Canadian-American tenor Isaiah Bell’s work as a performer is characterized by his “beautiful tenor, command of style, and natural stage presence” and a “strong, glorious voice with its heroic, oratorio-style ring”. He is also a composer, a writer, and a poet. Recently he combined these disciplines in his critically acclaimed solo show, The Book of My Shames, and in the performance of his original translation/adaptation of Poulenc’s solo opera La voix humaine.
Previously, Isaiah created the role of Antinous, lover of the Roman emperor Hadrian (Thomas Hampson), in the world premiere of Rufus Wainwright’s Hadrian at the Canadian Opera Company. He also returned to Mark Morris’ 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 Britten’s Curlew River, opposite Stephanie Blythe as Dido.
Last season Isaiah debuted at Vancouver Opera (Almaviva, The Barber of Seville) and returned to the Toronto Symphony (Messiah, under Alexander Shelley). Some of his pandemic postponements included a return to Carnegie Hall for the premiere of A Nation of Others by Paul Moravec (Oratorio Society of New York), and to Opera Atelier for Handel’s The Resurrection. He was also scheduled to direct Dido and Aeneas (in a double bill with James Rolfe’s Aeneas and Dido) at Opera NUOVA.
Further recent engagements include George Benjamin’s Written on Skin with the Toronto Symphony conducted by the composer; Britten’s War Requiem with the National Arts Centre Orchestra under Alexander Shelley; Lysander in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at l’Opéra-Théâtre de Metz in France; and Handel’s Atalanta, Ode for St. Cecilia’s Day, and Messiah with Nicholas McGegan and the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra.
As a composer, Isaiah has written four operas, music for two theatre pieces, and numerous song cycles and arrangements.