Isaiah smiles at the camera, wearing a white shirt and navy suit jacket. He has red hair.

Isaiah Bell

Tenor, Composer, CEAR Mentor

Current Shows:

Canadian-American tenor Isaiah Bell last appeared with Pacific Opera in a presentation of his solo show The Book of My Shames in May 2023. He has also mentored several generations of emerging artists, through POV’s Civic Engagement Artist Residency program, on the creation and development of original work. When not at home in Victoria, Isaiah sings across North America as a soloist in concert and opera. Having distinguished himself early as an interpreter of Handel, Benjamin Britten, and Bach’s Evangelists (Lincoln Center, Edinburgh Festival, Toronto Symphony), he has also found an artistic home in new creations. He was Antinous in the world premiere of Rufus Wainwright and Daniel MacIvor’s Hadrian at the Canadian Opera Company (2018), and brought “immense stage presence” and a “powerful, beautiful instrument” to La Reine-garçon (Bilodeau/Bouchard, 2024) at Opéra de Montréal. Reviewing his queer pandemic-era revamp of Poulenc’s La voix humaine (filmed for City Opera Vancouver, 2020), Opera Canada admired “a finely tuned performance, so perfectly married to his own sensitive and intelligent adaptation.”

Isaiah also composes and writes for the theatre. His original chamber-opera/cabaret-theatre show The Book of My Shames has garnered overwhelming audience response: “impossibly beautiful” … “broke my heart wide open with the pure honesty, raw vulnerability and humanity of it” … “I honestly thought this was one of the most compelling shows I’ve ever seen.” The piece, a genre-defying, funny, and shockingly candid theatrical fusion co-created with director Sean Guist, has toured Canada in versions for piano, chamber ensemble, and orchestra.

Upcoming engagements for Isaiah include a return to La Reine-garçon (Canadian Opera Company), Haydn’s Creation with the Vancouver Symphony and the Elora Festival, and the world premiere of Leslie Uyeda’s opera Silence, commissioned to celebrate Opera NUOVA’s 25th season. He also returns to co-creation with “Banned from the Concert Hall” (an irreverent mashup of Purcell’s catches with other bawdy songs, created for Victoria Baroque and Early Music Vancouver) and “The Traveller,” an unorthodox treatment of recital form that interweaves the music of Robert Schumann with folk songs and Isaiah’s original poetry and music (plus ukulele). Isaiah also appears on the newly released world premiere recording of Mendelssohn’s transcription of the Matthew Passion, with the Bach Choir of Bethlehem.

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