ELIJAH REVIEW 2019
Aliquando Chamber Choir Mendelssohn's Elijah in
St Mary’s Church, Henley on Thames
Elijah - James Oldfield, Obadiah - Alex Haigh
Soprano - Elin Manahan Thomas -
Saturday, November 9 - 2019
SATURDAY evening was cold, dark and damp, but that didn’t stop St Mary’s Church being full to capacity for Aliquando’s performance of Mendelssohn’s Elijah.
Elijah is a work bringing to bear huge forces — and it’s long. Anne Evans, the musical director of Henley’s Aliquando Chamber Choir, took the risk of reducing the oratorio in numbers of performers and brought it off in spectacular fashion
The passion and energy of the performance was in no doubt from the start, with the choir committed and very capable of expressing the sentiment of Elijah’s despair and doubt, followed by a triumphant final chorus where he fulfills the prophecy and rises victorious.
Bass-baritone James Oldfield as Elijah phrased the musical lines beautifully with a suitably rich dark vocal quality, effortlessly conveying the changing moods of the prophet, while Henley tenor Alex Haigh as Obadiah soared in Mendelssohn’s extraordinary melodies with a compelling mellifluous quality in his voice.
Welsh soprano Elin Manahan Thomas and Rosemary Clifford (mezzo-soprano, replacing Valentine Ford) also gave distinctive and inspiring performances.
All credit too should be given to the members of the senior Henley Youth Choir for their lovely angelic voices encouraging Elijah not to lose heart.
The orchestra, led by Mandy Sadler, and made up of performers from the West Forest Sinfonia, were superb in their professionalism and execution of the score, and what a privilege to also have Henley’s Nansi Diamond and Martyn Read as narrators.
This was a thoroughly enjoyable evening — professional in standard and a delight to the senses on every level.
It was spiritually uplifting and engaging and I came back out into the night feeling that God can indeed take any of us, weak and uncertain as we are, and if we put our trust in Him and gain our strength from Him he will help us accomplish great things.
Pamela Chilvers - Henley Standard