Damon Albarn’s heartfelt hymn to Albion was brought to life by Rufus Norris in a vivid, almost hallucinatory staging that perfectly reflected the obsessions of astrologer, alchemist, mathematician and spy Dr John Dee. With a score that knitted together Elizabethan instruments, the BBC Philharmonic and Albarn’s unmistakeable ear for melody, this was a magical evening that utterly reimagined Dee’s life, taking in five centuries of English history and the three realms of earth, heaven and hell. It was only fitting that it should premiere in Manchester, where Dee spent ten years in exile at Chetham’s Library.

‘Albarn’s take on music theatre is full of magic and enchantment… There’s a strikingly intense sparseness and modesty about this music, complemented by Norris’s richly imaginative production’ The Daily Telegraph


Commissioned by Manchester International Festival, London 2012 Festival and ENO. Produced by Manchester International Festival and ENO. With thanks to the BBC Philharmonic for their support and collaboration.

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