Cathy Bell – Mezzo/Contralto

Genre: Mezzo Soprano

Artist Reviews

‘Mezzo-soprano Cathy Bell’s portrayal of Arsamenes was an ideal foil to the extravagant, extrovert Xerxes – steady, thoughtful, and considered in action, and with a rich, full sound that blended well with and underpinned the higher parts of Xerxes and Romilda, but which was thrilling to hear as a solo instrument.’

Arsamenes - Xerxes, Handel - Hampsted Garden Opera - Early Music Today Adrian Horsewood

‘And as Arasse, Cosroe’s (alto) general, Cathy Bell made much of the beautiful airs sounding notes of reason and wisdom among the high emotions around.’

Arasse, Siroe - Hasse - the London Handel Festival - Andrew Porter, Opera

‘my kind of mezzo: on the deeper side, with sumptuous dark velvet on the low notes and plenty of colour’

Recital - Handel House - Talent Launch Concert Oct 2015 - reviewed on The Idle Woman

‘Both Susanna Fairbairn, soprano, and Cathy Bell, mezzo soprano, sang with a lyrical and moving expressiveness and with voices beautifully tuned in those duo passages echoing each other or in the exciting runs in the Dixit Dominus.’

Stour Singers, May 2019 - Tom Bone, Stratford Herald

‘Two wonderfully idiomatic soloists helped to set the scene.’

Vespers, Rachmaninov with Sonoro - Orkney - June 2018 - D James Ross, Early Music Review

‘Soprano and mezzo soloists were audibly blended and yet also distinctive in this intimately-scaled musical gem which also featured an expressive duo of violins and continuo. Speeds were gently moving forward, but allowing the central Ad te suspiramus some impressive slowness, so that the vocal soloists, relishing the building’s acoustic enhancement, could dip in and out of the texture’s interplay.’

Salve Regina, A Scarlatti - Wells Cathedral July 2018 - reviewed by Michael Cockerham

‘A fine quartet of soloists sang the recitatives and arias. I was especially moved by Cathy Bell’s contralto voice.’

Christmas Oratorio, JS Bach - Banstead Musical Society - reviewd by David Leach

‘Cathy Bell was the characterful soloist in a perky account of Qui sedes.’

Gloria, Vivaldi - Sonoro at St Martin in the Fields - 2016 - reviewed by Robert Hugill

‘I was particularly captivated by mezzo-soprano Cathy Bell as her performance conveyed the sorrow and hurt of “He Was Despised” perfectly, both in tone of voice and facial expression.’

Messiah, Handel - Leicester Bach Choir - Reviewed by Peter Collett


Cathy Bell studied English and Medieval Literature as a choral and academic scholar at Cambridge and undertook postgraduate vocal studies at Birmingham Conservatoire. Since moving to London in 2009 she has established a varied career in opera, ensemble and particularly oratorio work, coming to notice for the innate musicality and sensitivity to text that she brings to every performance. Cathy was a member of Handel House Talent 2014-15, and early music remains a specialism: recent highlights include the role of Venus in Pepusch Venus and Adonis for the Valletta International Baroque Festival; a concert with London Early Opera exploring Hogarth’s London; and Second Witch in the Academy of Ancient Music’s highly acclaimed Dido and Aeneas at the Barbican, a role which she reprised at the Nordland Music Festival with Barokksolistene Norway.

Cathy is an experienced and accomplished soloist on the oratorio platform. She has performed much of the standard concert repertoire for the alto voice, at venues including the Royal Festival Hall, Cadogan Hall, Southwell Minster, Wells Cathedral, Bath Abbey, Birmingham Symphony Hall, Nottingham Albert Hall, Nottingham Royal Concert Hall, and St Magnus Cathedral Orkney. Recent highlights include Bach St John Passion at St John’s Smith Square and Worcester Cathedral; the Rachmaninoff Vespers with several groups including Britten Sinfonia; Bach Mass in B minor with Royal Leamington Spa Bach Choir; and Mendelssohn Elijah with the Bach Choir. As a low mezzo Cathy enjoys singing Handel’s ever-popular Messiah in venues across the UK, but she also loves exploring more esoteric repertoire, and has made a particular specialism of lesser-known works from the Italian baroque such as Alessandro Scarlatti’s Salve Regina and Vivaldi’s Magnificat, Dixit Dominus and Introduzione e Gloria RV588.

Opera highlights include Carmen for Barefoot Opera; Arsamenes (Xerxes) for Hampstead Garden Opera; Russian Nanny (Death in Venice) for Garsington Opera; and Third Lady/Third Boy (Die Zauberflöte) for both Diva Opera and the Palestine Mozart Festival. Chorus work includes Scottish Opera, Garsington, Grange Park, Bergen Nasjonale Opera and the festivals in Aix-en-Provence and Beijing. Cathy has a strong commitment to contemporary music and has taken principal roles in new operas at the Tête à Tête and Grimeborn festivals, recorded a new work by Will Todd for an education project at Opera North, and worked on the development of a new piece for WNO MAX.

Cathy also works regularly in ensembles such as the BBC Singers, Sonoro, Polyphony and EXAUDI, and sings for film sessions with groups including London Voices, the Pinewood Singers, Apollo Voices and RSVP Voices. She is an enthusiastic teacher of singing, working with students privately and at Dulwich College, St Paul’s Girls’ School and Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge.


For oratorio and concert repertoire please scroll down:

Oratorio and concert rep – works performed
Composer Work
Bach, CPE Magnificat
Bach, JS Christmas Oratorio
Magnificat in D
Mass in B minor
St John Passion
St Matthew Passion
Cantata BWV 4
Cantata BWV 6
Cantata BWV 33
Cantata BWV 70
Cantata BWV 105
Cantata BWV 147
Cantata BWV 156
Cantata BWV 180
Beethoven Mass in C
Missa Solemnis
Symphony No. 9 ‘Choral’
Britten Hymn to St Cecilia
Rejoice in the Lamb
Bononcini Duet cantata “Luci barbare spietate”
Duet cantata “Si fugga, si sprezzi”
Durante Magnificat
Duruflé Requiem
Handel Anthem for the Foundling Hospital, “Blessed are they that considereth the poor”
Belshazzar (Daniel)
Dettingen Te Deum
Dixit Dominus
“Eternal Source of Light Divine” – original alto version
Israel in Egypt
Judas Maccabeus
Let God Arise
Sing Unto God (Wedding Anthem for Prince Frederick and Princess Augusta)
Theodora (Irene)
Cantata “La solitudine: ‘L’aure grate'”
Cantata “Siete rose ruggiadose”
Cantata “Vedendo amor”
Duet cantata “Conservate, raddoppiate”
Duet cantata “Sono liete, fortunate”
Duet cantata “Tanti strali”
Haydn Creation (tiny alto solo!)
Creation’ Mass
Nelson’ Mass
St Nicholas’ Mass
Maria Theresa’ Mass
Jenkins The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace
Larley In Praise of Music
McDowall Magnificat
Mendelssohn Elijah
Mozart Coronation Mass
Vesperae solennes de confessore KV 339
Vesperae solennes de Dominica KV 321
Pergolesi Stabat Mater
Purcell Jubilate Deo in D
Ode on St Cecilia’s Day 1692
Te Deum Laudamus
Rachmaninoff Vespers
Rossini Petite Messe Solennelle
Saint-Saens Oratorio de Noel
Scarlatti, A. Salve regina
Cantata “Son io, barbara donna”
Schubert Magnificat
Mass in A flat
Mass in C
Stravinsky Mass
Vaughan Williams Serenade to Music
Vivaldi Dixit Dominus RV 594
Dixit Dominus RV 595
Gloria RV 589
Introduzione e Gloria RV 588
Cantata “Cessate, omai cessate”
Artist: Cathy Bell
Label: Ann Ferrier Artists
Genre: Mezzo Soprano