“Born in Tasmania, Bell is globally acclaimed, and for good reason”
Award winning Soprano Allison Bell has gained a reputation as one of the leading and most exciting performers of 20th and 21st century music of her generation. Born in Tasmania, she studied Music and History at the University of Sydney together with acting at The Australian Theatre for Young People.
Continuing her studies in Europe she received numerous awards including the La Scala Prize and scholarship to study with Virginia Zeani at the Viñas Competition in Barcelona. She has participated in masterclasses with Joan Sutherland, Magda Olivero, Ghena Dimitrova, Ileana Cortrubas, Gundula Janowitz, Dalton Baldwin and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau.
Allison was universally praised for her performance creating the role of Sierva Maria in the world premiere of Peter Eötvös’ opera Love and Other Demons at Glyndebourne under Vladimir Jurowski, a role she repeated at the National Opera of Lithuania and Opéra National du Rhin under Eötvös. She was also widely acclaimed for her performance on the Glyndebourne label CD of the opera – “To the character of Sierva Maria, Allison Bell brings a soprano of great agility and lustre; the coloratura writing is delightfully outrageous, but her virtuosity is every bit its match” (OPERA). She continued her close collaboration with the composer as vocal soloist for concerts throughout France, Hungary and Spain, and for the CD, ‘Ensemble Linea Play Eötvös’, which won a Hungarian FONOGRAM award and the Orphée d’Or at the Académie Internationale du Disque Lyrique in Paris.
A frequent guest with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and collaborator with Vladimir Jurowski, she was soloist for the UK premieres of Alfred Schnittke’s Three Scenes, Three Madrigals, and Der Gelbe Klang, an acclaimed debut performance of Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire at the Wigmore Hall, Grisey’s Quatre chants pour franchir le seuil and Polly Peachum in Die Dreigroschenoper in Paris and London. With the LPO under Michal Dworzynski she performed Gorecki’s Third Symphony to great acclaim.
Other notable performances include Le Feu, La Princesse and Le Rossignol in Ravel’s L’Enfant et les Sortilèges with the Bolshoi Opera in Moscow, Berio’s Chamber Music with the London Sinfonietta at the QEH London, Mahler’s Das Klagende Lied in Berlin and Munich, concerts with the Britten Sinfonia at the Museo Reina Sofia Madrid, Pierrot Lunaire with the Northern Sinfonia, Hebrides Ensemble, BBC Concert Orchestra and with Scottish Ballet at the Edinburgh Festival and at Moscow’s Mossovet Theatre. Also Lutoslawski’s Chantefleurs et Chantefables and the Australian premiere of Ligeti’s Mysteries of the Macabre at MONA, the world premiere staging of Gerald Barry’s opera La Plus Forte at the inaugural London Contemporary Music Festival, and Fausto Romitelli’s Lost at the Strasbourg Musica Festival. With Ilan Volkov she performed the UK premieres of John Zorn’s La Machine de l’Être with the BBCSSO, Messiaen’s Poèmes pour Mi with the CBSO and Ravel’s Shéhérazade with the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra.
Notable recent performances included a European Tour with the Britten Sinfonia, featuring Allison’s Concertgebouw debut, performing the world premiere of Brett Dean’s Second String Quartet “And once I played Ophelia”, together with Schoenberg’s String Quartet no 2, Berg’s Lulu Suite, Fauré’s Prométhée and Saint-Saëns Les noces de Prométhée in concerts with Vladimir Jurowski and the Russian State Symphony Orchestra at Tchaikovsky Concert Hall and the world premiere of John Tavener’s Flood of Beauty at the Barbican and Esplanade Singapore. Also Grisey’s Quatre chants pour franchir le seuil with Vladimir Jurowski in Berlin, Vivier’s Trois airs pour un opera imaginaire and Unsuk Chin’s Akrostichon Wortspiel at Dark Mofo with Kwame Ryan, recitals at the International Santander Festival featuring works by Eötvös, and an Australian national tour with the Australian String Quartet.
Her 2015 recording of Brett Dean’s Second String Quartet “And once I played Ophelia”, with the Doric String Quartet, received wide critical acclaim. Further highlights of recent seasons include works by Vivier and Donatoni with the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, Andriessen’s Dances with the Britten Sinfonia at the Barbican, a Shakespearean Opera Gala with the London Philharmonic and Vladimir Jurowski, concerts with the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the Barbican, including Richard Rodney Bennett’s Spells with Rumon Gamba, a new world premiere by Brett Dean and Edgard Varèse’s Nocturnal with Sakari Oramo. Also the Chinese premiere of Ligeti’s Mysteries of the Macabre with the Shanghai Opera Orchestra/Shinik Hahm as part of Shanghai New Music Week 2017.
In 2018 Allison joins Vladimir Jurowski and the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin to sing works by Shostakovich, Berg and Dean at the Berlin Philharmonie, Ensemble United Berlin/Jurowski for Claude Vivier’s Bouchara, The Auckland Philharmonia and BBC Symphony Orchestras for the World and UK Premieres of Ross Harris’ Face and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra for the Australian Premiere of Unsuk Chin’s Puzzles and Games. Further 2018-19 highlights include her WDR Sinfonieorchester debut at the Cologne Philharmonie under Emilio Pomerico singing the role of Marie in Zimmerman’s Soldaten-Sinfonie and concerts featuring the music of Verdi, Puccini and Ligeti in Seoul with Shinik Hahm and Symphony SONG.
Allison will be the inaugural Artist in Residence at Detached Cultural Organisation within The Old Mercury Building (TOMB) in Hobart, Tasmania, from April 2019, for 12 months.