2019 as a co-presentation between Tapestry Opera and Pride Toronto, with Darren Creech on the piano. It has also been performed as part of the Indie Opera Week festival in Vancouver, featuring pianist Alex Chen.
The Book of My Shames is now in rehearsal for its 2021 Canadian tour, in a newly redeveloped version, arranged for chamber ensemble, and featuring brand new music composed for the show. See the Schedule page for more information.
 
Additionally, further presentations and festival appearances are in the works. Contact thebookofmyshames@gmail.com to talk about booking the show.

 

Reviews of The Book of My Shames’ initial performances have described an experience that is “impossibly beautiful”, a “comic, wrenchingly personal tour-de-force”, “poignant, thoughtful, raw and honest”, “touching, very funny, disturbing and sometimes quite revolting,” and a “fascinating creation”. The Toronto Star says,

Bell’s tale is one of small answers that speak bravely of truths that are bigger than all of us… in spoken words and in song, he made the most common themes of acceptance, desire, rejection and love in his own life echo in our own recollections. ( Entire review )

Classical music critic Leslie Barcza writes:

The flexibility on display, the ease with which Bell could connect, have us laughing our heads off? Very impressive. Bell’s presentation was so authentic.. telling us horror stories and silly stories, and laying himself bare… Whatever show he might bring to town, I’ll be sure to go see it. ( Entire review )

Next Performing

 

| January 2021 |

Poulenc: La voix humaine
in a brand-new English adaptation

with Roger Parton, piano

City Opera Vancouver
Presented in a series of short digital episodes

 

| January 28-30, 2021 |

Isaiah Bell:
THE BOOK OF MY SHAMES

in a new arrangement for chamber orchestra

Isaiah Bell: tenor, writer, composer
Sean Guist, director

Presented by Opera Kelowna
and the Living Things Festival

 

POSTPONED: COVID

| March 20-28, 2021 |

Julien Bilodeau & Michel Marc Bouchard:
La beauté du monde

with
Julie Boulianne
Philippe Sly
Marc Hervieux
Layla Claire
Elliot Madore
France Bellemare
Jean-Michel Richer
Isaiah Bell
&
Jean-Marie Zeitouni, conductor

Opéra de Montréal
Théâtre Maisonneuve, Montreal

Recently

 

POSTPONED: COVID

| May 31, 2020 |

Schubert: Schwanengesang

Michael McMahon, piano

Société d’art vocal de Montréal
Montreal, Quebec

 

POSTPONED: COVID

| May 6, 2020 |

Paul Moravec/Mark Campbell: A Nation of Others

Kent Tritle, conductor

Oratorio Society of New York
Carnegie Hall

 

POSTPONED: COVID

| April 30 & May 1, 2020 |

Isaiah Bell: The Book of My Shames

with
Robert Holliston, piano
&
Sean Guist, director

presented by
Intrepid Theatre
and
Pacific Opera Victoria
Victoria, BC

 

POSTPONED: COVID
| April 11-19, 2020 |

Handel: The Resurrection

with
Meghan Lindsay
Carla Huhtanen
Allyson McHardy
&
Stephen Hegedus

Opera Atelier
Koerner Hall, Toronto