Following the success of Damon Albarn’s Monkey: Journey to the West, ENO presents the London premiere of Albarn’s visionary new opera Dr Dee.
Although largely unknown today, Doctor Dee was the quintessential Renaissance Man. From astrology to alchemy and physics to philosophy, his thirst for knowledge was insatiable and, as a key advisor to Elizabeth I, he is credited with providing much of the intelligence which shaped ‘the British Empire’ established under her rule. Dee also dabbled in the occult and, ultimately, this fascination destroyed him. Conned by deranged medium, Dee’s career ended in disgrace and sexual scandal and he died discredited and penniless.
This fascinating figure is bought to life by the extraordinary talents of composer and musician Damon Albarn, and director Rufus Norris. Albarn’s music is an ingenious mix of pop vocals, much of which he will perform live on-stage, with contemporary orchestral music played on 16th-century period instruments. Rufus Norris’s staging presents five centuries of English history and the three realms of earth, heaven and hell, with the virtuosic flare which has secured him a raft of awards and five-star reviews from London to Broadway.
Reviews of Dr Dee’s 2011 staging at the Manchester International Festival:
‘Fresh, original and heartfelt... I was entranced’
The Daily Telegraph
‘A thoroughly beguiling spectacle… deserves a gold medal for sheer imagination and invention’
‘A breathtaking spectacle... rich in invention, imagery and imagination’