Albarn, Jones back plan to make opera accessible

Associated Press

LONDON (AP) — A Python and the founder of Gorillaz are trying to help opera shed its stuffy image.

Monty Python's Terry Gilliam and Blur and Gorillaz singer Damon Albarn are supporting English National Opera's plan to entice new audience members with the promise of casual clothes, cheap tickets and cocktails.

Albarn's "Dr. Dee" was performed at the ENO earlier this year, and the company says 60 percent of audience members had never attended an opera before.

The company hopes to attract more newcomers with its "Undress for the Opera" initiative, which reassures operagoers that it's OK to show up in jeans.

Albarn hopes perceptions of opera as stuffy and expensive will change. He said Wednesday that "we're carrying into this century a lot of ideas that belong to a previous generation."

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