Michael Egel of Indianola, Iowa, was appointed General and Artistic Director of Des Moines Metro Opera in 2013 and Artistic Director in September of 2010. He previously served the company as the Artistic Administrator/Director of Education from 1999-2010. He joined the Summer Festival staff in 1994 and marked 20 seasons with the organization in 2014.
Egel’s responsibilities include both artistic direction and overall management—specifically, the areas of strategic planning, opera production, fiscal stewardship and community, donor and board relations. He works closely with the year-round staff in the day-to-day operation of the organization and with the festival production and artistic teams on the creation of the Summer Festival Season. Under his tenure, the company has launched the 2nd Stages Series, a new performance initiative designed to engage new audiences, promote strategic collaborations, increase revenue and create a platform for innovation. Egel also created a community engagement series called Staging Connections which creates events and lectures connecting opera performances to non-musical disciplines that have involved the State Bar Association, a local Film Series, the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden, Drake and Grandview University Art Departments and the National Czech/Slovak Museum and Library in Cedar Rapids.
Egel is responsible for repertory selection, casting of singers, selecting conductors and stage directors for mainstage productions and oversight of the company’s collaborations with creative and design teams, responsibilities he has held since 2010. Each season under his tenure has included three new productions and the 2015 fiscal year will include three new mainstage productions and two new 2nd Stages productions. During the summer festival season, he coordinates the activities of more than 240 company members. In 2012 he launched an initiative to present opera titles new to the company and has introduced critically acclaimed new productions of Eugene Onegin, Elektra, Dead Man Walking, Le Comte Ory, The Tragedy of Carmen and Jenůfa to Summer Festival Season audiences.
His education credentials include a Bachelor of Music in Performance and Education from Simpson College and a Master of Music from the University of Memphis. In March 2011 he was named to the Des Moines Business Record “Forty under 40” which serves to identify young leaders making an impact in the Greater Des Moines Area. He was recently selected as a member of the Greater Des Moines Committee, which is comprised of Central Iowa’s highest ranking business leaders, and was named the 2014 Distinguished Alumnus of the Theta Lambda Chapter of Lambda Chi Alpha at Simpson College. Under his leadership, the company received the 2015 Bravo Greater Des Moines Encore Award for Organizational Excellence.
He has served frequently as an adjudicator for the Metropolitan Opera’s National Council Auditions and has served on the National Singer Training Forum with other singer-training personnel at Opera America. He has been a panelist for the National Opera Association regarding career issues for young singers and has contributed to national publications regarding the auditioning process and training for singers.