Tuesday, July 5, 2011

New John Dee opera

The New York Times reviews a new opera, "Dr. Dee, an English Opera," written by pop musician Damon Albarn. " Its title character, John Dee (1527-1608 or 1609), was the historical figure who was probably a model for Shakespeare’s wizard Prospero and for Christopher Marlowe’s Dr. Faustus.

Dee was a mathematician, astronomer, geographer, navigator, book collector, philosopher and proponent of empire for an expanding Britain." (Robert Anton Wilson, mentions Dee repeatedly.) The music is described as a mixture of early music and rock.C

(Also posted in slightly different form at moderntempo.com).


michael said...

MIT robotics/composer Tod Machover's first opera was based on Philip K Dick's VALIS; Machover has recently published a piece on Chomsky.

[Just a little tidbit there for your trivial enjoyment.]

Royal Academy of Reality 1132 said...

Frances Yates has written about John Dee's huge library. (I've read that Shakespeare owned between five and ten books.) (Dr. John's piece about libraries and anti-libraries made me think of Dr. Dee.)

michael said...

One of those Warburg Institute scholars - it may have been Yates - talked about the vast resources in the Warburg Library. Envy!

Colin Wilson has a massive personal library too.

I like Walter Benjamin's essay about "unpacking my books."

Terence McKenna had an amazing personal library, but most of it burned.

When I visited RAW in his Capitola apartment - the one he's in in MaybeLogic - you came in the front door, and the first door on your left was a bedroom with nothing but books, floor to ceiling. He said every time he's had to move he had to get rid of a lot of books. He recalls having so many around the house that they were in every room, and even "in the microwave."

I reget not asking him if I could check out his library.

As far as I know, his daughter sold most of his stuff; I wrote her twice asking if I could look through his library, and she wanted to tell me I could bid on eBay for his stuff. I really don't think she believes he's going to be a bigger deal in the years to come; she had the pressing needs of paying old debts, etc.