Derbyshire Singers perform dramatic oratorio

Derbyshire Singers at Chatsworth

Derbyshire Singers at Chatsworth

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High drama is coming to Matlock’s Highfields School this weekend as Elijah takes on the prophets of Baal in an oratorio full of stirring arias and choruses.

The Derbyshire Singers will be joined on Saturday, March 12, by the Lewisham Choral Society in a performance of Felix Mendelssohn’s popular work about the fickleness of public opinion and the attraction of false prophets.

Elijah begins by portraying the prophet’s struggles against the priests of Baal for the hearts of the Israelites, faced as they are by a crippling drought. Reflecting their transition from desperation to relief and praise, Mendelssohn creates a sense of increasing tension that is resolved in a great chorus of thanksgiving at the conclusion of the first part.

In the second part Elijah’s soul-searching wanderings in the desert and final ascension to Heaven in a blazing chariot are accompanied by colourful, dramatic and fiery yet also lyrical passages which rapidly became public favourites - the first performance of ‘Elijah’ took hours to complete, as the audience clamoured for encores, and the last note was greeted by “a vociferous and deafening volley” of praise.

The Derbyshire Singers hope to achieve the same effect but without the same length of performance! They have the support again of the Lewisham Choral Society, one of London’s leading choirs with a deserved reputation for delivering excellent performances.

Starting at 7.30pm, the concert will include soloists of the highest class. Catherine Wyn-Rogers sang with the Derbyshire Singers prior to a national and international career which has seen her appear at La Scala Milan, The Metropolitan Opera New York, Teatro Real of Madrid, and The Bavarian State Opera Munich. A regular performer at Covent Garden, Catherine and Andrew Mackenzie-Wicks have appeared frequently in opera, which is where Gavan Ring, the talented young baritone, is also making his mark. Lorna Anderson, too, is a renowned performer who has sung at all the major opera houses, concert halls and leading festivals throughout Europe.

Tickets are priced at £15 or £13 (concessions), with free entry to students and under-16s (on provision of ticket) if accompanied by a paying adult. Tickets available from Robert Young Florists in Matlock, Natural Choice in Ashbourne, tel 01335 346096, online at or on the door.