At a panel at the University of Northampton, Alan Moore confirmed that he was no longer writing an opera about the alchemist John Dee with Gorillaz — apparently all of the writing and planning had been foisted upon Moore. Damn!
I should dash cold water on anybody's dreams of this Doctor Dee opera with Damon Albarn and Gorillaz. It didn't work out, shall we say. I wrote a third of it – I met up with them, they 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. I said, "You could do something about an alchemist [...] Dr. [John] Dee" […]
At this point I thought, "Well actually, I'm doing this new magazine, it might be handy if Gorillaz were prepared to do a little quid pro quo., I am incredibly over-committed, but I could perhaps take this on. It sounds conceptually enjoyable." And I'd be able to see whether or not I could write an opera or not, and perhaps they'd do a couple pages for the magazine. So we met up, and I said, "Perhaps I'd be able to do the libretto," without barely knowing how to spell the word, much less what it meant. I went away and started working like mad on this opera. It's pretty good, the bit that I wrote will appear in the journal Strange Attractor, in the next issue I believe. And I met with them two or three times while I was trying to get this done to their deadline.
Nobody had done anything else upon the opera. 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. And then we just got through to the point where I just met them. I said, "Yeah, I can get the other two-thirds of the opera done by February, middle of March at the latest. It will mean working flat out, but I can do it. You still alright for that deadline on Issue 3?" And they said "Yep," and it turned out they wouldn't be able to make out that Issue 3 deadline because even though we extended it for them they had too many commitments, so actually I decided I had too many commitments as well. And since I had never received any money or a contract, I was alright saying, "Yeah, I'm pulling out of this." […] I said, "You can do your own opera about Dr. Dee, I don't own Dr. Dee, I don't own the concept of opera."
The video starts at 6:17. Rassum frassum.