Iain Bell

Described by the BBC as “…one of the 21st century’s most compelling musical dramatists”, for the last ten years Iain Bell’s music has been thrilling audiences in the world’s most prestigious concert halls and opera houses.

Since the highly acclaimed world premiere of his first opera ‘A Harlot’s Progress’ at Vienna’s Theater an der Wien in 2013, his subsequent four operas have been commissioned by or staged at houses including:

– The Royal Opera House (‘In Parenthesis’),
– Houston Grand Opera (‘A Christmas Carol’),
– Welsh National Opera (‘In Parenthesis’ | ‘A Christmas Carol’),
– Trentino’s Teatro Sociale (‘A Christmas Carol’),
– English National Opera (‘Jack the Ripper: the Women of Whitechapel’),
– Opera North (‘Jack the Ripper: the Women of Whitechapel’),
– New York City Opera (‘Stonewall’)
– Teatro de la Ciudad – Mexico City (‘Stonewall’).

This culminated in a 2022 gala at Prague’s Smetana Hall featuring excerpts from several of these works, where coloratura soprano Diana Damrau reprised the title role in ‘A Harlot’s Progress’.

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The threads of London, myth and the LGBTQ+ experience weave throughout Bell’s works for both the stage and concert hall. Mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton and pianist Kathleen Kelly gave the world premiere of his ee cummings cycle ‘of you’ at Carnegie Hall, and a commission followed from the Salzburg Mozarteum to compose a setting of a number of Whitman’s ‘Leaves of Grass’ for bass-baritone Douglas Williams and pianist Levi Hammer, both cycles ruminating on same-sex sensuality. In what will become a trilogy queer monodramas entitled ‘Laid Bare’, Summer 2021 saw the first production of Bell’s ‘Comfort Starving’ performed by tenor Petr Nekoranec and conductor-pianist William Kelley at the Bach Festival, Świdnica in a production by Krystian Lada. This team subsequently staged his baritone monodrama ‘The Man With Night Sweats’ at the Opera Rara Festival – Krakow in November 2021 with Alex Rosen as soloist.

2022 ushered in a new collaborative partnership with tenor Rolando Villazón, including the composer’s setting of Shakespeare’s ‘Come Away Death’ at the Philharmonie Luxembourg, and a song cycle of Nezahualcoyotl’s Nahuatl poetry that the tenor and pianist Carrie-Ann Matheson toured throughout Europe, following a premiere at Brussels’ BOZAR. Staying in the deep past, Bell’s ’Beowulf’, written for the full forces of the BBC Symphony & Chorus and tenor Stuart Skelton, had its world premiere at London’s Barbican Hall, with Golden Globe winning actress Ruth Wilson as the narrator. Other recent highlights have included the world premiere Bell’s ‘Aurora’ – a Concerto for Coloratura Soprano at the BBC Proms by soprano Adela Zaharia and the RLPO, and a performance of his orchestral song cycle ‘The Hidden Place’ at the Enescu Festival by the LSO, led by Gianandrea Noseda with Damrau as soprano soloist.

2023|24 sees the world premiere of his orchestral suite ’Stonewall ’69’, new productions of ‘Comfort Starving’, ‘The Man With Night Sweats’ and ‘A Christmas Carol’, along with brand new song cycles for both the New York Festival of Song and Brooklyn Art Song Society.

Contact our team today for more information.