Neil Hannon's musical, Swallows and Amazons, is heading to the West End and he's also working on a new opera which will open in Covent Garden.

Speaking to RTÉ TEN, Hannon spoke about participating in RTÉ's Big Music Week today, when he performed live with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra on The Ronan Collins Show: "My good friend Catherine Davey was doing it last year for The Ronan Collins Show and I came along to have a listen and I was so jealous. I just thought you get to pick a standard and sing it with a wonderful orchestra and I said I’ll do that next year, and here I am."

Another singer who performed on the show was Fight Like Apes', May Kay, who is a big fan of his: "I’ve been a huge fan of Neil Hannon and pretty much everything he’s been involved.

"Its such a rare treat seeing someone you admire in a rehearsal setting and seeing what way he likes to work with things and what things he’d change about arrangements."

It seems the feelings are mutual as Hannon also spoke highly of May Kay: "I’m a fan of hers, she’s got the most amazing voice, it’s kind of wonderfully husky and very powerful. It’s fantastic, I think she should branch out into jazz."

Hannon also told us about his two exciting upcoming projects:
"I seem to be, very busy but not making records. The musical I wrote a few years ago which went on in Bristol last year, Swallows and Amazons, is going to the West End this Christmas and I’ve been ordered to write another song for the second half.

"I’m also writing a short opera for the Royal Opera House which goes out in a series they do every Spring called Opera Shots, where they get odd people to write short operas: that’s me! It turns out that its quite hard, opera writing, and I’ve no idea what I’m doing but it’s fun.You’ll all have to get over to Covent Garden in the spring."

Following the success of his opera last year, Monkey: Journey to the West, Damon Albarn is planning a musical adaptation of Blur's album, The Great Escape. Is that something Neil would consider?
"I’m a huge fan of Damon’s. I think he’s a great writer but I didn’t see the musical, sadly, because I heard it was really good: Monkey wasn’t it?

"Although I’ve personally always shied away from taking past albums – I’ve been asked whether people could make a musical from certain albums and I’ve always said 'No because I feel it’s a bit wrong. '

"You wrote these songs to stand alone, if you want to write a musical, you go and write a musical because then you can get the songs to do certain jobs within the flow of the piece. So, no, I’m not a fan of the back catalogue musicals of which there are far too many."