Life and career
In New York City, he has designed for the Metropolitan Opera; the New York City Opera; the New York Shakespeare Festival; Broadway and off-Broadway productions. He has designed for other U.S. opera companies, including the San Francisco Opera and the Chicago Lyric Opera; Glimmerglass Opera; Opera Theatre of St. Louis; Santa Fe Opera; Seattle Opera; and the opera companies of Houston, Dallas, San Diego, Washington, and Boston. Regional theaters where he has worked include the American Repertory Theatre, the Goodman Theatre (Chicago), the Long Wharf Theatre, Hartford Stage, Arena Stage, the Guthrie Theatre, Center Stage (Baltimore), and Actors Theatre of Louisville.
In Europe he has designed for the English National Opera; the Royal Opera, Stockholm and the opera companies of Munich, Amsterdam, and Bologna. In 1991 he designed the costumes for Robert Wilson's production of the Magic Flute at the Bastille Opera in Paris. 
In 2008 he retired from his position as Associate Artistic Director for the Glimmerglass Opera, a post he had held for eighteen years. He is the artistic advisor for Boston Lyric Opera where his work has included Lucia de Lammermoor (2005) and Brittens's A Midsummer Night's Dream (2011). Reviewing the latter production, the Boston Globe described the scenery as "by turns abstract, stylized, whimsical, and deconstructed."
- "2011 NEA Opera Honoree John Conklin Stage Designer". National Endowment for the Arts. Retrieved 12 October 2011.
- Jerome Eichler. "Darkening ‘Dream’: BLO presents Britten’s take on Shakespeare". Boston Globe. Retrieved 12 October 2011.
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