January 7, 2012

Damon Albarn's new album "Dr Dee" OUT NOW!

Dr Dee, Damon Albarn's new opera features brilliant music from the frontman, and the soundtrack is now officially ready for pre-order online in Amazon (click to go to page) ! It's a 1 disc CD by Parlophone and it features a very ethereal Albarn in black and white :

Buy Now!


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July 6, 2011

Doctor Dee - Manchester International Festival 2011 - Review

It's time for a review! Since I have no chance of seeing Doctor Dee live, I will present to you the first proper review, by The Guardian, on Doctor Dee -  Damon Albarn's opera, which premiered last Friday night at the Manchester International Festival 2011.

 4/5 stars

It is perhaps as much a disservice to call the 16th century alchemist and astrologer John Dee a Renaissance man as it is to refer to Damon Albarn as the former frontman of Blur. Neither scratches the surface of their achievements.
Dee was an occultist, hermetic and spiritual advisor to Elizabeth I who appointed the Queen's coronation day through the alignment of the planets.
A world famous scholar who dabbled in the undefined area between science and sorcery, he was reputed to be the model for Marlowe's Dr Faustus and Shakespeare's Prospero. And by applying Euclidean principles to navigation, he laid the visionary blueprint for the British empire.
Now latter-day polymath Albarn has created an opera based on the life of this mysterious philosopher. The pairing seems irresistible: an inscrutable but undeniably beautiful meditation on Englishness inspired by the man who coined the term "Britannia" and written by a musician who made it cool.
Dr Dee is an erudite affair, inspired by the philosopher's exile to Manchester in the 1580s, where he founded the English speaking world's first public library. It's extraordinary to think that whereas Albarn has been bringing himself up to speed with concepts of hermeticism, Euclidian geometry and Rosicrucianism, his erstwhile Britpop rival Liam Gallagher has formed Beady Eye.
Damon Albarn performs on the preview night of the opera 'Dr Dee' at Manchester Palace Theatre. Photograph: Shirlaine Forrest/WireImage
Even so, Dr Dee is by no means an opera in the conventional sense. Instead director Rufus Norris lays on a sumptuous array of scenes and tableaux that draw upon the lavish stage mechanics of an Elizabethan masque. If there's a parallel to be drawn it might be with Berlioz's similarly grandiose "dramatic legend" the Damnation of Faust.
You suspect that the main reason Albarn creates a sound-world combining kora, theorbo, and Afrobeat drummer Tony Allen is because he can. More contentious is his decision to cast himself as a kind of troubadour-narrator, as it slightly negates the dramatic function of Bertie Carvel's Dr Dee, whose role becomes largely mute.
Yet there is genuine dramatic frisson delivered by the ice-cold counter-tenor of Christopher Robson as Edward Kelley, the psychic or "scryer" who became Dee's ultimate undoing.
Dee commissioned Kelley to commune with the angels; the angels apparently suggested that Kelley be allowed to sleep with the Doctor's wife.
Albarn's opera can seem obscure and sometimes wilfully perverse. But it reaches to the heart of the tragedy of an overreaching intellect destroyed by a deal with a second-rate Mephistopheles. Dee was haunted by his shortcomings: "You know I cannot see, nor scry" he lamented.
Yet for Albarn, who ends the evening triumphantly aloft against a panorama of the cosmos, the scry's the limit.
Pretty good review, in fact it's EXCELLENT. Damon's reached a whole new level with his opera performing, and I can't wait for footage of it to surface, or perhaps there'll be a soundtrack album like Monkey Journey to the West. 
You must watch Damon Albarn talk about Doctor Dee in the video below. He discusses his opera (mistakenly named "Dr. John Dee" in The Guardian's website ! ) ahead of it's premier on Friday Night in Machester International Festival. 

Enjoy! And I would like to announce BlurBalls reached a GOOGLE PAGERANK of 3/10. What an achievement! I'm chuffed! All thanks to you guys who link back, tweet and support.

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May 31, 2011

Damon Albarn - Doctor Dee Opera 2011 UPDATE

Doctor Dee Opera

Damon Albarn's new opera Doctor Dee has received some press from a double page spread in the 28th May GUARDIAN newspaper, on the guide to Manchester International Festival. 

Quoted from the article, Damon Albarn's new show is a 'modern English opera' directed by Rufus Norris, about Elizabethan thinker and magician John Dee. In Doctor Dee, Damon Albarn will appear as himself, rather than in character, performing with legendary afrobeat drummer (and bandmate in The Good, The Bad and The Queen) Tony Allen. The BBC Philharmonic will be in the pit. There will also be Elizabethan instruments and some ritualistic elements, will be primal, about the life, ambition and belief of John Dee.

Read the whole article by clicking below, thanks damon4president and 2J for the scans.

March 20, 2011

Damon Albarn's new opera 2011 - Doctor Dee

Damon Albarn has written and will star in a stage show about 16th Century alchemist, astrologer and spy John Dee.
A musical work based on Elizabeth I's medical and scientific adviser, Doctor Dee will have its premiere in July at the Manchester International Festival.
It will then be staged at the home of the English National Opera as part of London's Cultural Olympiad programme.
The Manchester festival will also feature the debut of Bjork's new show during a three-week residency.
Other original productions will be created for the event by immersive theatre company Punchdrunk, film-makers The Quay Brothers, comedian Victoria Wood and performance artist Marina Abramovic.
Manchester International Festival director Alex Poots said the event, which started in 2007 and takes place every two years, was "a home for major artists to realise their most ambitious projects".
Albarn's Chinese opera Monkey: Journey To The West was a highlight of the first Manchester International Festival four years ago and the Blur and Gorillaz singer will present his next production at the city's Palace Theatre.
Albarn did not appear in Monkey but will perform in Doctor Dee.
The show has been co-produced by the English National Opera and the London 2012 Festival and will be staged at the London Coliseum next year.
It will be directed by Rufus Norris, who staged Don Giovanni at the ENO last year and whose Broadway revival of Les Liaisons Dangereuses was nominated for five Tony Awards in 2008.
"It will be a big, spectacular show," Mr Poots said. "I know that Damon's passionate about it and he's already written some incredibly beautiful songs, some anthemic songs."
Bjork will launch the Manchester International Festival on 30 June with a show based on her new album Biophilia.
The project combines her interests in music, science and nature and is billed as a "multi-media project encompassing music, apps, internet, installations and live shows".
There will be an app for each song and the singer has invented a range of new instruments for the shows, including a 30-foot (nine-metre) pendulum that harnesses the earth's gravitational pull to create musical patterns.
She will perform six times over three weeks at the Campfield Market Hall.
Punchdrunk will return after creating the acclaimed theatrical experience It Felt Like A Kiss with Damon Albarn at the last festival. Their new show, The Crash of the Elysium, will be the company's first for children.
Elsewhere, the Quay Brothers, celebrated for their dark, disjointed films and animations, will team up with Russian-born violinist Alina Ibragimova to stage chamber music in a promenade setting.
Amadou & Mariam
Amadou & Mariam will play a show in total darkness
Amadou and Mariam, a blind musical duo from Mali, will attempt to stage the world's first concert in total darkness, while comedian Johnny Vegas will present a new theatre show.
Victoria Wood is writing and directing That Day We Sang, about the 1920s Manchester Children's Choir, which will open at the Manchester Opera House.
'Artistic powerhouse'
Hollywood actor Willem Dafoe is to star in The Life and Death of Marina Abramovic alongside the Serbian-born performance artist. The production will feature music written and performed by Antony Hegarty from the Mercury-prize winning Antony and The Johnsons.
The festival will also involve rapper Snoop Dogg, singer Sinead O'Connor, artist John Gerrard, the Halle Orchestra and French composer Mark Andre.
Manchester City Council's executive member for culture and leisure, Councillor Mike Amesbury, said the festival "makes a massive contribution to the cultural offering of our great city and has helped establish us on the world stage as a leading artistic powerhouse".