"Director John de los Santos provides some startling stage compositions which recall Golden Age Hollywood and manages to make OH's shoe box stage look a whole lot bigger than it actually is. Carmen, of course, is [Bizet's] masterpiece, but Pearl Fishers is a very close second. This production proves it."
"Last night the Fort Worth Opera opened its annual spring festival with Bizet’s introductory and less beloved work. The risky choice demonstrated that, in the right hands, Pearl Fishers can work, and work spectacularly well at that. Stage director and choreographer John de los Santos once again proved more than capable when faced with a tough assignment. His previous directorial credits for the Fort Worth Opera include a delightfully edgy Mikado in 2011, and a psychologically rich Carmen in 2010. Working on the sleek, steeply raked stage designed by Roberto Oswald, Santos understands the algebra of moving individual bodies, as well as groups of entire groups for maximum effect. He has a gift for making thirty-odd people like look hundreds. He likewise succeeded in his genuine, integrated, and impressive choreography. That’s generally missing in operatic productions in these parts, even when specifically called for in the composer’s instructions."
AMERICAN MUSICAL GUIDE:
"The 2014 season in Fort Worth opened with Bizet's Pearl Fishers, a rich score with a predictable plot that has given generations of stage directors headaches. Working with the sleek, streamlined sets designed by Robert Oswald, stage director John de los Santos wisely created an almost ballet-like production, appropriate in spirit for a 19th-Century French opera. A trained dancer himself, de los Santos kept the production lively with lavish crowd scenes and energetically choreographed dance sequences that nicely enhanced Bizet's score."
"…a thrilling and gorgeous production. This is the best work that director/choreographer John de los Santos has done to date. He doesn’t overburden the opera and lets it speak for itself."
"Director John de los Santos adds a rarely-seen dance element, and his staging of the violence technically impressive — as is the palpable sex appeal of this engaging production."