Damon Albarn's 'Doctor Dee' opera proves a hit with critics

Blur and Gorillaz man due to perform at Manchester International Festival until Saturday (July 9)

Andy Willsher/NME
Pic: Andy Willsher/NME
Blur frontman Damon Albarn has been praised for his role in new opera Dr Dee, which is currently running at the Manchester International Festival.

Arts critics have warmly received the Gorillaz man's performance in the show, which tells the story of 16th century scientist John Dee.

Albarn sings ten songs in the opera from a third-level stage platform, offering a commentary on events unfolding below.

Daily Telegraph described the show as "fresh, original and heartfelt" and said it showcases Albarn's "real gift for vocal writing", scoring it 4/5.

Meanwhile, The Guardian gave the play the same mark and highlighted Albarn's "triumphant" close to the show, which sees him take centre stage for a final song.

"The frail, strained voice of Albarn works well against the vibratoless purity of fine early music singing," The Independent's review noted, also scoring the show 4/5.

Industry industry newspaper The Stage's critique argued that the opera is "rich in invention, imagery and imagination".

However, it wasn't completely positive about Albarn's performance, claiming that his "mock-conducting" during the show was 'off-putting'.

Dr Dee, which opened on July 1, will finish its Palace Theatre run on Saturday (9).

It is due to move to the home of the English Natural Opera next summer as part of the London 2012 Festival.

See mif.co.uk for more details.

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