Bravo! Vancouver Presents ELIJAH—A Musical Drama

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100 Musicians perform this choral masterpiece, featuring the Bravo! Vancouver Chorale, Washington Chamber Orchestra and Conductor Maria Manzo.

About the Concert:
On Sunday, March 29 at 3:00 PM, the Bravo! Vancouver Concert Series presents ELIJAH. The concert will be conducted by Dr. Maria Manzo and features the 50-voice Bravo! Vancouver Chorale, Washington Chamber Orchestra and guest soloists. The concert takes place at Crossroads Community Church, located at 7708 NE 78th Street, Vancouver, WA 98662. Tickets are $25 for adults and $15 for kids 16 and younger, and are available online at http://www.bravoconcerts.com or at the Bravo! Vancouver Box office: 360-906-0441. Directions to Crossroads Community Church are at http://www.crossroadschurch.net.

ELIJAH will be conducted by Maria Manzo. Dr. Manzo is a Founder of Bravo! Vancouver and Music Director at The Madeleine in Portland, Oregon. Broadway baritone Douglas Webster performs the role of Elijah. Soloists include Portland singers Scot Crandal (tenor), Valery Saul (alto) and soprano Jocelyn Claire Thomas.

The Bravo! Vancouver Concert Series is Southwest Washington’s professional series featuring classical, jazz, sacred, chamber music, Broadway, pops and contemporary new music. The Concert Series season extends from December to June. Bravo! Vancouver also produces the nationally acclaimed Vancouver Wine & Jazz Festival and the Dubrovnik Jazz Festival in Dubrovnik, Croatia.

About the Music:
Composed by Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847), ELIJAH was commissioned by the Birmingham Music Festival in 1845 and was premiered at Town Hall in Birmingham, England, in August 1846. The story of the Old Testament Prophet Elijah and his triumph over the idol worshiping and hedonistic reign of Israel’s King Ahab and his wife Jezebel is one of the most dramatic and powerful Old Testament stories—and it provided Mendelssohn with an opportunity to write music on a dramatic and large scale. The music is written for a large chorus, orchestra and soloists: a big piece of music, which requires a production with a stage of nearly 100 performers. This musical style was exactly what the Victorian era British audiences loved to see and hear—similar to our current cultural fascination with arena rock concerts or Vegas style shows like Cirque de Soleil.

Mendelssohn was a deeply spiritual man—his family converted from Judaism to Christianity when he was a child—and so the story of Elijah was also an important religious statement for the composer: it blended the Jewish Old Testament story of Elijah with the prophecy of the Messiah of the New Testament. ELIJAH includes the “highlights” from the life of the Jewish prophet. Part of Mendelssohn’s drama focuses on Ahab, the king of Israel who has married Jezebel, the daughter of the king of the Phoenician city Sidon. Jezebel has introduced the worship of the false god Baal, and Ahab has begun persecuting those who remained faithful to the Lord. Elijah confronts Ahab and Jezebel—and of course the Prophet Elijah prevails. Mendelssohn’s ELIJAH is ultimately a story about maintaining faith in the face of evil, and justice prevailing over injustice.

In 1846, the thirty-eight year old composer had long been the most celebrated musician in Europe, a virtuoso performer on both piano and organ as well as a composer. By the age of seventeen, he had already written such outstanding works as the “Octet for Strings” and the “Overture to A Midsummer Night's Dream,” and his compositions were enormously popular. Like Wolfgang Mozart, Mendelssohn was a child prodigy. He made his debut as a soloist at age nine, the same year he had the first public performance of one of his compositions. Unlike Mozart, however, there was never any question of a “stage father,” like’s Mozart’s exploiting him for financial gain. Mendelssohn’s father was a successful and wealthy banker, so he did not face financial challenges like Mozart. Mendelssohn could play all of Beethoven's symphonies by heart while still a boy and it was said that he remembered every piece of music he ever heard. He could instantly play anything after hearing it once.

Mendelssohn’s ELIJAH is majestic and soaring in style, with memorable melodies and grand choruses. The music was finally completed in mid-August of 1846, just in time for Mendelssohn to conduct the premiere at the Birmingham Festival on August 26, 1846. The oratorio was an instant success. There was thunderous applause and repeated encores (this was quite unusual in Britain at that time, where oratorio performances were seen as “quasi-religious” events and generally not applauded). ELIJAH remains second only to Handel’s MESSIAH in popularity among contemporary 21st century audiences, and is performed throughout the world today as one of the great pieces of 19th century Romantic Style music for chorus and orchestra.

Concert Details and Contact Information:

  •     ELIJAH — by Felix Mendelssohn
  •     CONDUCTOR — Dr. Maria Manzo
  •     MUSICIANS — Bravo! Vancouver Chorale, Washington Chamber Orchestra, Soloists
  •     DATE — Sunday, March 29 at 3:00 PM
  •     VENUE — Crossroads Community Church
  •     ADDRESS — 7708 NE 78th Street, Vancouver, WA 98662
  •     TICKETS — $25 Adults / $15 for kids 16 and younger
  •     CONTACT — 360-906-0441 or http://www.bravoconcerts.com or tickets(at)bravoconcerts(dot)com
  •     DIRECTIONS — http://www.crossroadschurch.net or at 360-256-9711
  •     WEB — http://www.bravoconcerts.com

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Steve Vaughn

Steve Vaughn
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