Springer opera stars' catheral date

PERFORMERS who starred in a controversial opera criticised for its strong language and “blasphemous” scenes are to join a special tsunami relief concert at a cathedral, it has emerged.

By Roddy Ashworth

PERFORMERS who starred in a controversial opera criticised for its strong language and “blasphemous” scenes are to join a special tsunami relief concert at a cathedral, it has emerged.

It has prompted the Bishop of Chelmsford to reassure his flock that singers giving their time for the recital the town's cathedral will only perform material suitable for a church building.

The announcement came after it emerged some of the volunteer performers joining the concert had appeared in the controversial show Jerry Springer - The Opera.


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A recent television broadcast of the musical generated more than 15,000 complaints by Christians and led to some BBC executives being threatened by extremists. The complaints centred on the high level of swearing and scenes deemed to be blasphemous.

David Bedella, due to sing at the cathedral's January 23 concert, won last year's Olivier award for the Best Actor in a Musical in recognition of his performance in Jerry Springer - The Opera, while Ben Lake won Best Newcomer for the same show.

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Other West End stars are set to appear at the charity performance, called A New World, as well as singers from the Royal Opera House.

A statement issued on behalf of the Right Rev John Gladwin, Bishop of Chelmsford, stressed that nothing unsuitable would be sung at the cathedral benefit concert.

“The concert, which will take place in Chelmsford Cathedral on January 23, is an initiative to raise funds for the victims of the tsunami in South East Asia,” he said.

“We are delighted that the performers from the West End have given their time to perform at this concert, at which we hope to raise a significant amount of money for the appeal.

“Although some of the artistes who will be performing in the Cathedral have recently appeared in the production of Jerry Springer - The Opera, the music that will be performed on January 23 will all be appropriate for performance in a church building.

“We very much hope that the focus of the evening will be our aim of raising funds for the victims of disaster, an aim which transcends religious beliefs and boundaries.”

Tickets for the charity show, which begins at 7.30pm, are available from the Chelmsford Diocesan Office in New Street (01245 294400) and Dace's music shop in Moulsham Street, Chelmsford.

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