With his celebration of the destiny of prophet Elijah, Mendelssohn makes his own mark in the traditional oratorio genre with great verve.
Carolyn Sampson soprano
Anna Stephany mezzo-soprano
Brenden Gunnell tenor
Roderick Williams baritone (Elias)
Masaaki Suzuki direction
Orchestra and Choir of the Age of Enlightenment
Sung in English with French subtitles
When he was composing Elias in 1846, Mendelssohn was one of the most prominent figures on the European musical scene. He was not only an exceptional pianist, organist and conductor, but also a dynamic artistic director and creator of institutions such as the Leipzig Conservatoire. Ten years earlier, he spearheaded the movement to revive Bach, giving the first “modern” performance of the St Matthew Passion in Berlin in 1836. He undoubtedly owes his taste for the oratorio genre and its mechanics to Bach and through it he expresses his true romantic sensibility tempered with the restraint of the classical style. Elias is cast in this mould. This lavish choral fresco, which has similarities with opera, is a key example of 19th century oratorio. Masaaki Suzuki, whose interpretation of Bach was widely acclaimed, is a natural heir to this legacy.
Production Théâtre des Champs-Elysées