2021 Summer Opera Workshop

July 12 – 25, 2021

Featuring Mozart’s The Magic Flute
and “Liederabend: An evening of staged song”

Jim Brown and Barry Johnson, stage directors
Sheila Bristow, piano – Magic Flute
Jennifer Bowman, piano – Liederabend: An evening of staged song

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

Our Summer Opera Workshop will present Mozart’s The Magic Flute and “Liederabend: An evening of staged song,” which will consist of staged lieder, melodies, and art song.

Apply for this exciting opportunity. Summer Workshop fee: $525

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

Application Deadline: May 30, 2021

To apply, please submit your resume with audition video directly to Dr. Jim Brown at brownja@plu.edu by May 30, 2021.

Registration / Deposit ($250) Deadline: June 11, 2021

After you have received confirmation of acceptance into the Summer Opera Workshop, please complete the Summer Opera Workshop registration form and along with payment of a non-refundable deposit of $250.  Also include the Activity Participation & Medical Release Form.

Final Payment: Due July 12, 2021

Balance ($275) due.

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.


Soon Cho

Voice Instructor and critically acclaimed mezzo-soprano

As an artist teacher deeply committed to education, lyric mezzo-soprano Soon Cho joined the voice faculty at Pacific Lutheran University in 2017, having previously taught at Texas State University and Baylor University. At PLU she teaches private voice (both classical and musical theater) as well as courses in diction and vocal pedagogy. Dr. Cho received her Doctorate of Musical Arts in Voice and Artist Diploma in Opera from the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music (CCM), M.M. from the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University, and B.A./B.M. from the University of Washington. Dr. Cho was selected nationally to participate in the prestigious NATS Intern Program (2011), Songfest Mentor Program (2013) at the Colburn School in Los Angeles, and workshops with master teachers Barbara Honn (CCM) and Dr. Joyce Farwell (Rice University).

Acclaimed by Opera News for her “potent presence” and praised by the Cincinnati Post as “regal in bearing, with vocal endowments to match,” Dr. Cho maintains an active professional career. She has performed in recitals, concerts and operas in Australia, Belgium, Bulgaria, China, Canada, France, Great Britain, New Zealand, South Korea and the United States. Her vocal and dramatic repertoire is unusually wide ranging; she is equally at home singing the music of Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven as well as works by Mahler, Stravinsky, and living composers. Among her operatic roles are Der Komponist (Ariadne auf Naxos), Dorabella (Cosi fan tutte), Costanza (L’Isola Disabitata), Mao’s 2nd Secretary (Nixon in China), Adalgisa (Norma), Mercedes (Carmen), Zita (Gianni Schicchi), Mother Goose (The Rake’s Progress), Hansel (Hansel and Gretel), L’Enfant (L’Enfant et les Sortilèges), Mother Marie (Dialogues of the Carmelites), Hermia (A Midsummer Night’s Dream), and Vera Boronel (The Consul).

On the concert stage as a mezzo-soprano soloist, Dr. Cho has performed Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and May Festival Chorus, Dvořák’s Stabat Mater with Honolulu Symphony Orchestra and O’ahu Chorale Society, Mahler’s Kindertotenlieder with the Breckenridge Music Festival Orchestra, Bach’s St. John Passion with Vocal Arts Ensemble and Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, A Salute to Opera with the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, Berlioz’s Les Nuit D’Eté with Opera Philharmonic of Bourgas in Bulgaria, and John Rutter’s Feel the Spirit with the Valley Symphony Orchestra and Chorale. Other concert performances as a soloist include Bach’s St. Matthew Passion and Magnificat, Corigliano’s Fern Hill, Falla’s Three Cornered Hat, Handel’s Messiah, Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 and Um Mitternacht, Mozart’s Requiem, Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle, Saint-Saëns’s Messe, Verdi’s Requiem and Vivaldi’s Gloria.

As a recitalist, Dr. Cho has performed on the Les Arts George V Recital Series at the Paris American Cathedral and Beaune International Baroque Festival in France, Ghent New Music Festival in Belgium, King Charles the Martyr Falmouth Summer Series in England, Grandin Music Festival in Cincinnati, International Viola Congress in New Zealand, and Icicle Creek Chamber Music Festival in Leavenworth. An advocate of new music and aficionado of chamber music, Dr. Cho has premiered worked by such living composers as Dominick DiOrio, Michael Fiday, Joel Hoffman, Michael Ippolito, Scott McAllister and Jake Heggie.

While maintaining an active performing career, Dr. Cho also serves as a clinician and adjudicator. She has presented master classes at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Ithaca College, Florida State University, Hawaii Pacific University, Houston Grand Opera High School Studio, and Royal Conservatory of Ghent in Belgium. She adjudicates the Schmidt Vocal Competition, which reaches over 5,000 high school students throughout the U.S. annually, and brought the competition to Pacific Lutheran University as a host institution. Her students have been accepted into prestigious music programs, including Oberlin, Indiana University, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, and San Francisco Conservatory. In addition, they have won such prestigious competitions as Edward Baird Singer of the Year and Texoma NATS Student Auditions Competition and been selected to attend opera training programs at the Opera Training Institute of Chicago, Opera Works Advanced Artist Program, Cincinnati-Conservatory of Music Opera Studio, Houston Grand Opera’s Opera-to-Go, CoOPERAtive Young Artist Program, and many international summer opera programs.

In her studio and classes, Dr. Cho creates a nurturing, inspiring environment by getting to each singer as an individual. She challenges her students to pursue excellence by working mindfully, strategically, and consistently to develop their vocal abilities. She aims to help singers become self-sufficient so engages her students in open conversations, always asking probing and leading questions. Students learn how to self-diagnose and develop a flexible set of strategies to overcome technical as well as musical challenges so that they graduate her studio as self-reliant musicians prepared to achieve their artistic goals.


Janeanne Houston

Voice Instructor and critically acclaimed soprano

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 Symphony No. 9 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 Symphony No. 8 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, now celebrating its tenth year, and she loves working with young singers.


Sheila Bristow 

PLU Opera Coach

Sheila Bristow is a versatile keyboardist active in the Tacoma area. She has accompanied several Tacoma Opera productions and coached their 2009 and 2010 young artist programs. As coach/accompanist at Pacific Lutheran University, Ms. Bristow coached Die Fledermaus and Albert Herring and provides studio and recital accompaniment. She has accompanied many vocal recitals, opera workshops, and Seattle Opera previews, and also performed as a continuo player with Tacoma Opera, Seattle Academy of Baroque Opera, Seattle Pro Musica, and Concerto Baroque. Ms. Bristow studied music composition as a Kreielsheimer Scholar at Cornish College of the Arts, and received her MM in organ performance from the University of Washington, where she was a student of Carole Terry. She serves as Organist/Choirmaster for the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer, Kenmore.


Summer Opera Workshop

To apply, please submit your resume with audition video directly to Dr. Jim Brown at brownja@plu.edu by May 30, 2021.

Upon receipt of acceptance, you can register for the Summer Opera Workshop


Summer Opera Workshop

Dr. James L. Brown, Director
E-mail: brownja@plu.edu

Registration and Payment Process

Participant Fees: $525. After you have been accepted to participate in the Summer Opera Workshop, complete the registration form and the activity participation / medical release forms and return them with your non-refundable deposit of $250.

Please complete these forms by using the links supplied below

Registration Form

Activity Participation Form and Medical Release Form

Payment Deadlines:

Deposit: $250 Non-Refundable: June 11 , 2021

Final Payment: $275 on or before July 12, 2021 (Note: final payment should be submitted using the same registration form/deposit link listed above)


July 12 – 25, 2021

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

 Good-will offering accepted.

July 23: The Magic Flute by W. A. Mozart at 7pm
July 24: Liederabend: an evening of staged song at 7pm
July 25: The Magic Flute by W. A. Mozart at 3pm

Events will be livestreamed at www.plu.edu/soac/webcast.


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.

On Campus Housing will not be available for the 2021 Summer Opera Workshop.

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: