“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 Fransisco 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, and Ensemble Linea under Jean Philippe Würtz, as vocal soloist for concerts throughout Europe, 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 Symphony no 3, “Symphony of Sorrowful Songs”, to great acclaim.
Other notable performances include the roles of Le Feu, La Princesse and Le Rossignol in Ravel’s L’Enfant et les Sortilèges with the Bolshoi Opera in Moscow, Luciano Berio’s Chamber Music with the London Sinfonietta/Thomas Ades at the QEH London, Mahler’s Das Klagende Lied in Berlin and Munich, Pierrot Lunaire with the Northern Sinfonia, Hebrides Ensemble, BBC Concert Orchestra, Tasmanian Symphony 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 with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, 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.
Allison’s more recent collaborations have included concerts at the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid featuring the music of Fabian Panisello, Louis Andriessen’s Dances at the Barbican in London and a European Tour 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, all with the Britten Sinfonia. She was praised for her performances of Berg’s Lulu Suite, Fauré’s Prométhée and Saint-Saëns Les noces de Prométhée in concerts with Vladimir Jurowski and the Russian Symphony Orchestra (Svetlanov) at Tchaikovsky Concert Hall in Moscow and the world premiere of Sir John Tavener’s epic final work, Flood of Beauty, at the Barbican and Esplanade Singapore. Also notably, 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 with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra/Kwame Ryan, recitals at the International Santander Festival featuring works by Eötvös, and an Australian tour with the Australian String Quartet performing the Australian premiere of his Second 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, concerts including 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, Hamlet Diffraction, and Edgard Varèse’s Nocturnal with Sakari Oramo. Allison also gave 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 joined Vladimir Jurowski and the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin to sing Shostakovich’s Hamlet, Berg’s Lulu Suite and the German premiere of Brett Dean’s Hamlet Diffraction 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 included 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 is currently Artist in Residence at the Detached Cultural Organisation within The Old Mercury Building (TOMB) in Hobart, Tasmania, where she curates and performs in concert series focussing on Australian Premieres of twentieth and twenty-first century chamber music. As part of this residency, Allison has already given the world and Australian premieres of music by Unsuk Chin, Alfred Schnittke, Claude Vivier and Jherek Bischoff. 2020 performances at Detached will include performances of music by Liza Lim, Unsuk Chin, Claude Vivier, Gerald Barry, György Kurtág, Giacinto Scelsi, Georges Aperghis, Olivier Messiaen together with the world premiere of a new commission by Cat Hope.
Allison is also a celebrated voice teacher and peak performance coach, teaching both privately and within young artist programs and universities. Allison is a mentor and coach to the next generation of singing stars – from professional opera and classical singers to cross-over performers such as Kate Miller-Heidke, Allison’s students are leaders in their genres, internationally.