2024 Summer Opera Workshop

Information for the 2024 Summer Opera Workshop is still being updated.  Check back soon for more details!

July 7-21, 2024

Jim Brown and Barry Johnson, stage directors

Dr. James L. Brown, Workshop Coordinator
e-mail: brownja@plu.edu

Our Summer Opera Workshop will present an opera scenes program on Friday, July 21 and an evening of song on Saturday, July 22.

Apply for this exciting opportunity. Summer Workshop fee: $450

This workshop allows participants to engage in movement, acting and vocal study with faculty members. Opera and operetta scenes will be rehearsed in the afternoons for a culminating performance at the end of the workshop.

Interest Form Deadline: May 1, 2023 at 11:59pm

If you are interested in participating in the workshop please fill out the Interest Form linked here. The Interest Form will be available beginning March 15 at 8am and will close to further submissions on May 1 at 11:59pm.

Registration / Payment ($450) Deadline: June 15, 2023 at 11:59pm

Dr. Jim Brown will contact you by email with registration links after you have submitted your interest form. Payment is due during registration; an Activity Participation & Medical Release Form will also be required. These forms will be available beginning May 1 at 8am and will close to further submissions on June 15 at 11:59pm.

Housing Information Deadline: May 31, 2023 at 11:59pm

Information for on-campus housing will be made available beginning May 1.  If you require on-campus housing please submit your request by the deadline listed above.

Pricing for housing is as follows:

  • Private bedroom in a shared apartment with linen: $58.50 per person, per night
  • Private bedroom in a shared apartment without linen: $56.50 per person, per night

Contact the Pacific Lutheran University Music Department / 253-535-7602 / music@plu.edu for more information.


The Magic Flute by W. A. Mozart (July 2021)
Liederabend (July 2021)


James L. Brown

Workshop Director and Conductor

James Brown enjoys an eclectic career of singing, teaching, stage direction and conducting.  His work has been seen at Vashon Opera in Il Barbiere di Siviglia (stage director and conductor), Madama Butterfly  (stage director) and Carmen (stage director and conductor,), Eugene Onegin (conductor) and Cosi fan tutte (stage director, conductor and arranger). Other recent productions as stage director include Handel’s Semele (PLU Opera), La Boheme (Bellevue Opera) and a critically acclaimed production of Sweeney Todd (Lakewood Playhouse).  Upcoming productions for James include PLU Opera’s Le Nozze di Figaro (conductor), Previn’s A Streetcar named Desire (conductor and stage director), and La Traviata (conductor and stage director) with Vashon Opera, and Boito’s Mefistofele with Pacific Northwest Opera.

As a singer, James has distinguished himself on the opera and concert stage. James has sung with Il Festival dei due Mondi in Spoleto, Italy, New Orleans Opera, New York City Opera, Opera Company of Philadelphia, Pacific MusicWorks, Rogue Opera, Skylight Opera Theatre and Tulsa Opera.

The tenor has appeared with Seattle’s world-renowned community of early music specialists in concerts and operas at Seattle’s Town Hall, St. James Cathedral, Intiman Theatre and the Moore Theatre.  At the Moore Theatre, James performed in Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria with Tony award winners Handspring Puppet Company with music direction by Stephen Stubbs and stage direction by internationally celebrated artist William Kentridge.  James has appeared as concert soloist at the Aspen Music Festival, Ravinia Festival (Steans Institute) and Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall. He has performed the tenor solos in Messiah with the Tacoma Symphony and Mozart’s Requiem with Central Washington University.

James is the Chair of Vocal Studies at Pacific Lutheran University where he directs the opera and oversees a large voice program.  Brown’s students have gone on to study at the University of Arizona, Indiana University, The Juilliard School, University of Michigan, Oberlin Conservatory and Yale University.

James holds degrees from Loyola University/New Orleans, The Juilliard School and the State University of New York at Stony Brook with additional studies at The Academy of Vocal Arts.


Barry Johnson

Stage Director, Voice Instructor and critically acclaimed baritone

Barry Johnson, baritone, has attracted national attention among leading conductors, directors, and opera companies as a versatile singing actor. Creator of more than 50 opera roles, Mr. Johnson is a frequent guest with companies throughout the country including Seattle Opera, Tacoma Opera, Opera Colorado, Anchorage Opera, Portland Opera, Central City Opera, Las Vegas Opera, and the Wildwood Festival in Little Rock, Arkansas. The Marriage of Figaro, Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet, Marcello in La Boheme, Dancairo in Carmen, Sharpless in Madama Butterfly, Masetto in Don Giovanni, Prince Ottokar in Der Freischutz, Baron Douphol in La Traviata, Angelotti in Tosca, Papageno in The Magic Flute, Fleville in Andrea Chenier, Dr. Falke in Die Fledermaus, and Jupiter in Orpheus in the Underworld. Carmina Burana, Handel’s Messiah, Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem, Rachmaninoff’s The Bells, Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass, Frahm’s War Cantata, Bach’s Magnificat, Mozart’s Requiem, and Faure’s Requiem. The Merry Widow, Mozart’s The Magic Flute, Sondheim’s Into the Woods, Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance, and Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi and Suor Angelica.


Janeanne Houston

Voice masterclasses

Soprano Janeanne Houston has been praised by the Seattle Times as a “radiant voiced and very communicative” singer, by Gramophone as “Unfailingly responsive and dedicated”, by Classical Voice of North Carolina as a “magnificent singer” with “a beautiful voice and stunning interpretive skills” and The Journal of Singing remarked “such praiseworthy singing” and “a flawless sense of style.”

A versatile singer, Ms. Houston has sung most of the major oratorios from Bach to Verdi, and many symphonic, contemporary works, and world premieres. She is also at home on the opera stage, and as a concert artist and recitalist has performed throughout the region and across the country.

Her recent opera roles have been Madame Lidoine in Dialogues of the Carmelites, Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, Lia in Debussy’s L’Enfant Prodigue, Elisabetta in Don Carlo, Countess Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro, and Konstanze in Mozart’s Abduction from the Seraglio. Other recent performances include Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with Oregon Symphony, multiple performances of Verdi’s Requiem in the region, including a performance at Benaroya Hall and one with Bainbridge Symphony and Chorale. That work is among her favorites. She sang Poulenc’s Gloria with UW’s legendary Rodney Eichenberger leading the forces in Benaroya Hall. A prolific concert artist, she has sung for the nearly century-old Messiah Festival of Music and Art in Kansas where she sang Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, recitals, and performances of Handel’s Messiah. As a regional artist, she has appeared in many performances of Mozart’s Mass in C Minor, Brahms’ A German Requiem, Mahler’s Symphony No. 4, Haydn’s Creation, and world premieres. She sang the Mater Gloriosa in the first Oregon performance of Mahler’s Eighth Symphony with Eugene Symphony in 2002, conducted by Miguel Harth-Bedoya. Her career launched with notable performances at Seattle Symphony (Gerard Schwarz), Oregon Symphony (James DePreist), Northwest Chamber Orchestra (Sidney Harth), Northwest Sinfonietta, Spokane Symphony, Great Falls Symphony, Helena Symphony, and many others. Previous operatic roles have included Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro, Violetta in La Traviata, Blanche in Dialogues of the Carmelites, and Micaela in Carmen.

Her recordings are available on Naxos, Albany, and the Elmgrove labels. She was a finalist and a second-place winner in the Northwest Regional Metropolitan Opera auditions. Born in Kansas City, Ms. Houston spent her childhood in Myanmar, India, and the Philippine Islands. Blooming where she landed, she has been a member of the voice faculty at Pacific Lutheran University since 1989. Her students have excelled, and many are now singing professionally and teaching the next generation. She has been the master class instructor for PLU’s Summer Opera Workshop, and she loves working with young singers.


Amy Boers


Amy Elizabeth Boers is one of the region’s most sought-after collaborative artists. She is well-known for her work as pianist, coach – for singers and instrumentalists alike, teacher, music director, conductor, and church musician.  Her playing for conductors and professional soloists has been characterized as deeply expressive, artistic, and insightful. As a true collaborative artist, she is known for her insight and “getting inside the artist’s head.” Amy provides a rare and in-depth feedback through the special lens of an accompanist, singer, and conductor.

Amy’s multi-faceted work ranges from stage roles and direction of local musical theater, to ACDA regional honor choirs, choral organizations throughout the Puget Sound, and church work. Amy is currently serving as a collaborative artist with Pacific Lutheran University, where she coaches and performs with both vocalists and instrumentalists.  She regularly works with Choir of the West as rehearsal pianist, and most recently was rehearsal pianist for Sweeney Todd, and played continuo for Mozart’s beloved Marriage of Figaro. Amy was named as Principal Pianist for Symphony Tacoma in 2018, and has been collaborative artist with the Symphony Tacoma Voices for many years. She was music director and pianist for Act 1 Theatre’s production of Jason Robert Brown’s The Last Five Years and appeared as Logainne SchwartzandGrubenierre in a recent production of Putnam County Spelling Bee. She is organist and worship leader for Christ Lutheran Church, Lakewood.

Amy has conducted honor choirs, coached choral conductors, and has led workshops for choral conductors and collaborative artists in the U.S. and Canada. She works with many of the leading high school choral programs in the South Sound area as well as State Solo & Ensemble winners, both instrumental and vocal.  She travels regularly as a collaborative artist with choirs throughout Europe, performing most recently in Portugal, Spain, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.


2023 Dates 

Performances will be held in Karen Hille Phillips Center for the Performing Arts on the Pacific Lutheran University campus.

 Good-will offering accepted.

Friday, July 21 at 7pm and Saturday, July 22 at 3pm

Events will be livestreamed at www.plu.edu/professional-studies/arts


From Interstate 5 (North or South)

  • Take exit 127 off Interstate 5 and head east on Highway 512
  • Continue on 512 for approximately two miles
  • Take the WA-7/Pacific Ave exit
  • Turn right on Pacific Avenue S. (heading south)
  • Turn right on Garfield St.
  • Turn right on Park Ave S.
  • Turn left on 121st St S.
  • Turn left on 8th Ave S.
  • The Mary Baker Russell Music Center should be right in front of you (building 19).

You can use Google Maps to get personal directions.

Pacific Lutheran University is located seven miles south of downtown Tacoma Washington at the intersection of Garfield Street S. and Park Ave S.

Other Lodging

Pacific Lutheran University is located seven miles south of downtown Tacoma Washington at the intersection of Garfield Street S. and Park Ave S.

Best Western Park Plaza, Puyallup | 888-204-5804 | 253-848-1500

Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites, Puyallup | 888-465-4329

Hotel Murano, Tacoma | 866-986-8083

Holiday Inn Express, Tacoma | 888-465-4329

Marriott Courtyard, Tacoma | 253-591-9100 | 888-236-2427

Shilo Inn, Tacoma | 800-222-2244

Best Western Lakewood Motor Inn, Lakewood | 253-584-2212 | 800-780-7234


We have numerous restaurants within walking distance including:

Within a mile or so of PLU are: