Information for next year’s 2021 PLU Summer Opera Workshop will be updated as soon as it becomes available. Check back later for updated information. Thank you!

2021 Summer Opera Workshop

July 12 – 25, 2021

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

Jim Brown, conductor; and Barry Johnson, stage director

Dr. James L. Brown, Workshop Coordinator

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: TBD

Please complete the Summer Opera Workshop application form along with your resume and audition video, and submit them directly to Dr. Jim Brown at by TBD.

Registration / Deposit ($250) Deadline: TBD

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

Final Payment: Due TBD

Balance ($275) due.

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



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 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

Please complete the Summer Opera Workshop application form along with your resume and audition video, and submit them directly to Dr. Jim Brown at by TBD.

Application Form TBD

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


Summer Opera Workshop

Dr. James L. Brown, Director

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 on line, print them and mail them with your deposit to

Summer Opera Workshop
Pacific Lutheran University – Music
12180 Park Avenue South
Tacoma, WA 98447

Fax Number: 253-535-8669

Forms needed:

Registration Form TBD

Activity Participation Form and Medical Release Form TBD

Payment Deadlines:

Deposit: $250 Non-Refundable: TBD

Final Payment: $275 on or before TBD

On Campus Housing Available: Payment due TBD

On Campus Dorm Reservation Form TBD


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


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 Available: Rates are subject to change. To learn more about on-campus summer housing: On Campus Dorm Reservation Form TBD

  • Rates:
  • Traditional Single Occupancy: $57.75 per person / per night

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: