“If you can do for a living what you would do for nothing, you’re one of the lucky ones.”

- Ed Brandt (my dad)  


I am one of the lucky ones who manages to make a living as a writer. Over a long career in Edmonton, Toronto, London UK and Vancouver, I've written opera librettos, musicals, poems, short stories, cantatas, song lyrics, documentary films, speeches, radio and tv commercials, magazine articles, international marketing campaigns, wide-ranging Web content, and a number of plays that have been performed in theatres, festivals and tours across Canada.


Musical collaborations include Hannaraptor, an opera for young audiences with composer Allan Gilliland for Calgary Opera; a chamber opera The Untimely Death of Whatsisname with Allan Gilliland for Calgary Opera; Eulogies, an award-winning choral work by John Estacio set to four of my poems; as well as art songs, choral ​pieces and jazz songs with various composers.


CURRENT: My libretto for the new contemporary opera Wild Dogs is now in the fiercely talented hands of composer Anna Pidgorna. Oh, and I’ve just written a novel called A Bag of Lucky Teeth.

Wild Dogs - REVIEW

Scenes from Wild Dogs, May 24, 2017 

The Annex

Vancouver, BC


“The showpiece of the concert was an excerpt from Anna Pidgorna’s one-act chamber opera currently still in progress.” “(Standing Wave) not only played their respective instruments at a high level of performance, but also impersonated the croaking of frogs and barking of dogs. Guest soprano Carla Huhtanen takes on the role of Lily through Val Brandt’s libretto with mesmerizing effect. Ms. Pidgorna’s music might be considered esoteric for universal taste, but it is certainly compelling!”  

- John Jane for ReviewVancouver

For more about the opera and its development:


If you would like to help support the development of Wild Dogs, please go to wilddogsopera.com  


Calgary Opera has announced their third production of this popular opera by Allan Gilliland and Val Brandt, about a young girl, Hanna, who discovers a remarkable dinosaur fossil and is caught up in a life-and-death struggle to save it from forces of greed and ignorance.

A hit with young audiences in 2008 and 2013, Calgary Opera’s Emerging Artists Ensemble will perform Hannaraptor on their tour of Alberta schools February 20 - March 16, 2018.

Photo credit: Jackson Photografix