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, and performed by Isaiah, accompanied on piano. It was developed with the support of Pacific Opera Victoria, 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. 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 )

 

The Book of My Shames offsets rapid-fire monologues with an unorthodox array of music old and new, including an expansive original memory opera. Its particular flavour has been drolly described as “what would happen if the opera-singing lovechild of Noel Coward and Sylvia Plath was encouraged by his therapist to perform on Grownups Read Things They Wrote as Kids.” It makes us laugh while honestly asking: What would it take to really change? How do we learn to love when we’ve turned on ourselves? Is it too late?

 

Next on Stage

 

| Nov 24, 2019 |

Bach: BWV 147
Lotti: Missa Sapientiae

Victoria Baroque
Victoria, BC

Tickets

 

| December 7 & 8, 2019 |

Handel: Messiah, Part I
Bach: Magnificat

Greg Funfgeld, conductor

Bach Choir of Bethlehem
Bethlehem, PA

Tickets/More Information

 

| December 14, 2019 |

Handel: Messiah

Bramwell Tovey, conductor

Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra
Providence, RI

Get tickets

 

| December 17-22, 2019 |

Handel (arr. Mozart): Messiah

Alexander Shelley, conductor

Toronto Symphony Orchestra
Roy Thomson Hall

Get Tickets

 

Recently

 

| Nov 2 & 3, 2019 |

Schubert: Schwanengesang
with English and French folk songs

Isaiah Bell, tenor
Anna Cal, piano

Wentworth Villa
Victoria, BC

 

| Oct 19-20, 2019 |

Handel's Acis & Galatea
presented by the University of Toronto

Isaiah Bell
stage director

Larry Beckwith
conductor

Read Opera Canada's article about this production
Toronto, ON

 

| October 11, 2019 |

Neil Crory Tribute Concert

featuring
Phillip Addis
Isabel Bayrakdarian
Isaiah Bell
Benjamin Butterfield
Tracy Dahl
Nathalie Paulin
Brett Polegato
Jean Stilwell
Krisztina Szabó
Daniel Taylor
Erin Wall
Monica Whicher

Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra

 

| June 22, 2019 |

THE BOOK OF MY SHAMES
Written & performed by Isaiah Bell

Sean Guist, director
Alex Chen, piano

Canadian Music Centre
Vancouver

 

| June 6-8, 2019 |

THE BOOK OF MY SHAMES
Written & performed by Isaiah Bell

Sean Guist, director
Darren Creech, piano

Presented by Tapestry Opera
Toronto

 

| May 10-11 & 17-18, 2019 |

112th Bethlehem Bach Festival

Bach Choir of Bethlehem
Bethlehem, PA

 

| April 19, 2019 |

Bach: Matthew Passion

Kitchener Waterloo Grand Philharmonic Choir