As you may recall, Blur/Gorillaz mastermind Damon Albarn wrote and recorded the score to a new opera last year called Dr. Dee, which is about the life of John Dee, a mathematician, alchemist, philosopher and advisor to Elizabeth I. The first taste of the set, "The Marvelous Dream," just dropped online, and thankfully it seems Albarn's definition of "opera" is fairly similar to "acoustic solo song." Nope, no fat women singing here. Listen above. 

"The Marvelous Dream" is a somber acoustic fare with subtle, melancholy strings (courtesy of the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra), woodwinds and backing vocals, and some unexpected tempo changes; Albarn goes from slow talk-singing about god fire-shooting tornadoes over London to rap-singing about boozing it up on the holidays. It's a gorgeous little ditty and hopefully a window into that long-awaited proper solo debut of his that's currently in the works. 

If you like what you hear, Albarn will perform Dr. Dee songs at OneFest in the UK on April 14, and this summer during the Olympic Games the English National Opera will show performances of Dr. Dee at the London Coliseum. 

Albarn is also (does the dude stop?) recording Blur's reunion album, recording with Flea as Rocket Juice and the Moon and helping with Bobby Womack (who sang on the last Gorillaz LP) on his next release. Yowza.

Like "The Marvelous Dream"? Tell us what you think in the comment section below.