Damon Albarn to perform from 'the gods' in Doctor Dee opera

Gorillaz man reveals further details of the show ahead of its Manchester debut this Friday

Andy Willsher/NME
Pic: Andy Willsher/NME
Blur and Gorillaz frontman Damon Albarn has revealed that he will perform his songs in new opera Doctor Dee on a third level above the stage, as commentary on the events below.

Albarn, who is set to sing 10 solo songs in the show, revealed further details about the show ahead of its debut.

"The action will take place on three levels, representing different spheres of existence," he told The Daily Telegraph. "Down in the pit of hell, the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra plays. On stage is the earth, where Dee will be impersonated by that brilliant actor Bertie Carvel, he doesn’t sing, and he doesn't say much, he's too busy thinking and reading."

Albarn added that he would sit on a balcony in the gods and perform his numbers there. "There's no reason why someone else shouldn't sing these songs, but at the moment I'm planning to appear at all the performances," he added. "I want to be directly involved: the songs are very personal, they come from the heart."

Teaser trailers for Doctor Dee have surfaced online. The two short clips feature cast members rehearsing and Albarn singing. The opera is due to start at the Manchester Palace Theatre tomorrow (July 1). Watch the footage by scrolling down and clicking below.

The opera, which details the life of 16th century scientist John Dee, will be performed as part of the Manchester International Festival on the 2, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 too.

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