2022 Summer Opera Workshop

The 2022 Summer Opera Workshop has been canceled, and the event will be postponed until 2023.  Please contact Dr. Jim Brown at brownja@plu.edu with any questions about this event.

As of Saturday, March 12, 2022 the PLU campus has moved to a mask-optional policy in concert with changes at the state level and recommendations of the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department. In addition, the university will no longer mandate proof of vaccination for visitors attending campus events.

2023 Dates TBA

Jim Brown and Barry Johnson, stage directors

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

Our Summer Opera Workshop will present TBD.

Apply for this exciting opportunity. Summer Workshop fee: $600

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.

Priority Casting Auditions: March 20, 2022, 11am-2pm (live or video recorded deadline)

Application Deadline: April 30, 2022

To apply, please submit your resume with audition video directly to Dr. Jim Brown at brownja@plu.edu by April 30, 2022.

Registration / Deposit (TBD) Deadline: TBD

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 TBD.  Also include the Activity Participation & Medical Release Form.

Final Payment: Due TBD

Balance (TBD) 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.


Shelby Rhoades

Pianist Shelby Rhoades is currently active as a coach, consultant, and music director in the greater Seattle-Tacoma area. She regularly works as a private coach with international singers including Maureen McKay, Cecelia Hall, and Anthony Roth Costanzo. Shelby has maintained the position of Principal Coach and Director of Emerging Artists Program at Virginia Opera, from 2013-2020, and Charlottesville Opera, 2009-2019. She has also been a member of the Vocal Arts Faculty at the Juilliard School, from 2008-2013. Other previous engagements include The Duffy Institute (Virginia Arts Festival), Yale University, Aspen Opera Theater, Seattle Opera, as well as various festivals throughout the Pacific Northwest and Commonwealth of Virginia. Shelby has worked with conductors Gary Thor Wedow, Ari Pelto, John DeMain, Andrew Bisantz, Ann Manson, Julius Rudel, George Manahan, and Adam Turner. Among her various activities as an opera coach, Shelby specializes in New Music, preparing premieres by composers such as Corigliano, Henze, Muhly and Saariaho. She holds degrees in chamber accompanying and vocal performance from Ball State University, (Muncie, IN), and piano performance, (Anderson, IN).


Jennifer Bowman

Pianist Jennifer (Walsh) Bowman is a native of Olympia, WA, who has earned degrees in piano performance, piano pedagogy and collaborative piano from Whitman College, Northern Illinois University and The Juilliard School.  She studied with Janet Mooney, Leonard Richter, Lee Thompson, Debra Bakland, Donald Walker, Margo Garrett, Jonathan Feldman, Rohan de Silva, Brian Zeger and Samuel Sanders.  Currently she is studying jazz piano with Michael Stegner.

She has performed in most of the major concert venues in the Pacific Northwest including Benaroya Hall, Nordstrom Recital Hall, Meany Hall, Seattle Art Museum, The Frye Museum, Lagerquist Hall, Minnaert Center, Schneebeck Hall, Karen Hille Phillips Center, Icicle Creek and The Washington Center.  Professionally she has worked with Seattle Opera, Seattle Symphony, The Fifth Avenue Theatre, Capital Playhouse, SOGO, Academy of Music Northwest, Seattle Conservatory.  She has also performed live on KING FM 98.1 several times.

A music educator for over 30 years, Ms. Bowman has taught piano from the elementary to the collegiate level (Pacific Lutheran University).  Her students consistently gain recognition and win prizes in all sorts of competitions.  She is also an experienced vocal coach with over 25 years of experience in art song and operatic repertoire.  She is an active and versatile collaborative pianist and participates in a large variety of musical events every year.


Summer Opera Workshop

To apply, please submit your resume with audition video directly to Dr. Jim Brown at brownja@plu.edu by April 30. 2022.

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: $600. 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 TBD.

Please complete these forms by using the links supplied below

Registration Form

Activity Participation Form and Medical Release Form

Payment Deadlines:

Deposit: TBD Non-Refundable: TBD

Final Payment: TBD on or before TBD (Note: final payment should be submitted using the same registration form/deposit link listed above)


2023 Dates TBA

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

 Good-will offering accepted.

Dates TBD

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.

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: