Friday, April 14, 2023, 7:30 p.m.
Matsqui Centennial Auditorium
32315 South Fraser Way, Abbotsford
Isaiah Bell, tenor
Isaiah Bell performs across North America as a Classical tenor (notably Rufus
Wainwright’s Hadrian at the Canadian Opera Company, The Barber of Seville’s Almaviva for
Vancouver Opera, Mark Morris’s production of Curlew River at the Brooklyn Academy of Music,
and regular appearances with the Toronto Symphony, Philharmonia Baroque, the National Arts
Centre Orchestra, and the Oratorio Society of New York) and complements that practice
with composing and writing for the theatre. Currently he combines these disciplines in his semi-
autobiographical solo show The Book of My Shames, a co-creation with director Sean Guist around
Isaiah’s own words and music. The piece, which tours in orchestrated and cabaret versions
(Tapestry Opera/Pride Toronto, Pacific Opera Victoria/Intrepid Theatre, Opera Kelowna/Living
Things Festival, Regina Symphony), has been described as “impossibly beautiful”, a “fascinating
creation,” and a “comic, wrenchingly personal tour-de-force.”
As a performer, Isaiah has established a particular relationship with the music of Britten, Handel,
and Bach. He has appeared in many of Britten’s tenor roles (Albert Herring, A Midsummer Night’s
Dream, War Requiem, Curlew River, Owen Wingrave, St. Nicolas) and has been seen across North
America in Bach’s major works (including the Passions’ Evangelists) and cantatas. In addition to
Handel’s Messiah, Isaiah has sung Acis and Damon in Acis and Galatea, and the tenors
of Atalanta, Judas Maccabaeus, Ode for St. Cecilia’s Day, Joshua, and La resurrezione.
During pandemic shutdowns, Isaiah created a diverse body of work, including translating,
adapting, and performing Poulenc’s solo opera La voix humaine for a City Opera Vancouver
filmed production (a “finely tuned performance, so perfectly married to his own sensitive and
intelligent adaptation” — Opera Canada). He also designed hybrid concept recitals for Early
Music Vancouver and Ottawa Chamberfest, which featured his own music and poetry alongside
works from the Classical canon. For 200 days in 2020, Isaiah immersed himself into a large-scale
daily art/music/poetry creation project inspired by the meditative practice of haiku writing.
Isaiah is also engaged with music education and creative-process training. He travels speaking and
hosting master classes and directs experimental concerts and stage productions for young artists.