WSU's chorale, choir and symphony to present 'Elijah'
May 2, 2008 10:02 AM | Print
The Wichita State University Concert Chorale, A Cappella Choir and Symphony Orchestra will host a guest soloist in their performance of Felix Mendelssohn's "Elijah."
The performance is at 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 9, in Miller Concert Hall, Duerksen Fine Arts Center. Admission is $6 with discounts available.
The orchestra is prepared by Mark Laycock, and the choir is prepared by Robert Glasmann and Tom Wine. The concert will be directed by Wine.
Tony Offerle, director of the opera program at the University of Florida, will sing the title role. Additional soloists for this work are Patrick Greene, Jennifer Crowley-Johnson, Dorothy Crum, Kerry Moss and Pina Mozzani.
"Mendelssohn approaches this text almost like it is music theater," said Wine. "The soloists are dramatic characters with obvious emotional investment in the story. The chorus must play the part of worshipful followers, angry mob and band of angels."
The story of the oratorio presents a country in the midst of a great drought. Elijah promises to bring rain if the town will pray to the Lord. He challenges them to a musical duel between their false gods and his God. In the end, the town accepts the will of the Lord and the waters pour forth.
"The energy of these combined forces is amazing," said Wine. "The ability of these young musicians to adapt to the variety of musical styles on this program is a real tribute to their talent."
Their guest soloist, Offerle, is a native of Miami, Fla. His credits include performances with the OperaEstate in Rome, Cincinnati Opera, International Chamber Orchestra, Dayton Opera, Wyoming Opera, Charleston Symphony, Savannah Symphony, Evansville Philharmonic and the Piccolo Spoleto Festival. He has sung more than 30 leading operatic roles and is equally at home with musical theater repertoire.
An active concert performer, Offerle has served as guest soloist in London's Westminster Abbey and St. Paul's Cathedral, as well as St. Giles Cathedral in Scotland.
The New York Amsterdam News said of his 2006 recital debut in Manhattan: "Offerle brought to his selections an exceptionally beautiful baritone, fine technical command and considerable interpretive skill. He proved to be a compelling singing-actor."
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