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Damon Albarn Researches Magic for New Opera

Damon Albarn has revealed he is researching magic and philosophy for his next opera.

Blur’s frontman told New York magazine he is working with ‘Watchmen’ creator Alan Moore and Gorillaz collaborator Jamie Hewlett on a project about the life of John Dee — the 16th century mathematician and astronomer who advised Queen Elizabeth I of England.

As part of his research, Albarn said he was reading about “hermetic magic and catalysts and philosophy.” Dee taught navigation to some of the country’s top sailors involved in early voyages of exploration, but also dabbled in the supernatural and, despite being feted beyond his home country, died in poverty.

Albarn explained Dee was an influential force throughout Europe. “He was responsible for creating the concept of the British Empire,” he said. “So he affects all our lives in one way or another. He was an alchemist. It’s about his life.”

It is early days though for the follow-up to Albarn and Hewlett’s debut opera, 2007’s ‘Monkey: Journey to the West.’ The musician said he was taking time out to develop the story before he works on the music, although he explained he had “got an idea of how it’s going to sound.”

“This will be the first time I’ve stopped writing for six months,” he added — which is bad news for Blur fans hoping for more new music, following the band’s release of limited edition single ‘Fool’s Day’ on April 17 as part of Record Store Day …