Artist’s Picks: Isaiah Bell: “Klara and the Sun is deeply moving”

by | Sep 13, 2021 | Featured, Interviews, News

In a new series we’re running over here at Opera Canada, Artist’s Picks, we’re asking our favourite Canadian opera artists: what else are you into? In our call for artist-driven recommendations, Canadian tenor Isaiah Bell offers up his Artist’s Picks for film, television, books, & more:



TV series?

Small Axe on Amazon Prime is incredible TV like I’ve never quite seen before. Also, for me nothing captures the absurdity/pathos of life and the artist’s path than Baskets.”


Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro — I will always be fascinated by Ishiguro’s particular sense of what it’s like to be human… that particular flavour in his writing. He takes it to a whole different level in this book — a crazily minimalist one — by making his main character A.I. It’s fascinating and bemusing and deeply moving in the most surprising ways… it goes in so smooth you almost don’t notice, and then you find yourself thinking about it weeks later. ”

Isaiah Bell Hadrian COC

Isaiah Bell (Antinous) in rehearsal for the Canadian Opera Company’s Hadrian, 2018. Photo: Gaetz Photography


“I’ve been regularly listening to Tara Brach’s talks and meditations on the podcast bearing her name since I discovered it in 2018, and it’s hard to overstate the impact it’s had on my life, especially during COVID. It’s a sort of pan-spiritual Buddhism-based approach to living, extremely non-invasive, centring on kindness and compassion as tools in building the practice of staying present — building the bravery to really live through life moment by moment.”

Non-classical music?

“I’m back into Madeleine Peyroux! Her newer albums Anthem and Secular Hymns have a classic country feeling that really flowers in the context of her other old-fashioned jazz work. And I just love any music she makes.”

Eager for recos from your favourite operatic artists like Isaiah Bell? Let us know who you’d like to see featured in our Artist’s Picks Q&A series – leave a comment below, or get in touch at

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