Hailed in The New York Times for “a performance of haunting beauty, ideally depicting emotional distraction with ultimate economy and glowing vocal skill,” Canadian-American tenor Isaiah Bell looks forward to a season highlighted by the works of Handel, Britten and Kurt Weill. Featured by the 2016 Elora Festival in Mozart’s Requiem, he will be heard in Messiah with the Toronto Symphony and Calgary Philharmonic (both conducted by Nicholas McGegan), Britten’s Curlew River and Handel’s Acis and Galatea at the Brooklyn Academy of Music with the Mark Morris Dance Group and Weill’s intriguing Sieben Todsünden for the Toronto Symphony’s Decades series, conducted by Peter Oundjian.
On the opera and concert stage Isaiah continues to be recognized for his “beautiful tenor, command of the style, and natural stage presence,” his “willingness to invest himself wholly into the character,” the “fervency and clarity” and “overwhelming emotional force” of his performances and his “uncommonly warm light tenor, smooth musical line and sound artistic choices.”
The British Columbian is also an active performer of song literature. His upcoming solo recital at Wigmore Hall follows recent performances of Schubert’s Winterreise with Stephen Ralls, Walton’s Façade and Satie’s Trois Mélodies De 1916 as part of l’Orchestre symphonique de Montréal’s chamber series, Vaughan Williams’ Wenlock Edge and a group of Shropshire Lad settings orchestrated by Kevin Mallon for the Thirteen Strings, and the Canadian premiere of Alec Roth’s and Vikram Seth’s Seven Elements cycle at Music and Beyond, Ottawa. Previously he premiered a song cycle of his own poetry and music, On This Day, as part of Montreal’s Journées d’Arts Sacrés du Plateau, and gave a recital of Satie songs in St. John’s, Newfoundland, for broadcast on CBC Radio II.
Isaiah Bell received his formal training at the University of Victoria, from which he holds a Bachelor of Music in Performance. Subsequently he was an ensemble member in the Young Artist Program of Pacific Opera Victoria, Calgary Opera’s Emerging Artist Program, and l’Atelier lyrique de l’Opéra de Montréal, with supplementary training gained at the Tanglewood Music Centre, Salzburg’s Universität Mozarteum, Edmonton’s Opera NUOVA, and the Victoria Conservatory of Music’s Baroque Oratorio Academy. He is also the composer of four operas and a number of song cycles.