In March 2017, Canadian-American tenor Isaiah Bell returned to Mark Morris’ double-bill production of Curlew River/Dido and Aeneas, in which he starred as the Madwoman in Curlew River opposite Stephanie Blythe as Dido. His portrayal of the Madwoman at the premiere of this production was described by The New York Times as “a performance of haunting beauty, ideally depicting emotional distraction with ultimate economy and glowing vocal skill.” The pairing, originally presented at Tanglewood in 2013, ran in 2017 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.
Some of Bell’s recent engagements include Lysander in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at l’Opéra-Théâtre de Metz in France, Almaviva in Il barbiere di Siviglia at Opera Lyra Ottawa, Strauss’s Elektra at l’Opéra de Montréal under Yannick Nézét-Séguin, and Handel’s Ode for St. Cecilia’s Day and Messiah with Nicholas McGegan and the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra in San Francisco. In the 2016.17 season he sang Messiah and Weill’s Seven Deadly Sins with the Toronto Symphony, Bernstein’s MASS with the Bach Choir of Bethlehem and Eurimaco in Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria with Opera Atelier. He also made solo debuts with the Calgary Philharmonic, the Seattle Symphony, the Nashville Symphony and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra.
As a composer, Bell has written four operas—including the music and libretti for two operas for young audiences commissioned and widely toured by Opera NUOVA—and a number of song cycles and arrangements. He also cohosts Overthought, A Podcast with fellow Canadian tenor Christopher Mayell.