20 November 2006

The oratorio with everything

OK, not quite everything: Mendelssohn’s Elijah doesn’t have exploding airships, but it comes close, with fiery chariots ascending into heaven. And it also has animal sacrifice, mass execution, earthquake, wind, fire and a raising from the dead!

The RSNO’s 2006–7 season is now in full swing and last weekend we performed Elijah in Edinburgh and Glasgow. Mind you, the concert had more than the usual amount of drama: Walter Weller, who was supposed to conduct, had to pull out a couple of weeks ago after an operation and the principal soloist, Matthew Best, was replaced by Peter Sidhom with just hours to go before the first performance.

In spite of the difficulties, the performances went really well. Both The Scotsman and The Herald have good reviews. I think the replacement conductor, Andreas Spering, had a lot to do with the success: he brought a Handelian lightness to a piece that sometimes can seem too heavily romantic.

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