Friday, 26 May 2023
Virtual: (register to receive zoom link)
You can register through our CreativeMornings page for the zoom link
Description: Isaiah Bell and Sean Guist, co-creators of the open-hearted opera-cabaret-theatre solo show The Book of My Shames, talk about the transformative power of accepting our pasts, our selves, and the world around us. The collaborators discuss the merging of divergent artistic approaches as a metaphor for dynamic, creative acceptance, and dive into the sharing of vulnerability as a life practice. In a product-oriented society, “accepting” might suggest meekness, submission, defeat, failure. But does true acceptance mean giving up on positive change, or betraying ambition? Is letting go the same as giving up?
About this month’s speakers:
Isaiah Bell performs across North America as a tenor (notably Rufus Wainwright’s Hadrian at the Canadian Opera Company, The Barber of Seville with Vancouver Opera, and Mark Morris’s production of Curlew River at B.A.M.) and complements that practice with composing and writing. He combines all three disciplines in his solo chamber-opera/cabaret-theatre show The Book of My Shames, a co-creation with director Sean Guist around Isaiah’s words and music. The piece, which has been described as “impossibly beautiful” and a “comic, wrenchingly personal tour-de-force”, has been presented by opera companies and orchestras across Canada. It continues to tour.
Isaiah’s multidisciplinary work can be seen online, including City Opera Vancouver’s film of his original translation/adaption of Poulenc’s solo opera La voix humaine (a “finely tuned performance, so perfectly married to his own sensitive and intelligent adaptation” — Opera Canada), and a program for Early Music Vancouver featuring Baroque arias alongside his own music and poetry.
Recent and upcoming projects include the world premiere of La Reine-garçon at Opéra de Montréal, Mendelssohn’s Elijah at Carnegie Hall, and Lysander in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Des Moines. He also returns to collaborations with conductor Nicholas McGegan, the Vancouver Symphony, and San Francisco’s Philharmonia Baroque.
Sean Guist (he/him) is an arts administrator by day and queer artist, producer and director by night (though these lines are blurring) on Lekwungen Territory. Sean is the founding Curator of Intrepid Theatre’s OUTstages queer theatre festival, and serves as Artistic Director at Intrepid Theatre, where he has created new residency programs for local artists, and fostered new work through cabarets, emerging artist programs, and mentorship opportunities. Guist is the co-creator and director of The Book of My Shames, a solo queer opera composed and performed by Isaiah Bell, that premiered in 2019 and continues to tour. His alter-ego, the bearded drag queen Woofie, has performed on stages across the city, as well as in parking lots, breweries, and on Zoom. He is passionate about bringing queer art and queer events to new spaces and places.