Interview with Craig Johnson

Bodhi Tree Concerts: 

Can you describe your role as a teacher at Point Loma Nazarene University and describe how it feels/will feel to perform with one of your students? Note:  Craig will be playing the role of Samuel and his student Anthony will be playing the role of the Pirate King.

 

CRAIG JOHNSON:

My role as a teacher is to help singers find their passion.  I assist them in developing the awareness of their bodies and minds that best enables them to give voice to that passion.  I learn just as much or more from my students as they do from my teaching.  The better they become, the better I become.  And so it is always an honor to perform with them in public.  I cannot think of a higher honor than to have my students performing publicly and standing alongside of them on stage.

 

BTC:  Can you describe briefly Anthony’s journey as a singer under your tutelage?

 

CJ:  Anthony came to me at the beginning of his senior year of high school because he was looking for a university opera program.  I have to admit that I wasn’t super impressed with his vocal maturity at the time, but then again he was only 16.  What I was impressed with was his enthusiasm for the art of classical singing.  As he continued to see me over the course of that year, his voice really started to open up and show promise as a legitimate classical baritone.  He started winning local competitions and scholarships. His freshman year of college, he hit the ground running, gaining contracts with both San Diego Opera in the ensemble of Moby Dick and with Lyric Opera San Diego as “Older Patrick” in Mame as well as signing the leading baritone role in Mozart’s La finta giardiniera and the bass solos in Messiah. By the end of his freshman year, he won 2nd place in a national competition, edging out grad students from major conservatories. He went on then as the youngest singer in the Advanced Artist program at OperaWorks.  That set the tone for his sophomore year. It was full steam ahead with more first place wins and finalist rankings in major competitions as well as more professional contracts and roles.  Today, at the ripe old age of nineteen, I think that he has more professional credits and opera roles than I did when I was thirty. 

 

BTC:  Please describe a career highlight as a teacher / performer.

 

CJ:  Every day is a highlight for me as a teacher.  I swear that I have the best job in the universe.  Singers are among the happiest, warmest, most creative, and life-affirming people anywhere.  What could possibly be better than being a part of a singer’s discovery of their instrument (which is constantly changing),  while also absorbing the great music that goes along with it?