(Opera Birmingham 2016, Opera Piccola 2014, Fort Mason Center 2013)
"The close proximity of audience to stage at the RMTC theater and John de los Santos' acute understanding of how drama should be projected helped a great deal. The same was true of the companion opera, 'Green Sneakers.' Baritone Matthew Worth sang the solo role with fervency, vividly projecting various aspects of grief as the inevitable nears. Like a good performance of 'La Boheme' or 'La Traviata', this was as poignant as opera gets."
STAGE AND CINEMA:
" ...a haunting and poignant West Coast premiere. John de los Santos’ thoroughly considered staging offered a narrative within the music and text’s emotional diversity. Jesse Blumberg was frightening in his intensity...one has to be in awe at his stamina in performing seventeen very different songs in a setting that the director made both domestic and abstract.The four instrumentalists remained behind the singer almost until the end, but in key moments, de los Santos had them interacting with Blumberg, such as in the penultimate song, “Provincetown,” when the cellist gets up and moves to comfort the singer. Also on stage was a piano, with its open keyboard facing the audience, leaving us to wonder why it wasn’t being used. But after “Provincetown,” the musicians arose and quietly moved the grand piano to the front of the stage as if in a solemn ritual. ...an intense, engaging and moving evening. "
SAN FRANCISCO CLASSICAL VOICE:
"Green Sneakers is a major achievement. On the theater’s small stage a desk and chair were arranged on the left close to the apron, and a mostly empty chair on the right. Between them the quartet was seated and behind them, a piano. Nothing else was needed; the music and Jesse Blumberg’s riveting presence filled the space. It would have been easy for Blumberg to have added a pathetic tremble to his handsome baritone, or to have played the long-suffering martyr. Instead, he played it straight, as it were, because that was all that was required. For this we must also credit John de los Santos’ tasteful direction and choreography, which allowed Gordon’s heart to speak directly through his music without additional baggage. "