The Canadian-American tenor, Isaiah Bell, received his formal training at the University of Victoria, graduating with a Bachelor of Music in Performance in 2008. Supplementary training has been gained through Edmonton’s Opera NUOVA, Salzburg’s Universität Mozarteum and the Victoria Conservatory of Music’s Baroque Oratorio Academy with Nancy Argenta. Subsequently he has been 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. He has studied under Benjamin Butterfield, Wendy Nielsen and Gerald Martin Moore, and continues now with Daniel Taylor. Isaiah Bell was a 2012 laureate of the Ottawa Choral Society’s New Discoveries prize, and the 2011 winner of the Jeunes Ambassadeurs Prix lyrique italien. In 2009 he won first place in voice at the National Music Festival of Canada, as well as that festival’s Jan Simons Song Interpretation Award.
Past accomplishments highlight an affinity for the works of Benjamin Britten (The Madwoman in Curlew River, City Opera Vancouver; Albert in Albert Herring, Opera on the Avalon; Nicolas in St. Nicolas, Victoria Children’s Choir; Serenade; Abraham and Isaac), Bach (Christmas Oratorio (BWV 248), Baldwin-Wallace College Bach Festival, Sooke Philharmonic Orchestra, Bach on the Rock; Mass in B minor (BWV 232), Elora Festival; John Passion (BWV 245); Matthew Passion (BWV 244); numerous cantatas), George Frideric Handel (Messiah, Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, Victoria Symphony, Symphony Nova Scotia; Judas Maccabaeus, Canzona Choir; Ode on St. Cecilia’s Day, Victoria Symphony) and Mozart (Requiem, Okanagan Symphony, Church of St. Andrew and St. Paul, Calgary Festival Chorus; Tamino in Die Zauberflöte, Opera NUOVA), but he is also a proponent of some lesser-performed and contemporary composers. He is a vocal advocate of the music of Erik Satie, having performed his groundbreaking 30-minute Symphonic Monodrama Socrate in 2007 and a recital of his songs for CBC Radio’s “In Concert” in 2009. His interest in contemporary music has also brought him into productions of works by numerous Canadian composers, including Bramwell Tovey, Dean Burry and James Rolfe.
This year (2012) marks Isaiah Bell’s debuts with l’Orchestre Métropolitain at the Festival de Lanaudière, under Yannick Nézét-Séguin (L.v. Beethoven’s Mass in C), Saskatoon Opera (Ernesto in Don Pasquale), Trinity Wall Street in New York, under Julian Wachner (Evangelist in the John Passion (BWV 245)), Winter Opera St. Louis (Nanki-Poo in The Mikado) and the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra under Ivars Taurins (Messiah), as well as return engagements with l’Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, under Kent Nagano (L’enfance du Christ), the Baldwin-Wallace College Bach Festival in Ohio (Matthew Passion (BWV 244)) and the Choeur St-Laurent, under Michael Zaugg, for Mozart’s Mass in C minor. He also revisits the Evangelist in the Matthew Passion (BWV 244) (Church of St. Andrew and St. Paul with Ensemble Caprice, under Jordan de Souza) and sings his first Ferrando in Così fan tutte with Jeunesses Musicales Canada.
In addition to performing, Isaiah Bell is active as a composer, having written four operas, several song cycles and a number of folk song arrangements. His most recent work in this field has been the production of two short operas, both set to original librettos, on commission from Opera NUOVA for its Opera-in-Schools touring program. Together, The Lives of Lesser Things and Mr. Moreover’s Magic are the first two-thirds of a projected triptych of one-act operas for young audiences. Isaiah Bell is also an unpublished children’s author/illustrator, a poet and an amateur