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100 singers to fill to stage for ‘Elijah’

The oratorio, 'Elijah,' comes to Cal State Long Beach Saturday night for the first time ever.

Isabel Ramos, Staff Writer

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A dramatic story about faith, fire, fury and facing the consequences of one’s actions comes to the Carpenter Performing Arts Center Saturday, May 6, at 8 p.m.

The oratorio, “Elijah,” written by Felix Mendelssohn in the 1800s, is being performed at Cal State Long Beach for the first time. An oratorio is a large-scale musical work for orchestra and voices, and this one has a cast of 100 singers, student soloists and a symphony orchestra.

According to the conductor of “Elijah,” Jonathan Talberg, the work was picked in part to cater to soloist and senior vocal performance major Emilio Valdez, and to bring a new and dramatic piece to the school.

Talberg is the director of choral, vocal and opera studies at the Bob Cole Conservatory at CSULB, where he worked as a professor at the school for 17 years. He has never performed “Elijah” before, but says that there is a resurgence of Mendelssohn in the United States and always strives to challenge himself.

“Elijah” tells a biblical story of the Old Testament of the prophet Elijah. It features resurrection of a dead youth, a contest of the gods, the bringing of rain to parched Israel, the prosecution of Elijah and finally his ascension on a fiery chariot into heaven. Talberg believes it is an important piece because the story deals with issues that are still relevant today.

“The oratorio deals with real human issues that we deal with today,” said Talberg, “It starts in a time of great drought, it deals with religious violence and it speaks about solitude and finding time to think, to pray and to consider one’s actions. These are themes that are not only religious themes but are universal themes.”

Tickets can be purchased at the Carpenter Center box office or website for $10 to students with an ID or the general public for $15.

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