Gorillaz and Blur star Damon Albarn is writing the score for an opera called MONKEY: A JOURNEY TO THE WEST. The British singer-songwriter has urged fans to buy tickets for the show, insisting it will open their eyes to a side of the arts which may never have interested them before. He says, "I hope people come and see it because it might change their idea of what an opera is all about." Albarn is no stranger to the genre, having written music for opera as a child with Blur bandmate Graham Coxon. He explains, "When I was a kid, I used to write for orchestral instruments. In fact GRAHAM COXON and I entered a composing competition when we were 15. "There weren't many entries, so it's not important. But with the opera, I had to remember a lot of stuff, and I've been learning about the form and structure of operatic music. I've been making it up as I've been going along. "I had to take it to operatic companies in Paris and Germany. It's a very different world... very traditional and very contained." Monkey: A Journey To The West is a re-working of the ancient Chinese legend JOURNEY TO THE WEST, and will be staged in Manchester, northern England, as part of the Manchester International Festival this summer (07).