VBC to Perform Mendelssohn's ELIJAH at Orpheum, 3/28

Vancouver Bach Choir concludes its successful 2014/15 season with Felix Mendelssohn's epic oratorio Elijah, on Saturday, March 28 at 8pm at the Orpheum Theatre. Gathered under the baton of Music Director Leslie Dala, the choir will be accompanied by the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and four outstanding Canadian guest soloists for this magnificent work - composed in the spirit of Baroque greats Bach and Handel.

"Elijah is deemed, along with Handel's Messiah, to be one of the most spectacular large-scale choral works ever composed," said Leslie Dala, conductor and Music Director, Vancouver Bach Choir. "It demands technical brilliance in every aspect: from the precision required of the soloists in all four arias, to the magnitude of skill and cooperation from the orchestra, as well as the volume of voices to bring the choruses to full and powerful fruition."

The oratorio premiered in 1846 in Birmingham, England, where it was an instant triumph, and conducted by Mendelssohn himself, who would pass away the following year at the young age of 38. The extraordinary work depicts the life of the Biblical prophet Elijah, whose spirit is tested by a plethora of natural disasters including floods, earthquakes and droughts. In addition to death, sacrifice, and questions of his own faith, the prophet is gently guided by the God of the Old Testament to ultimately regain prosperity for the citizens of Israel, find peace within himself, and, in a stunning finale, ascend to heaven by fiery chariot.

The drama of these cataclysmic scenes, exemplary of the era's romanticism, is perfectly conveyed by the magnificence and grandeur of the music. Mendelssohn's composition is ripe with exquisite melodies, contemplative recitatives, and stirring choruses.

Performing the title role is British-Canadian baritone Giles Tomkins, frequently lauded for his meticulous characterisation and rich, resonant voice. He adds this character to his sizeable repertoire of prestigious operatic roles such as Colline in La Boheme with Manitoba Opera, Christus in Toronto Bach Consort's St John Passion and the Sergeant of Police in The Pirates of Penzance for Vancouver Opera. Tomkins has also performed and toured with numerous high-profile national companies and made several overseas appearances, including at The Royal Opera House in London's Covent Garden.

Appearing alongside Giles are three exceptional soloists: Recent guest artist with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, the talented Victoria-born soprano Eve-Lyn de la Haye, Hungarian-Canadian mezzo-soprano and Canadian Opera Company favourite Krisztina Szabo?, and locally-born tenor and opera/musical theatre sensation Adam Fisher.

About the Vancouver Bach Choir (vancouverbachchoir.com)
The Vancouver Bach Choir (VBC) is an award-winning symphonic choir committed to offering vibrant and culturally diverse choral experiences to its audiences.

As one of the largest choral organizations in Canada, the Vancouver Bach Choir explores a wide range of repertoire from the past to the present with passion and commitment. Through its concerts presented at the magnificent Orpheum Theatre, the VBC continues to meet its mandate of commissioning and performing works by British Columbian and Canadian composers and presenting the world's favourite symphonic choral works.

Over the past eight decades, the choir has performed with numerous world-class musicians. Currently under the baton of Maestro Leslie Dala, the VBC continues its mission and tradition to share the beauty of choral music with local, national, and international communities.

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