A musical genre you think you’ll hate but won’t

Rock opera. Wait, don’t panic. Granted, the idea of someone’s attempting yet again to fuse rock with some vague notion of the operatic (not rock, basically) triggers a justifiable punch-ducking, or duck-punching, reflex on our part. Why can’t rockers just stay in their expansive yards? Damon Albarn is a rocker (Blur, Gorillaz) who has created an opera (Monkey: Journey to the West), and — guess what? — it’s an embarrassment of riches.

Co-created with Chinese actor-director Chen Shi-Zheng and Albarn’s Gorillaz partner Jamie Hewlett, the extravagantly conceived show is a retelling of 16th-century China’s Monkey King tale — complete with singing, high-flying acrobatics, plate-spinning, and eye-popping video animation. If you missed the celebrated world tour, then you’ll just have to settle for the wildly eclectic, East-West-mashing score (CD available on 9/23, but you can get it on iTunes now). It’s both bananas and beautiful — especially numbers like “Heavenly Peach Banquet.” Not your granddad’s opera, Monkey may well be your grandkids’.

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A musical genre you think you’ll hate but won’t