Buies Creek, N.C.-Regarded as one of German composer Felix Mendelssohn's most brilliant works, the Campbell University Choral Society will perform the Oratorio "Elijah" on Sunday, April 18, at 4 p.m. in Butler Chapel. Admission is free and open to the public.
"Elijah" recounts the dramatic Old Testament story of the Prophet Elijah as he summons the people to righteousness, performs miracles, struggles against idol worship and confronts the wicked Queen Jezebel. At the end, Elijah rises to heaven in a fiery chariot.
An Oratorio in two parts, "Elijah"contains a total of 42 musical numbers with an introduction and an overture. Originally performed in 1846, "Elijah's" soprano role was written for world- famous singer Jenny Lind, but Lind did not perform the role until a year after Mendelssohn's death.
"The story of Elijah is powerful," says Dr. Phillip Morrow, director of Choral Activities at Campbell and conductor of this weekend's performance. "Mendelssohn certainly appreciated the dramatic potential in the story and recognized that an effective musical setting would only heighten the drama, enhance its meaning, and make the story more real. Like a good movie soundtrack, Mendelssohn's music adds power and presence to the story. The audience will recognize several melodies and themes from this work. Apart from Handel's â€˜Messiah,' â€˜Elijah' is probably the most beloved oratorio from the choral repertoire."
Featured performers include Sally Thomas, soprano; Susan Morrow, mezzo-soprano; John Daniecki, tenor; Thomas Lopez, as the young Elijah, and John Blizzard as Elijah.
A second performance of "Elijah" is set for Sunday, May 2, at 6:30 p.m. at Snyder Memorial Baptist Church in Fayetteville, N.C. As part of the church's 2009-10 concert series, the May 2 performance will feature Sara Barefoot and Faith Dickens singing the soprano arias and Larry Dickens on the podium.