The Tumbler of God (1981) is a full-length, three act opera, the music written by Steven Block and the libretto by Stephanie Block. The opera was written in a year when Block was awarded the Andrew Mellon Fellowship, the opera being a portion of the dissertation along with Block's analytical thesis paper on the opera (which can be taken out from the University of Pittsburgh library). The opera is loosely based on a legendary story that has been told by many artists from Jules Massenet (Le Jongleur de Notre Dame) to children's author Tomie DePaola (The Clown of God). At the opening of the opera, the protagonist Stefano is a novice monk who is dissatisfied with what he perceives to be an inactive contemplative life, immersed in poverty. The opera follows his life as he becomes a street performer, gains fame, and through his experience returns to the wisdom, in his old age of spiritual poverty and redemption. The libretto and opening pages of the score can be read below:

The Prelude and opening of the first scene of The Tumbler of God: