Omega and Alpha / The Music

Omega & Alpha is a fusion of sacred music and the highly descriptive style found in musical theatre, offering a fresh rendition of the Passion of Christ.

It uses modern techniques such as free movement between keys and time signatures without losing the essential thread of memorable melodies and thought-provoking lyrics. There is substantial interaction between the soloists and the choir resulting in an exciting and fresh version of the Easter story.

The vocal parts have been written such that choirs of all abilities can approach the work with confidence. The harmonies are complex but entirely singable and the instrumental parts are challenging but equally playable.

Both the performers and the audience alike will be captivated by the pace of the piece and be moved by the emotions of the characters.

“The Predicament of Jesus” hints of Lloyd-Webber at his best. In “The Climb to Golgotha” the tension between words and music moved me to tears”

Penelope Deacon- Frost Magazine

Synopsis

 

ACT I

Scene 1

The prologue (1 Prologue) asks the questions “Do we recognise significant events when they happen?” and “Is the present the point when the past and the future meet?” The recognition of the Messiah was prophesised in the Old Testament (2 The Prophecy), but begs the question, “If the Messiah did arrive, would we accept him, and what would he need to do to convince us?” Jesus deliberately plans to arrive at Jerusalem (3 Preparation) in the manner described in the prophecy. This arrival was bound to come to the attention of the High Priest, Caiaphas. It would have been seen as a deliberate provocation and a threat to the religious establishment. Caiaphas reacts to Jesus’ entrance to Jerusalem (4 The Pharisees Object) as anticipated, and the unstoppable events start to unfold. Jesus still has doubts about the best way to proceed (5 The Predicament of Jesus) and the course of action that will help his followers to understand what will happen, and why he is embarking on an apparent path of self-destruction.

Scene 2

Jesus and his followers gather for the Feast of the Passover, (6 The Passover) and during the meal Jesus shocks the disciples by telling them that Peter will deny him three times and one of them will betray him to the authorities. The disciples react in horror, especially Judas who at that point realises that Jesus is fully aware that he will be the betrayer, and is doing nothing to stop him. (7 The Dilemma of Judas). The meal finishes with the consumption of the bread and wine (8 The Last Supper) where Jesus is telling the disciples that he knows that he will shortly die. Finally, Jesus teaches Peter about the true relationship between the Lord, master and the servant (9 The Purification) by washing his feet.

Scene 3

After the feast is over, Jesus and the disciples go to the Garden of Gethsemane to rest (10 The Garden of Gethsemane) and Judas leads the soldiers into the garden to arrest Jesus. The disciples want to defend Jesus but he is arrested.

Scene 4

Jesus is taken to Herod for trial. (11 The Trial) During the hearing, Jesus will not give a straight answer to Herod’s questioning, and the crowd, encouraged by Caiaphas start to get angry and see Jesus as being blasphemous. Herod is not empowered to give a verdict that will quell the angry mob so he sends Jesus to Pilate, the Roman Governor.

Scene 5

Peter has seen the mood of the city turn ugly, and when some ladies recognise him, he denies three times that he knows Jesus. (12 The Denial). Judas meanwhile starts to recognise the enormity of his betrayal actions and tries unsuccessfully to return the 30 pieces of silver that the Pharisees had paid him for betraying Jesus. He finally realises that he cannot live with the consequences of his actions. (13 The Death of Judas)

Scene 6

The next day Jesus is taken to Pilate, (14 Pilate) and the Pharisees ensure that the mood of the mob is still angry. Pilate questions Jesus but can find no justification for punishment. However, he recognises that there is potential for major rioting if he does not satisfy the mob. Eventually he panders to the angry shouting and sentences Jesus to scourging followed by crucifixion. Mary tries to understand (15 Reflection) what is happening to Jesus and why he has embarked on a course of apparent self-destruction.

Scene 7

Jesus is taken for scourging and then climbs the hill to Golgotha. (16 The Scourging and 17 The Climb to Golgotha) Throughout these ordeals the crowd is mocking Jesus.

Scene 8

Jesus is nailed to the cross for crucifixion (18 The Crucifixion) alongside two malefactors. They try to persuade Jesus to ask God to spare his life. Jesus is crucified and his body is taken to a prepared tomb for three days.

ACT II

Entracte (18a The Second day)

Scene 1

After the Sabbath Mary and Peter return to the tomb (19 The Resurrection) to find that the body is not there and she is told by a host of angels that Jesus has been resurrected from the dead. (NOTE The shorter version ends here) She finds this difficult to believe. They finally realise that the body of Jesus is not there (20 The Realisation) and assume that the soldiers who were guarding the grave must have removed him. Peter leaves Mary to her grief and she is again visited by the angels (21 Why weepest thou?) Mary see who she thinks is a gardener and asked whether he had moved the body. The gardener reveals himself as the risen Christ. Mary and Jesus affirm that they will always be there to comfort each other in their distress (22 I’ll be there).

Scene 2

Meanwhile the news of the missing body is taken to Caiaphas (23 The reaction of Caiaphas) who at first refuses to believe the story, especially as he had ordered guards to watch the grave. When he is assured that the guards had fulfilled their duty but the body had still vanished, he begins to realise that Jesus had been whom he had said. Caiaphas ordered that the news of the disappearance be suppressed but secretly recognised the enormity of the event.

Scene 3

Mary returns to the disciples and tells them of the news that Jesus has been resurrected (24 Spreading the word) much to their disbelief. However a group of travellers from within the disciples also told of a stranger that they had met on the road to Emmaus (24 The Road to Emmaus) but only after he had parted company with them had they realised who he was. Whilst the disciples were talking of the sightings Jesus come amongst them (26 Peace be unto you). Shortly afterwards the disciples were discussing what had happened Thomas arrived and would not believe what they were telling him. (27 The doubt) His doubt was dispelled when Jesus once again appeared.

Scene 4

The disciples returned to work to catch fish in the nearby Sea of Galilee (28 The Sea of Galilee). After some fruitless attempts to catch fish a stranger on the shore told them where to find the fish. They came to the shore to make a meal and when the stranger blessed the food in the same manner as during the Last Supper they all recognised him as Jesus.Jesus tells them to prepare for the future. They would have to spread the word of God without him. (29 The Omega) After this instruction Jesus ascended to heaven to be at the right hand of God.

Scene 5

The disciples return to Jerusalem where they were blessed by the power of God (30 The Alpha) The gift of understanding was bestowed on them to transcend the difference of language. The story asks, “What would have to happen for you to believe in the power of God?