Within this frail crucible of light: The Rape of Lucretia (Benjamin Britten)
Brandon Bell, baritone
William Hobbs, piano
Brandon Bell is a young baritone making waves in the operatic landscape within North America. In 2021-22, Mr. Bell joined Fort Worth Opera as one of their Lesley Resident Artists where he appeared as Gomez in the world premiere production of Zorro. Additionally, Mr. Bell covered the role of Germont and sang Baron Douphol in Fort Worth Opera’s production of La traviata and joined White Snake Projects for their concert Sing Strong: Incarcerated Voices. Mr. Bell also made debuts with Houston Grand Opera in a workshop of Another City (Beck / Fleischmann) and Cape Symphony as the bass soloist in Beethoven’s 9th Symphony. In the summer of 2022, Mr. Bell returned to Des Moines Metro Opera, singing Jim and covering Jake in Porgy & Bess, and covering Thomas McKeller in the Midwest premiere of American Apollo (Geter / Palmer). Following this, Mr. Bell will join Pittsburgh Opera as a Resident Artist where he will sing Denis in Denis and Katya (Venables / Huffman), Huntsman in Rusalka and cover the Count in the company’s run of Le nozze di Figaro, as well as sing the role in a student matinée performance.
In 2021, Mr. Bell finished his tenure as a Utah Opera Resident Artist where he appeared in several virtually streamed concerts including Songs for Our Time and Light on the Horizon. On stage, he performed with Utah Opera as Dr. Grenvil in La traviata, the British Major in Silent Night, Montague Somers in Gentleman’s Island, and Garcia/Zuniga in La tragédie de Carmen. That summer, he was granted a fellowship at the Ravinia Festival’s Steans Music Institute in their program for singers where he studied and performed a variety of art song repertoire. He also joined Des Moines Metro Opera in 2021 as an Apprentice Artist where he covered the roles of Momus in Platée and Hawkins Fuller in Fellow Travelers and sang the roles of General Arlie and the Bartender in Fellow Travelers.
Unfortunately, due to the COVID19 pandemic, Mr. Bell received cancellations which included numerous exciting role premieres with Utah Opera including Fiorello in Il barbiere di Siviglia, the Steward in Flight, Sciarrone in Tosca, and Samuel in Pirates of Penzance. Mr. Bell was also to be featured as the baritone soloist in Fauré’s Requiem with Utah Symphony (COVID19).
Other recent engagements include Mr. Bell’s portrayal of Terry in West Edge Opera’s production of Missy Mazzoli’s Breaking the Waves, Colline in West Bay Opera’s production of La bohème, and the Corporal in La fille du régiment, as a Festival Artist with Opera Saratoga.
During the 2017-18 season, Mr. Bell appeared as a Studio Artist at Chautauqua Opera, covering the roles of Masetto and Il Commendatore in their summer production of Don Giovanni. The season also saw Mr. Bell as a soloist in Mozart’s Requiem with the California Symphony and as a featured ensemble singer with the Oakland Symphony in their Pride & Prejudice: Notes from LGBTQ concert.
Mr. Bell is a proud alumnus of the prestigious Wolf Trap Opera Studio Artist program where, in the summer of 2015, he was seen as the English Ambassador in Corigliano’s The Ghosts of Versailles and the L’imperial Commissario in Madama Butterfly. In 2017, Mr. Bell returned to Wolf Trap Opera to appear in the world premiere performances of Listen, Wilhelmina!, a mini-opera for children.
Mr. Bell, with affection and fascination for new works, was a Featured Dater in the world premiere performances of Speed Dating Tonight! by Michael Ching. He also appeared as Hymie Felderman in the workshop of Ricky Ian Gordon’s Morning Star with Opera Fusion: New Works, a collaboration between Cincinnati Opera and CCM Opera.
Mr. Bell was awarded an Encouragement Award in the Utah District of the 2021 Metropolitan Opera Laffont Competition. He was also awarded 4th Place in the 2018 East Bay Opera League Young Artist Scholarship Awards Competition and was chosen from National auditions as a finalist in the 2018 Mondavi Center Young Artist Competition. In 2017, he received both Third Place (Student Division) - Orpheus Da Capo Award at the Orpheus National Music Competition for Vocalists and the Leola Boyce Award, awarded by the Knoxville Choral Society. The Cleveland Foundation chose Mr. Bell as the 2015 and 2016 recipient of its A. Grace Lee Mims Vocal Scholarship, awarded in recognition of his commitment to the perpetuation of the singing of the Negro spiritual.
Mr. Bell is a graduate of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music where he received a Postgraduate Diploma in Vocal Performance. He additionally holds his Master of Music in Vocal Performance from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville and his Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.