No, it's not in anyway related to Gorillaz (except for that bit where Jamie Hewlett does the design). Damon Albarn's operatic adaptation of Journey To The West, which had its premier at the Manchester International Festival last summer, will make its London debut at the Royal Opera House. Monkey: Journey to the West will open in Covent Garden in July as part of a celebration of the Beijing Olympics.
Chen Shi-Zheng directed and adapted the show while Albarn sorted the music and Hewlett took care of the visuals, including costumes, sets, and animation. The opera is rooted in Chinese operatic traditions with the orchestra playing a combination of Chinese and western instruments, but if you head over to Monkey's MySpace page and have a listen to the clip they've posted, you can definitely hear Albarn's influence.
No word yet on how long the engagement will be or when tickets go on sale. The performance is in Mandarin with English subtitles, so makes sure you bring your opera glasses and your Noodle action figure.
Monkey: Journey to the West opens 23 July at the Royal Opera House. For more information, visit www.monkeyjourneytothewest.com
Photo of Monkey ad from THEfunkyman's Flickrstream.