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Choral Society marks 70th anniversary with gala performance

by on April 18, 2019 1:41 PM

STATE COLLEGE — In 1997, the State College Choral Society performed Felix Mendelssohn’s choral masterpiece “Elijah,” with operatic great Sherrill Milnes in the role of the titular prophet, to “a richly deserved standing ovation,” according to a reviewer. 

This month, the Choral Society celebrates its 70th anniversary season with an encore performance of that work. On April 28 at 3 p.m., the SCCS will bring “Elijah” back to Central Pennsylvania in a gala concert at Penn State’s Eisenhower Auditorium.

“Never was there a more complete triumph — never a more thorough and speedy recognition of a great work of art." So wrote The Times of London after “Elijah’s” premiere in 1846.

Today, “Elijah” remains one of the most popular oratorios in the world. Its beautiful choruses, including “He, Watching Over Israel,” and its alternately fiery and prayerful arias are a showpiece for singers and orchestras alike. Joining the Choral Society in April’s concert are the Pennsylvania Chamber Orchestra, the State High Master Singers and an all-star cast of soloists including soprano Laura Choi Stuart, tenor Benjamin Warschawski, mezzo-soprano and local favorite Amanda Silliker and baritone Timothy LeFebvre as Elijah.

“Having sung Elijah numerous times,” LeFebvre said. “I am continually impressed by the theatrical approach provided for us by Mendelssohn. The role of Elijah is commanding, lyrical, and intimate throughout the oratorio, but the main character is definitely the chorus. I very much look forward to being a part of telling this engaging story and to collaborating with the State College Choral Society in this moving and powerful work.”

Tickets are available through Eisenhower Auditorium/Ticketmaster or at PSU’s box office locations at Eisenhower Auditorium, Downtown Theatre, or the Bryce Jordan Center.

Submitted photo
The State College Choral Society will bring “Elijah” to Eisenhower Auditorium on April 28.

 

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