If you’re among the people who counted on the return of Blur soon, now that Gorillaz seem to have been definitely put to bed, here’s some good news and some bad news for you. The bad news is that one of the flagship bands of Britpop will not be coming back; at least, not in the near future. The good news is that their singer will, in “ Doctor Dee”, a musical about John Dee (alchemist, spy and astronomer to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth I), which, had things not turned out differently, should have been penned by misanthropist Alan Moore. With his collaborators gone, it was down to Albarn himself to finish his “Elisabethan opera”. Set in the 16th century, the work will be premiering in July as part of the Manchester International Festival, to later be presented at the English National Opera as part of the cultural programme of the Olympic Games in London in 2012. The director of the piece, Alex Poots, says the production will be “ big and spectacular”. “ I know that Damon's passionate about it and he's already written some incredibly beautiful songs, some anthemic songs,” he adds. It seems, therefore, that there’s still work to be done.
Four years ago, Albarn was involved in the creation of “ Monkey: Journey To The West”, an event presented as a “Chinese opera”, which premiered at the same Mancunian festival. The difference with this piece is that he didn’t act in that one, but wrote the songs. This time, Damon will be on stage as well.