Michael Shell's "visionary" and "masterful storytelling" (Opera News) is steadily leading him to be one of the most sought after directors in the United States.   His "thoughtful and detailed score study" (Opera Today) is shown in character development and relationships onstage as well as the complete visual world he creates.   

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, and Opera Theatre of St. Louis. He made his international directing debut at the Wexford Festival Opera in 2010 with a production of “Winners,” by American composer Richard Wargo and returned the next 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.

Michael holds a BM and MM 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, as well as studying 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 he has been guest director at The A.J.Fletcher Opera Institute, Oklahoma University and is a frequent guest director at Indiana University. Michael has been a guest faculty member for the Summer Opera Program in Tel Aviv in 2018 and 2019.   This fall, Michael joined the faculty at Jacob's School of Music, Indiana University, as a full time Visiting Lecturer teaching classes in Acting Technique and Opera Workshop. 

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Rehearsals for a New production of West Side Story at Indiana University. 

Upcoming Engagements



H.M.S. Pinafore - Indiana University, 2014

 In rehearsal for “Silent Night” at Arizona Opera.