David James Brock

playwright, poet, librettist

David James Brock is a Canadian playwright, poet and librettist. Author of poetry collection, Everyone is CO2. Librettist for Scottish pub opera, The Sloans Project. Co-creator of Breath Cycle, an opera for cystic fibrosis.

Tap Ex: Metallurgy

 Updates coming soon. For more details on my 2015 collaboration with Tapestry New Opera, Members of Fucked Up, and composer Ivan Barbotin, visit my Press Page or the Tapestry New Opera website.


With support from Wellcome Trust, librettist David James Brock and composer Gareth Williams created Breath Cycle -- a concept community opera project for people with cystic fibrosis. Each of the songs is inspired by conversations they had with participants during the project. Together with Scottish Opera and Gartnavel General Hospital's respiratory unit, the project is also exploring the effect of learning classical singing techniques and breath control on the respiratory health of Breath Cycle participants.

A sketch by composer Gareth Williams.

A sketch by composer Gareth Williams.


The Sloans Project

Composer Gareth Williams and librettist David James Brock created this site-specific promenade opera inspired by Glasgow's oldest pub, Sloans. The audience moves through the 250-year-old pub and encounters a series of scenes telling stories of love, loss, revenge and forgiveness.

Commissioned by NOISE Opera with development support from Tapestry New Opera, The Sloans Project was recently remounted for the 2013 Edinburgh Fringe Festival at the Scottish Arts Club.

Soprano Miranda Sinani on the shoulder of baritone Paul Keohone in the Ballroom at Sloans (Glasgow, UK). Photo credit: Neil Thomas Douglas.

Soprano Miranda Sinani on the shoulder of baritone Paul Keohone in the Ballroom at Sloans (Glasgow, UK). Photo credit: Neil Thomas Douglas.


Sewing the Earthworm

Commissioned by the Canadian Art Song Project, this song cycle for solo soprano and piano was composed by Brian Harman with libretto by David James Brock. This piece explores the relationship between physical health and mental illness through the character of a woman who accidentally severs an earthworm while gardening. Mirroring a fear of her own fragmentation, she decides to attach the pieces with needle and thread to save its life. The seemingly futile attempt is compounded by her desire to prove that physical control has not abandoned her, and the piece makes a rapid shift as a mental struggle takes over.

The piece premiered in March 2012 at Canadian Opera Company’s Richard Bradshaw Auditorium in Toronto. In the summer, Sewing The Earthworm was also featured in The Bicycle Opera Project's inaugural season. In 2012, the ensemble cycled throughout Ontario to Peterborough, Port Hope, Belleville, Prince Edward County, Kingston, and Gananoque.

Soprano Carla Huhtanen and pianist Steven Philcox performing Sewing the Earthworm in the Richard Bradshaw auditorium. Photo credit: Tracy Kay.

Soprano Carla Huhtanen and pianist Steven Philcox performing Sewing the Earthworm in the Richard Bradshaw auditorium. Photo credit: Tracy Kay.

Soprano Larissa Koniuk performed Sewing the Earthworm as part of The Bicycle Opera Project's 2012 season.

Soprano Larissa Koniuk performed Sewing the Earthworm as part of The Bicycle Opera Project's 2012 season.


Pretty Boy

Commissioned by the Paul Dresher Ensemble, this electro-acoustic song cycle for solo tenor was composed by Jack Perla with libretto by David James Brock.

The six-part song cycle, which premiered at San Francisco’s Z-Space in December 2012, focused on the last minutes in the life of the American bank robber and folk-hero Charles Pretty Boy Floyd.

Screen Shot 2014-02-23 at 7.11.36 PM.png