Director/choreographer and librettist John de los Santos has been called a “brilliant combination of literary insight and choreographic creativity.” He has staged a range of productions that include opera, musicals, plays, ballet, concerts, and workshop readings. With an extensive background as an actor and dancer, John’s incisive dramatic perspective has yielded stagings described as “stark and unflinching”, “imaginative and sophisticated”, and “vivid theatre”. John’s productions include the world premiere of The Astronaut Love Show at the Kraine Theater (NYC), The Roseand the Knife and Le Comte Ory for LoftOpera (NYC), La Cage Aux Folles for Skylight Music Theatre, La Fille du Regiment for Arizona Opera, Carousel for Ashlawn Opera, María de Buenos Aires for Lexington Philharmonic, and Green Sneakers for the Southside Theatre at San Francisco’s historic Fort Mason Center. He choreographed the world premiere of Jake Heggie and Terrence McNally’s Great Scott, directed by Jack O’Brien, for the Dallas Opera. His choreography has also been seen at the Washington National, Florida Grand, Philadelphia, San Diego, Des Moines Metro, Utah Festival, and Austin Lyric Opera Companies.
John’s first opera libretto with composer Clint Borzoni, When Adonis Calls, was selected for inclusion in Fort Worth Opera’s Frontiers showcase, and then performed in concert by operamission in NYC. John’s new collaboration with Borzoni, The Copper Queen, won the top prize Arizona Opera’s commission program, Arizona SPARK. He was then commissioned by Washington National Opera’s American Opera Initiative to create a new original work with composer Christopher Weiss. The resulting piece, Service Provider, premiered at The Kennedy Center in 2015.
In 2003, he became the resident choreographer for the Fort Worth Opera, where his choreography has been seen in Rigoletto, Salome, La Traviata, Amahl and the Night Visitors, and the world premieres of Frau Margot and Before Night Falls. John then made his directing debut with the company with a 2009 production of Carmen, followed by The Mikado and The Pearl Fishers. In 2010 he made his choreographic debut for the Dallas Opera with Don Giovanni. John has served on the directing faculty of the Seagle Music Colony in Schroon Lake, NY, where his productions have included Anything Goes, Crazy for You, The Medium, The Fantasticks, The Mikado, LaBoheme, Guys & Dolls, Brigadoon and L’Italiana in Algeri. John has also coached young artists with the Washington National, Arizona, Fort Worth, and Des Moines Metro Opera Companies, and served on the faculty of the KD Conservatory of Film and Dramatic Arts in Dallas.
Other productions include Italienisches Liederbuch for Voces Intimae, The Golden Apple for Lyric Stage, The Tenderland and Cosi Fan Tutte for The Living Opera, Seussical for Kids Who Care, Spring Awakening and Dogfight for WaterTower Theatre. For the Dallas-based theatre company Uptown Players, choreographed the American premiere of the Pet Shop Boys musical Closer to Heaven, the regional premiere of Altar Boyz (for which John was awarded the DFW Critics Forum Award for Best Choreography), and directed and choreographed the regional premiere of Hello Again and the American premiere of Soho Cinders. John is originally from San Antonio, Texas, where he performed as a principal member of the Alamo City Dance Company. He then relocated to Fort Worth, Texas and received his BFA in Theatre/Film Performance & Direction from Texas Christian University. In addition to his directing and choreography, John has also performed with various production companies in the DFW Metroplex including Lyric Stage, Casa Manana, Uptown Players, Theatre Three, Contemporary Theatre of Dallas, Theatre Britain, the Turtle Creek Chorale, and AMS Productions.