- M.M., Master of Music, University of North Carolina School of the Arts
- B.M., Bachelor of Music, University of North Carolina School of the Arts
Michael Shell is associate professor of music in voice at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music and resident stage director for IU Jacobs School of Music Opera and Ballet Theater.
His "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.
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 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.
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, 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, Shell has been guest director at the A. J. Fletcher Opera Institute and Oklahoma University, and was frequent guest director at Indiana University before being joining its faculty. He was also a faculty member of the Summer Opera Program at the Israeli Vocal Arts Institute.
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.