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April 27, 2010 - NME.com:

Damon Albarn researching 'hermetic magic and philosophy' for new opera

The Alan Moore and Jamie Hewlett venture will be about the life of John Dee

John Dee
Mathematician, astronomer, astrologer, occultist, navigator and imperialist
John Dee (more info from Wikipedia)

Damon Albarn has revealed that he is reading about "hermetic magic and catalysts and philosophy" in preparation for writing his new opera.

The joint project between Albarn, Jamie Hewlett and comic book writer Alan Moore will be about a 16th century mathematician and astronomer.

"It's based on the life of John Dee, who was a very influential force in Elizabethan Europe, especially England," Albarn told NYMag.com "He was responsible for creating the concept of the British Empire. So he affects all our lives in one way or another. He was an alchemist. It's about his life."

Despite working on the subject matter for the venture, the Blur and Gorillaz man admitted that he has "not really" been working on the musical side of the project, although has "an idea of how it's going to sound".

"This will be the first time I've stopped writing for six months," he explained. "I've just been reading about Hermetic magic and catalysts and philosophy, which is what all of his [Dee's] stuff is based on Euclid and Pythagoras and all of that stuff. It's a lot. And it's been brilliant."

Albarn and Hewlett made their operatic debut, creating 'Monkey: A Journey To The West', which debuted in 2007.

Update added June 14, 2010:

Gorillaz not set to work with Alan Moore on opera project

According to io9.com, Moore has revealed he is no longer working with Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett on the project.

"I should dash cold water on anybody's dreams of this Doctor Dee opera with Damon Albarn and Gorillaz," he said speaking at the Magus Conference in Northampton. "It didn't work out shall we say".

Going on to explain he had already "wrote a third of it", the writer added that "nobody had done anything else upon the opera" and that other commitments from both parties had decided the fate of the project.

"I decided I had too many commitments as well," Moore admitted. "And since I had never received any money or a contract, I was alright saying, "Yeah, I'm pulling out of this. You can do your own opera about Dr. Dee, I don't own Dr. Dee, I don't own the concept of opera.""

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