A collaborative performance of Mendelssohn’s Elijah will be presented free of charge Monday, Nov. 22nd at 8 p.m. in Twichell Auditorium at Converse College.
Dr. Keith Jones, Assistant Professor of Voice at Converse, will conduct the Spartanburg Festival Chorus, the Converse Symphony Orchestra, and the Concert Singers of Charleston Southern University during the performance. Anthony Offerle, an alumnus of Converse’s graduate music program, will perform the title role.
“Because of the generosity of an anonymous sponsor, we are able to present this wonderful dramatic choral work to the public free of charge,” said Dr. Joseph Hopkins, Dean of the Petrie School of Music at Converse.
Regarded by many to be the greatest oratorio of the 19th century, Elijah was first performed in 1846. An oratorio is a musical work in which a sacred or epic text is set to music in a church or concert hall setting. It differs from an opera in that it is not staged; instead, the music tells the story by presenting the text.
Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847) uses the Old Testament story of the prophet Elijah as the basis for his composition. And because Mendelssohn came from a Jewish family that had converted to Christianity, he was very familiar with the story of the prophet. Elijah was often at odds with the people of Israel and its King, and brought drought and floods to prove that there is one God. Mendelssohn’s oratorio is complete with images of fire, sacrifice, storm, earthquakes, whirlwinds and Elijah’s ascent into heaven.