ABOUT

Bell’s critically-acclaimed third opera 'In Parenthesis', based on David Jones’ eponymous World War One epic poem (directed by David Pountney/conducted by Carlo Rizzi) premiered at Welsh National Opera with further performances at the Royal Opera House in Summer 2016. The Independent’s 5-star review called the work a ‘powerful act of remembrance’, with The Stage calling Bell’s score ‘technically exceptional’ and The Telegraph describing the opera as ‘gripping and moving’

2019 saw the premiere of two new operas. The first, ‘Jack the Ripper: the Women of Whitechapel' opened at English National Opera with a cast including Josephine Barstow, Susan Bullock, Lesley Garrett, Marie McLaughlin, Natalya Romaniw, Janis Kelly and Alan Opie. This was followed by 'Stonewall' at New York City Opera - commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising. 'Stonewall' went on to be shortlisted as one of the best new operas of 2019 at the Annual Excellence in Opera Awards and was cited as one of WQXR's best classical concerts of 2019.

 

In the concert hall, Bell has worked with pianists including Helmut Deutsch, Kathleen Kelly, Levi Hammer, Roger Vignoles, Iain Burnside, Simon Lepper and Julius Drake. A recent highlight was the premiere of his song cycle 'of you' at Carnegie Hall by American mezzo soprano Jamie Barton. 'Moll’s a’cold' - the excerpted mad-scene from his opera 'A Harlot’s Progress' was first heard at the Enescu Festival performed by soprano Adela Zaharia in Summer 2017. In 2018, Zaharia gave the world premiere Bell's 'Aurora' - a Concerto for Coloratura Soprano at the BBC Proms with the RLPO. Bell returned to the Enescu Festival in 2019 with his orchestral song cycle 'The Hidden Place' performed by the LSO and led by Maestro Gianandrea Noseda, with Diana Damrau as soprano soloist. In 2020, he was commissioned by the Salzburg Mozarteum to compose 'We Two' - a cycle of Walt Whitman poetry - for bass-baritone Douglas Williams and pianist Levi Hammer. 

 

Other highlights have included the world premiere of Bell's song cycle for baritone and piano 'The Man With Night Sweats' - based on Thom Gunn's poetry from his eponymous collection - performed by James Cleverton and pianist Nigel Foster at the London Song Festival, and the recording of 'How May I Call My Love?' for tenor and string orchestra, with Petr Popelka conducting the Pardubice Filharmonie, featuring Petr Nekoranec as soloist. Summer 2021 sees the world premiere of 'Comfort Starving' for tenor and piano in Prague, perfomed by Nekoranec and pianist William Kelley, followed by its first staged-production at the Bach Festival Świdnica with the same performers in a production by Krystian Lada. Further ahead sees the first revival of 'Jack the Ripper: the Women of Whitechapel' at Opera North with subsequent UK-tour. 

 

Iain Bell is exclusively published by Chester Music Ltd, part of the WiseMusicClassical Group.

Photo © Frances Marshall