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Tuesday, November 29, 2005
Oasis set to star in Easter spectacular
Noel Gallagher RELIGION and rock have never mixed that well, but the BBC is hoping to change all that with a spectacular live televised event in Manchester this Easter.
Manchester Passion will be a huge public spectacle, with streets closed to traffic as a Good Friday procession makes its way through the city centre with the promise of music by major Manchester bands being involved in the parade behind a huge crucifix.
It's the BBC's follow-up to award-winning public opera event Flashmob that caused a stir in London and Sheffield, and will be produced by the same TV team.
TV bosses hope "major artists" will be involved in the contemporary retelling of the last few hours in the life of Jesus - and are targeting the likes of Oasis, New Order, The Hollies and ex-members of 10CC.
"It should be an amazing public spectacle," predicts outgoing BBC3 controller Stuart Murphy.
"We plan to tell the story of the crucifixion in a way that is a lot more modern. It will involve lots of crowds and an enormous cross - and, hopefully, a lot of big names."
The event, to be screened live on Good Friday evening, will mix the words of the Bible with versions of popular songs by Manchester bands from the last 30 years - perhaps the likes of Stone Roses' classic I Am The Ressurrection would be fitting.
Explained a BBC spokeswoman: "The music will be given a vibrant new twist and is performed by the characters in the drama, accompanied by a string band and well-known local musicians. It takes its inspiration from the way Bach and other composers fused music and the Passion story."
The digital channel won a Golden Rose award for Flashmob - The Opera, which staged a contemporary opera on the busy concourse at London's Paddington station in October 2004, including a 62-piece orchestra, choir of singing policemen and chorus of football fans.
A second event was staged last April at the Meadowhall shopping centre in Sheffield, involving professional performers, local schoolchildren and other members of the community.
The public will be encouraged to join the Manchester procession, which will pass through several streets before ending up in Albert Square.
BBC Commissioning Editor for Arts, Music and Religion Adam Kemp says: "We are excited by the possibility of introducing a new audience to the rich history of the Passion Plays.
"We're looking forward to involving the people of Manchester in this moving live event and hopefully encouraging them to look on familiar songs with fresh eyes."
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