Published Jun 14, 2010Back in the fall, we reported that cartoon pop band Gorillaz were teaming up with graphic novelist Alan Moore on an opera about eccentric British scientist/occultist John Dee. We've heard little about the project since, likely due to the fact that Gorillaz have been busy promoting their much-loved third album, Plastic Beach. Given this extended period of silence, it's not too much of a surprise to learn that Moore has now dropped out of the project.
As TwentyFourBit points out, while the V for Vendetta/Watchmen/From Hell author spoke on a panel at the University of Northampton, he said, "I should dash cold water on anybody's dreams of this Dr. Dee opera with Damon Albarn and Gorillaz. It didn't work out, shall we say."
He went on to explain that he had finished a third of the libretto (opera jargon for lyrics), but pulled out due to Gorillaz's inability to meet deadlines. The group had previously agreed to contribute to Moore's Dodgem Logic zine, but when this never happened, Moore began second-guessing his collaborators.
"Nobody had done anything else upon the opera," he said. "I hadn't received a contract, and 'libretto' was expanded to mean 'designing the stage,' 'making suggestions for all the costumes,' 'stage directions,' 'the whole story,' so that was practically like everything."
The frustrated writer quit the project a few months ago. Still, those hoping for a Gorillaz opera about John Dee may not be entirely out of luck. Moore told the band, "You can do your own opera about Dr. Dee, I don't own Dr. Dee, I don't own the concept of opera."
You can hear Moore comments on the failed collaboration in the embedded video below.
Moore's unfinished libretto will be published in an upcoming issue of the British journal Strange Attractor. According to the author himself, "it's pretty good."