Monkey: Journey to the West

Damon Albarn has never had a problem proving his versatility. The Blur frontman's side projects have encompassed everything from cult animators to African drummers, so it seems apt that his latest attempt at a cross-cultural balancing act culminates in a teetering tableau of spinning dishes.

Monkey: Journey to the West features music by Albarn with designs by Gorillaz collaborator Jamie Hewlett, and was conceived and directed by the Chinese opera specialist Chen Shi-Zheng. Co-commissioned by the Manchester International Festival, the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris and the Staatsoper Berlin, it's a high-octane, 90-minute rock'n'roll circus, performed in Mandarin and featuring over 50 Chinese acrobats, martial arts experts and a team of tiny contortionists so pliable they could have flown over as cabin luggage. - [The Guardian, June 2007}

Monkey: Journey to the West, created by Chen Shi-Zheng, Damon Albarn, and Jamie Hewlett will open the 2013 Lincoln Center Festival. It will have 27 performances running from July 6 - 28, which is also the span of the Festival.

The Festival also includes Sinéad O'Connor: The Gospel Sessions where the Irish singer explores the American gospel soul. That happens at Alice Tully Hall's Starr Theatre on July 26 - 27.

There's also Zorn@60, which celebrates John Zorn's 60th birthday with two concerts at Alice Tully Hall on July 18 and 20. The first night (7/18) features a female vocal quintet performing Zorn's Song of Song and his latest mystery play, The Holy Visions.The second night (7/20) features Zorn's complete string quartets performed together for the very first time.

Also at the Festival: the U.S. premiere of Karlheinz Stockhausen's Michaels Reise Um Die Erde which features German contemporary music ensemble musikFabrik (July 18 & 20 at Avery Fisher Hall); and Mongolia's Hanggai Band at Stanley H. Kaplan Penthouse on July 16.

Full program schedule and dates are here. Tickets to all Lincoln Center Festival performances are currently on sale for Friends of Lincoln Center, and the general on-sale happens April 8.

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