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).

4 comments:

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.]

Eric Wagner 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.

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