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Celestial Voices

mighty oratorio
Mendelssohn masterwork
Date Sat 17 May Venue Sydney Opera House
Duration 2hrs 45mins (incl. 20-min interval)

Mendelssohn's great masterpiece in the English oratorio tradition. Brought alive for the 21st century. Heavenly.

When Mendelssohn's Elijah was premiered in Birmingham in 1846 it was bigger than Ben Hur. There were a hundred musicians in the orchestra; four hundred or so in the choir! Can we beat that? With Paul McCreesh on hand to re-create this amazing event, we think we can.

With its Old Testament story (earthquake, fire, and the "still small voice") and its massive choral conception, Elijah is Mendelssohn's take on the English oratorios of Handel. In the more reflective moments you can also hear the influence of Bach. And the result is a picture of a 'grand and mighty prophet…borne on the wings of angels'.

Please note that these performances will be finishing at approx 10:45pm

Pre-concert talk by David Garrett at 7.15pm in the Northern Foyer


Recording used by kind permission of Paul McCreesh and Signum UK


Track 1 - Elijah: Aria 'If with all your hearts'
Track 2 - Elijah: Aria 'O rest in the Lord'
Track 3 - Elijah: Chorus 'Help, Lord'
Track 4 - Elijah: Chorus 'Thanks be to God'

Sarah Connolly, mezzo-soprano; Robert Murray, tenor; Gabrieli Consort and Players, Wroclaw Philharmonic Choir and the Gabrieli Young Singers Scheme conducted by Paul McCreesh


  • Sung in English, in a recreation of the 1846 premiere
  • Paul McCreesh conductor
  • Gillian Webster* soprano
  • Deborah Humble mezzo-soprano
  • Thomas Walker tenor
  • Andrew Foster-Williams bass-baritone
  • Sydney Philharmonia Choirs
  • Conservatorium High School Choir

*We regret that Rosemary Joshua has unfortunately had to withdraw from the planned concerts with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.

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