John de los Santos

Librettist John de los Santos’ first collaboration with composer Clint Borzoni, When Adonis Calls, was selected for inclusion in both Opera America’s New Works Forum and Fort Worth Opera’s Frontiers showcase. It had its stage premiere under John’s direction at Asheville Lyric Opera. His second collaboration with Borzoni, The Copper Queen, was the winner of Arizona Opera’s commission initiative, Arizona SPARK. The Copper Queen premiered as an award-winning feature film in 2021. His latest libretto with Borzoni, The Christmas Spider, will premiere with The American Opera Project. In 2015, he was commissioned by Washington National Opera’s American Opera Initiative to create an original work with composer Christopher Weiss. The resulting piece, Service Provider, premiered at The Kennedy Center, and has since had over a dozen productions. Over the summer of 2020, John and composer Marc Migó were commissioned by UrbanArias to write an operatic film as part of Decameron Opera Project.

The film, The Roost, was directed by John and was recently included in the archives of the Library of Congress. John is a co-librettist for Ghosts, composed by Nicolas Reveles, and will direct the premiere at San Diego Opera in 2023. John has also collaborated with composers Robert Paterson, Tony Solitro, and Lingbo Ma. John has served as a librettist and director for The Juilliard School and Manhattan School of Music.  

As director/choreographer, John has staged the world premieres of Sweet Potato Kicks the Sun (Santa Fe Opera), Stardust (Helios Opera), Pure Country (Lyric Stage), and The Astronaut Love Show (Kraine Theater, NYC). Other productions include The Rose & the Knife, Le Comte Ory, and Otello for LoftOpera (NYC), La Cage Aux Folles for Skylight Music Theatre, La Fille du Regiment for Arizona Opera, Carousel for Ashlawn Opera, Trouble in Tahiti for Lexington Philharmonic, Frida for Opera Southwest, and Maria de Buenos Aires for San Diego and Arizona Opera. In 2015, he choreographed the world premiere of Jake Heggie and Terrence McNally’s Great Scott for the Dallas Opera. His choreography has also been seen at the Washington National, Florida Grand, Philadelphia, Des Moines Metro, Utah Festival, and Austin Lyric Opera Companies, and in the world premieres of Frau Margot and Before Night Falls at Fort Worth Opera. John then made his directing debut with the company with a 2009 production of Carmen, followed by The Mikado, The Pearl Fishers, and La Traviata. 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, La Boheme, Guys & Dolls, Brigadoon and L’Italiana in Algeri.  

Other productions include Italienisches Liederbuch for Voces Intimae, The Golden Apple for Lyric Stage, 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. 

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