This one's kind of a bummer... especially since I heard the good and bad news all in one shot. The good news WAS that comic book legend Alan Moore (Watchmen) had been working with Damon Albarn's animated (literally) pop unit Gorillaz on a rock opera based on the life of legendary alchemist John Dee... and the bad news is that Moore has officially walked from the project. Below the jump we've got more details on the dream that could have been, and Moore's explanation for leaving...
According to a recent article at io9, Moore confirmed to a panel at the University of Northampton that that he would be leaving the opera after getting about a third of the way along.
“It didn't work out, shall we say,” Moore explained. “They [Gorillaz] were very anxious that I should do something with them, and they suggested a superhero opera. I said, 'Well, I'm definitely not your man, I don't want anything to do with those wretched creatures once again'... I said I suppose you could do an opera about magic, and if you were going to do an opera about magic, it would have to be alchemy, as opera actually springs out of alchemy.”
They decided to focus on 16th century intellectual Dr. John Dee – one of history's most acclaimed hermetic practitioners, whose name has been referenced in the works of H.P. Lovecraft (as the English translator of the Necronomicon), and who may have been the inspiration for the character Prospero in Shakespeare's The Tempest.
The over-booked Moore claims he soon found his role expanding from writing the libretto (the story and lyrics, basically) to carrying all the creative weight for the production, including designing the sets, costumes, and so on. “Nobody had done anything else,” he continued. “Since I had never received any money or a contract, I was alright saying 'Yeah, I'm pulling out of this... You can do your own opera.'”
It wasn't all a lost cause, apparently: Moore said the nearly completed first third is “pretty good... the bit that I wrote will appear in the journal Strange Attractor, in the next issue, I believe.”