John Craig Johnson, D.M.A.

Associate Professor of Music
Vocal Studies Coordinator

Dr. John Craig Johnson, baritone, has garnered international praise from Opera News as a distinguished voice of "solid technical facility and impressive, rich, singing." He has performed over 40 operatic roles on stage, with the Los Angeles Times calling him “very appealing” and a singer who “handled roles with honor and conviction.” He has sung principal roles with Los Angeles Opera (in the world premier of Nathan Wang’s On Gold Mountain in the inaugural Voices of California project); Long Beach Opera; Orange County Opera; Opera de Tijuana; and the San Bernardino, Bakersfield, and Palisades symphonies. He has been heralded as "the star of the evening . . . deliciously comic and richly sung" by the Pasadena Star for his Papageno in Die Zauberflöte. A champion of young singers, Johnson has taught the summer opera intensive at the nationally recognized San Diego High School for Creative and Performing Arts, and served on the guest faculties of Broadway Dreams Summer Intensives (Los Angeles, Omaha, Sacramento, and Philadelphia), Atlanta's Renaissance International School for Performing Arts, and Opera Academy of California. He teaches voice students who are pursuing or currently engaged in professional careers singing opera, pop, rock, and musical theatre. Since 2008, his students have garnered seven first place wins and 20 other awards from the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. His students are frequent winners and grant recipients of auditions sponsored by National Association of Teachers of Singing, Carmel Music Society, Los Angeles Opera Buffs, La Jolla Symphony Young Artists, Musical Merit of San Diego, Virginia Hawk Memorial Scholarship, and others. Johnson's students are engaged as professional singers on the local, regional, national, and international levels and have gone on to study at University of Southern California, Yale, Academy of Vocal Arts, Rice, University of Colorado – Boulder, University of North Texas, Manhattan School of Music, California State University – Northridge, University of Kansas, Boston University’s Opera Institute, Carnegie Mellon, and CAP21. He resides in San Diego with his wife Tami, and their three teenage children.


  • D.M.A., Vocal Arts, University of Southern California
  • M.M., Voice Performance, University of Oklahoma
  • B.S., Music, Southern Nazarene University

Courses Taught

  • Applied Voice – MUA 155 – 455
  • Vocal Pedagogy – MUE 310
  • Diction for Singers I and II (English, German, Italian, French, and Latin) – MUA 250/251
  • Song Literature I and II – MUH 309/310
  • Acting for Singers – MUA 331
  • Musical Theatre Production – MUA 332
  • Introduction to Music – MUH 100
  • Co-Teach: Foundations in Humanities II – From Renaissance to Enlightenment – HON 220

Professional and Community Involvement

  • University Liaison with San Diego Opera's Educational Outreach Program, OperaExposed!
  • San Diego City Opera, Board Member
  • Twenty Productions with San Diego Opera Chorus, 2007 – 2014, including Борис Годунов (Boris Godunov), Samson et Dalila, Il Trovatore, Wozzeck, Tannhäuser, Maria Stuarda, Cavalleria Rusticana and I Pagliacci, Aïda, Les pêcheurs des perles, Rigoletto, Don Quichotte, Peter Grimes, Romeo et Juliette, Turandot, Faust, Samson et Dalila, Aïda, Un ballo in maschera, and Verdi’s Requiem

Awards and Honors

Performance Reviews

  • “A distinguished voice that stood out for its solid technical facility, Craig Johnson (an Archer) offered impressive, rich bass tones.” Opera News Vol  64, No 4 - Robert Pragg on Long Beach Opera’s production of Charpentier’s The Imaginary Invalid
  • "The star of the evening, certainly by the audience’s account, was John Craig Johnson whose Papageno was deliciously comic and richly sung.” Pasadena Star, Oct. 22, 1999, John Farrell on Pasadena Lyric Opera’s production of Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte
  • “Craig Johnson revealed a very appealing bass.” Los Angeles Times, March 21, 2000, John Henken on L.A. Bach Festival’s St. Matthew Passion
  • “John Craig Johnson . . . handled small roles with honor and conviction.” Los Angeles Times, June 10, 2000, John Henken on LA Opera’s production of Nathan Wang’s On Gold Mountain
  • “Fine work from bass Craig Johnson wove in and out of the chorus.  Johnson’s triumphant second movement statement ‘God Is Not Dead’ came across with reassuring vocal depth and texture.” Riverside Press-Enterprise -  Sherli Leonard on Riverside Master Chorale’s West Coast premiere of Michael Cox’s Deo Gratias"
  • “As Andrée, Johnson paints a vocal portrait of a thoughtful but misguided man blinded by fame and ultimately broken by sorrow for his colleagues.” San Diego Union-Tribune, April 1, 2016, Pam Kragen on San Diego City Opera’s Andrée Expedition"

Dissertations, Presentations, and Publications

  • "Man" and "Writer" (stand-in, with 11 performances), Woody Guthrie’s American Song, Intrepid Theatre/Horton Grand, 2016
  • "Salomon Andrée" The Andrée Expedition (Argento, World Premiere), San Diego City Opera, 2016
  • "Mike" Blue Monday (Gershwin, Mexican Premiere), Opera de Tijuana, CECUT - Centro Cultural Tijuana, 2015
  • "King Hildebrand" Princess Ida (concert), Bodhi Tree Concert Opera, 2015
  • "Colline" La Bohème (concert), Point Loma Opera Theatre, 2015      
  • Captain Corcoran, H. M. S. Pinafore (concert), Bodhi Tree Concert Opera, 2014
  • "Aleko" Алеко (Russian, San Diego Premiere) East Co. Youth Symphony/ Kroc Theatre, 2014 
  • "Colline" La Bohème (Act 1) Opera de Tijuana, Opera en la Calle, 2014 
  • "Brother" Seven Deadly Sins (Weill) San Diego Fringe Festival, Lyceum Theatre, 2014 – Won "Outstanding Musical Performance" at San Diego Fringe Festival
  • "Pooh-Bah" Mikado (concert) Festival Singers of Orange Co., 2014
  • "Samuel" Pirates of Penzance (concert), Bodhi Tree Concert Opera, 2013
  • "Leo Gersh" Love and War (concert, Music Theatre Premiere) Pasadena Civic Center, 2013
  • "Pish-Tush" Mikado (concert), Opera en la Calle Festival, Tijuana, 2013