Jan 13, 2019


Artwork: Elias © Herwig Zens

The oratorio in two parts is based on texts from the Old Testament and was commissioned by the Birmingham Music Festival in 1846, originally performed in English, and premiered in Birmingham with Mendelssohn conducting.

This brand new, fully-staged production of the oratorio is directed by Calixto Bieito, featuring Christian Gerhaher in the role of Elias. Of the project, J-P comments that he feels a special resonance in performing Elias in Vienna … “the home of Mahler and many other Jewish people, who felt pressured to convert to Christianity in order to gain the acceptance of society — Mendelssohn had experienced the same in Leipzig. “Elias” is a story from the Old Testament, but in the ending, the text refers to the coming of someone – it is fascinatingly ambiguous in that it can be understood from both a Christan and a Jewish viewpoint.

Mendelssohn was a personality with extreme highs and lows; his music is full of anxiety and desperation but also hope, paving the way for Mahler´s big works like his Second (Resurrection) Symphony and Eighth Symphony.”

I am very excited to see the results of this collaboration with Calixto Bieito, our soloists, and the whole production team at Theater an der Wien.

The performances are on February 16, 18, 20, 23, 25 and 27th at the Theater an der Wien.