The massed forces of the School Choirs & Choral Society, numbering more than 100 singers will present Felix Mendelssohn’s epic oratorio ‘Elijah’ at St James’s Church, Sussex Gardens on Saturday 29th April. Save the date! We are delighted that Old Oratorian opera singers, baritone Patrick Alexander Keefe, and tenor Aidan Coburn (both regulars in major UK opera companies) will be returning to perform the lead roles alongside our own pupils, with professional orchestra.
At the time of its first performances in 1846, Elijah was hailed as one of the great oratorios, alongside Handel’s Messiah. It tells the story of the Old Testament prophet with imposing grandeur, inspirational orchestration (including thundering organ), and beautiful arias, recitatives and choruses.
The story follows the character of Elijah through a sequence of dramatic episodes, including a contest of the gods, in which increasingly frantic cries of Baal-worshipers (sung by a hysterical chorus) fail, and the God Jehovah consumes an offered sacrifice in a column of fire. Part I is concluded by the bringing of a rushing torrent of rain to the parched land of Israel through Elijah’s prayers. Part II depicts the prosecution of Elijah by Queen Jezebel, his retirement to the desert, and his ascension on a fiery chariot into heaven.