Michael Shell
Michael has directed productions for Atlanta Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, Michigan Opera Theater, Opera Omaha, Opera San Jose, Opera Tampa, Opera North, Virginia Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Wexford Festival Opera, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Opera Philadelphia, Houston Grand Opera, and Arizona Opera. Michael is currently a member of the faculty at IU Jacobs School of Music teaching Acting/Opera Workshop as well as directing shows for IU Opera Theater.
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Michael Shell

Critics across the nation have praised Michael's productions across the country. Of his most recent new production of Candide, it was said by Broadway World that "This production was one I could watch over and over again. Each moment of the show required the sets, costumes, and actors to be at their best. The final picture we see on stage is a beautiful reminder of what our world can be. While we all have our own beliefs, when we come together, we make something beautiful." The driving force behind his work as a director is to tell the story in the most authentic and theatrical way possible. Michael was recently appointed as a Visiting Lecturer at Indiana University's Jacobs School of Music teaching Acting, opera workshop and directing main-stage productions. As an educator his philosophy is to inform, excite, and empower his students to be the most authentic singing actor possible. Over his short time at I.U., he has created the new core of dramatic training courses offered at JSOM.

Shell has directed productions for Atlanta Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, Michigan Opera Theater, Opera Omaha, Opera San Jose, Opera Tampa, Opera North, Virginia Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Wexford Festival Opera, and Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. He made his international directing debut at the Wexford Festival Opera in 2010 with a production of Winners by American composer Richard Wargo. He returned the following fall to direct Double Trouble – Trouble in Tahiti & The Telephone. He has written and directed three cabarets, including All About Love and The Glamorous Life - A group therapy session for Opera Singers, both for Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. 

Shell holds a B.M. and M.M. in Music/Vocal Performance from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. He was a Corbett Scholar at The University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. He studied Acting and Scene Study on a school-awarded scholarship at the internationally renowned H. B. Studios in NYC.

He has been a guest faculty member at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Florida State University, and Webster University, St. Louis, teaching Opera Workshop and directing Undergraduate Opera Workshop performances. In addition, Shell has been a guest director at the A. J. Fletcher Opera Institute and Oklahoma University, and was a frequent guest director at Indiana University before joining its faculty. He was also a faculty member of the Summer Opera Program at the Israeli Vocal Arts Institute.

Michael Shell is an associate professor of music in voice at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. He was recently appointed as Assistant GenerManagerger and resident stage director for IU Jacobs School of Music Opera and Ballet Theater. In 2020-21, Shell directed all five IU Jacobs Opera Theater productions under COVID protocols when no other U.S. academic institution or opera company was presenting fully staged indoor productions. The school's The Turn of the Screw by Benjamin Britten won a National Opera Association Best Opera Production award that season.


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