David James Brock

Theatre, Opera, Poetry, Film

David James Brock is a Canadian writer of opera, theatre, poetry, and film.
Author of poetry collections Everyone is CO2 and Ten-Headed Alien.
Co-creator of Breath Cycle, an opera for cystic fibrosis.

Filtering by Category: Writing

Pandora, a New Opera Ballet

On May 23, my full length opera, Pandora, will premiere at Toronto’s Geary Lane. This opera-ballet choreographed and performed by Jennifer Nichols (and oh! Opera-ballet is really just opera with a lot of ballet in it!) is part of an experimental collaboration devised by FAWN’s Founder and Artistic Director Amanda Smith, with composers David Storen (Vancouver, BC), Joseph Glaser (Montreal, QC) and Kit Soden (Montreal, QC). The story centres around the development of a character, played by tenor Jonathan MacArthur, who stumbles upon an object and quickly gets drawn into what, and who, is inside.


This was an entirely new experience for me, knowing who I was working with before I knew what I’d be writing (and writing for three different composers). FAWN was exploring a devised creation model, and I felt a responsibility to ensure the libretti honoured the work and relationships that came out of a week long workshop process where we uncovered shared themes, stories, voices, movements, and sounds. I then went away to try and channel that exploration into the stories that have resulted in this full length opera.

The writing process can often feel solitary, but in crafting these stories with the composers, I think we all felt the energy and voices of that first week at every turn. I can now hear it radiating in the music as we begin rehearsals.

Recently, I had the chance to speak a bit about the libretti creation process that I’ve undertaken with Pandora.

For more details about Pandora, which opens May 23-25, here are the event details.

Pelee Island Book House

As usual, I'm not updating this blog enough, but I'd be remiss not to give some props over the next few week to people that have made my life fun and productive lately. The first is Dawn Kresan at Pelee Island Book House, who has started an incredible Writer's Retreat on Pelee Island (a place I'd never been to, and now, a place I'm eager to return).

Writers Dawn Kresan & Alisa York listen to a reading from Diana Leszczynski at magic hour on Pelee Island

Writers Dawn Kresan & Alisa York listen to a reading from Diana Leszczynski at magic hour on Pelee Island

I spent a week at this retreat in early May working on a number of projects (though I workshopped a section from my novel about the 1912 Detroit Tigers). I met some wonderful writers, learned a few things about bird identification, went to a birding banquet (a surreal, almost David Lynchian experience that I expect Grant Munroe will encapsulate with eloquence), drank some wine, and wrote a hell of a lot.

Margaret Atwood leads a chicken symphony...I think.

Margaret Atwood leads a chicken symphony...I think.

Thanks to the wonderful Deb Dundas for using my not-staged-at all photo for her write-up "Why writers are retreating to Windsor region" in the June 3 Toronto Star.

Lake Erie. Definitely still reading.

Lake Erie. Definitely still reading.

And please if you get the chance, attend the Pelee Island Book House. This place has the potential to be an iconic spot for writers, and Dawn has created something special here.