Thursday, March 21, 2013 – 7:30 PM
Friday, March 22, 2013 – 7:30 PM
Moorings Presbyterian Church
Tickets: $30, $65, $100
From the opening declamation by Elijah to the thundering conclusion by the chorus, this masterpiece by Felix Mendelsohn has been in demand since its premiere in 1846. These performances will continue Opera Naples’ commitment to collaborative partnerships, as the Company’s resident chorus will be joined by members of the Florida Gulf Coast University Choir in this semi-staged production.
Singing the title role will be Stephen Morscheck in his Opera Naples debut. Mr. Morscheck has performed with Lyric Opera Baltimore and Florida Grand Opera, and has been praised for his “gorgeous bass” (Kansas City Star). He is joined by Opera Naples Founding Artistic Director and soprano Steffanie Pearce, and tenor Kirk Dougherty as additional soloists. Former Artistic Driector and Principal Conductor of the Florida Grand Opera, Willie Anthony Waters, leads the Opera Naples Orchestra.
|Alto Soloist||Jessica Griggs|
|Soprano Soloist||Steffanie Pearce|
Prior to the overture, the work opens with a proclamation by Elijah: God’s curse is that there shall be no dew or rain for years; the ensuing Overture depicts the years of drought and leads without a break into the first chorus.
The people lament God’s punishment. Obadiah calls on the people to repent, and the people continue to bewail their fate. An angel tells Elijah that as Cherith’s brook is dried up he should depart for Zarapath. He meets a widow whose son is dead; Elijah calls upon God to restore him to life. A chorus expresses the blessings of God. Elijah calls upon God to send rain, but is accused by Ahab of troubling Israel. Elijah tells the priests of Baal to make a sacrifice to see whose God is Lord. The people in growing desperation call upon Baal, but there is silence. Elijah meanwhile prays to God and fire descends from heaven. Elijah has the priests of Baal put to the sword. Elijah again calls on God to open the heavens and send rain. A youth is sent to watch out to sea. Eventually, a cloud the size of a man’s hand is seen and the waters rush over the earth to a great chorus of praise.
The oratorio continues with a soprano aria which ends with the words “Be not afraid,” and this refrain is repeated by the chorus. Elijah confronts Ahab again, but comes up against the opposition of Queen Jezebel who incites the people to violence against Elijah. Obadiah counsels Elijah to depart for the wilderness where Elijah falls asleep in despair beneath a juniper tree. Angels appear and remind him that God is always watching over Israel. The angel tells him to go on a long journey of forty nights to Horeb, the mountain of God. The chorus reminds him that “He that shall endure to the end shall be saved” and another angel tells Elijah that God’s glory will appear to him if he stands on the mountain. Elijah realizes that the mountains and hills shall fall, but God’s kindness will remain, and he is taken up to heaven in a whirlwind by fiery horses in fiery chariots. The Tenor sings that the righteous shall shine forth as the sun and the chorus of people add a final hymn of praise.