© Christian Palm

Mendelssohn’s oratorio about the Old Testament prophet contains a wealth of sumptuous forms and dramatic choral scenes. Following historically informed performance practice, Chorwerk Ruhr and Concerto Köln offer an innovative interpretation of this Romantic score under the direction of Florian Helgath.

About the concert

Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy Elijah Oratorium op. 70

»There shall be neither dew nor rain« is Elijah’s prophecy of disaster, accompanied by dark rumblings from the orchestra. Nevertheless, the people raise a great cry when nature revolts against a life of sin and hunger and disease invade the Earth. While Elijah succeeds in toppling the regime of the priests of Baal, he does not manage to persuade the opportunistic mass to change their ways. This Old Testament story presented Mendelssohn with a challenge: how does one compose a miracle? The solution he came up with was brilliant: rather than presenting the sound of the event itself, he showed it reflected through the overpowered reactions of those who witnessed it. As a result, tongues of flame ripple through the choral part and torrents of rain cascade through the orchestra. And then God himself appears: described by a child – very quietly. Despite its Biblical origins, the oratorio Elijah was never intended to be performed as a religious service. Its thoroughly dramatic approach makes clear: this is the time of grand opera. Under conductor Florian Helgath, Chorwerk Ruhr, Concerto Köln and an outstanding ensemble of soloists will present this opulent and gripping piece of musical history.

Adopted from the 2020 festival programme


Produced by Chorwerk Ruhr.
Transferred from the Ruhrtriennale programm 2020.

Florian Helgath on Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy's masterpiece "Elias"

Dates and tickets

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