Arthur Fagen has been professor of orchestral conducting at the Jacobs School of Music since 2008. Additionally, he has been music director of The Atlanta Opera since 2010. He has conducted opera productions at the world’s most prestigious opera houses and music festivals. From 1998 to 2001, he was invited regularly as guest conductor at the Vienna State Opera, in addition to performances at the Metropolitan Opera, Staatsoper Berlin Deutsche Oper Berlin, Munich State Opera, and many more. On the concert podium, he has appeared with numerous internationally known orchestras. Fagen has an opera repertory of more than 75 works. He has served as principal conductor in Kassel and Brunswick, as chief conductor of the Flanders Opera of Antwerp and Ghent, as music director of the Queens Symphony Orchestra, and as a member of the conducting staff of Lyric Opera of Chicago. From 2002 to 2007, he was music director of the Dortmund Philharmonic Orchestra and the Dortmund Opera. He and the Dortmund Philharmonic were invited to the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Palais de Beaux Arts in Brussels, and to Salzburg, Beijing, and Shanghai. Fagen conducted a new production of Turandot at The Atlanta Opera in 2007, opening the season and inaugurating the new opera house, the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center. He was a regular guest conductor of the Munich Radio Orchestra and guest conducted the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie, Schleswig-Holstein Festival, and many others. He was first-prize winner of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Conductors Competition as well as a prizewinner of the Gino Marinuzzi International Conductors’ Competition in Italy. Fagen has recorded for BMG, Bayerischer Rundfunk, SFB, and WDR Cologne. He records regularly for Naxos, for which he has completed the six symphonies of Bohuslav Martinů. His Naxos recording of Martinů’s piano concertos was awarded an Editor’s Choice award in the March 2010 issue of Gramophone magazine.
Michael Shell’s “visionary” and “masterful storytelling” (OperaNews) is steadily leading him to be one of the most sought-after directors in the United States. His “thoughtful and detailed score study” (OperaToday) 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 José, Opera Tampa, Opera North, Virginia Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Wexford Festival Opera, and Opera Theatre of St. Louis, and recently made his directorial debut at Houston Grand Opera. 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 earned B.M. and M.M. degrees 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 H. B. Studios in New York City. He has been guest faculty 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 was a frequent guest director at Indiana University. Shell joined the faculty of the Summer Opera Program at the Israeli Vocal Arts Institute in 2018. Last fall, he joined the faculty at the Jacobs School of Music, teaching classes in acting. Recent engagements include Silent Night for Arizona Opera and a new production of Candide for Des Moines Metro Opera.
A Bloomington-based designer and scenic artist, Mark Frederic Smith is also the director of scenic painting and properties for Jacobs School of Music Opera and Ballet Theater, where he has worked on over 100 productions during the past 22 years. Design work for Jacobs School projects includes 2016’s Florencia en el Amazonas, last season’s Don Giovanni and Ariadne auf Naxos, and this season’s upcoming production of Leonard Bernstein’s Mass. His design for Florencia en el Amazonas was featured in San Diego Opera’s 2017-18 season. In addition to work for Indianapolis Civic Theater, Butler Ballet, and Indianapolis Ballet’s company premiere production of TheFirebird, area theatergoers will recognize Mark’s designs for more than a dozen Cardinal Stage Company shows, including Les Miserables, A Streetcar Named Desire, MyFair Lady, Big River, and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Smith earned a Master of Fine Art in Scenic Design from the Indiana University Department of Theatre and Drama and was a student of Jacobs professors emeriti C. David Higgins and Robert O’Hearn.
Dana Tzvetkov designs and constructs costumes for opera, ballet, and theater. Her work has recently been featured in Central City Opera’s Tosca (2016) and Carmen (2017), and the National Opera Association’s Hagar (2016). Her designs have appeared on Indiana University’s Musical Arts Center stage in Saudade, Carmen, and Peter Grimes. She has designed rentals for Ball State Opera Theater, Mississippi Opera, DePauw University, and Butler University. She worked alongside Linda Pisano for Opera San Antonio to build costumes for a cast including Patricia Racette and Michelle DeYoung. She has been commissioned to create concert gowns for DeYoung and Sylvia McNair. Tzvetkov served as the costume shop supervisor for IU Opera and Ballet Theater from 2013 until recently, when she was promoted to shop manager. She returned to Central City Opera in summer 2018 to coordinate its production of Il Trovatore.
Ken Phillips has been the lighting designer and supervisor for the IU Jacobs School of Music's Musical Arts Center since 2019. He earned an M.F.A. in Lighting Design from the University of Arizona and previously worked around the country as a freelance designer for musical theatre and opera. Samples of his work may be seen at KGPhillips.com.