The Historic Apollo Chorus of Chicago Presents Mendelssohn’s Elijah
The iconic Apollo Chorus, Chicago’s oldest musical organization and premier volunteer chorus, announces its 2015-2016 season, celebrating the power of live musical performance through choral masterworks performed in legendary Chicago settings. The Apollo Chorus’ 144th year includes signature renditions of the masterpiece Handel’sMessiah and classic Mendelssohn’s Elijah and concludes with, for the first time ever, Apollo on Broadway.
“This season The Apollo Chorus reaches across the centuries from Baroque to Broadway” said Stephen Alltop, Music Director & Conductor of The Apollo Chorus. “We begin in 1741 with the complete Handel’s Messiah—our commitment remains to deliver for our listeners the most authentic and engaging performance possible. We progress through time to the 19th century with Mendelssohn’s Elijah, finally landing in our own time with favorites from Bernstein, Gershwin, and others at Apollo on Broadway.”
Hailed as a “venerable holiday tradition” performed with “an exultant spirit that [comes] from the heart” by The Chicago Tribune, The Apollo Chorus’s famous rendition of Handel’s Messiah has been performed nearly every December since 1879 —a track record unmatched in the city of Chicago. Few works today are as celebrated or beloved as Handel’s Messiah,and this annual performance has become a holiday tradition for many Chicago families. The unparalleled quartet of soloists in this time-honored piece includes soprano Amanda Majeski, fresh from her acclaimed performances in The Passenger at Lyric Opera. Performances will be held Saturday, December 19 at 7:00 p.m. and Sunday, December 20 at 2:00 p.m. at Harris Theater for Music and Dance, 205 E. Randolph Drive, Chicago.
The Choral Classics performance reprises Mendelssohn’s Elijah, which echoes Handel’s Baroque style but whose lyricism and orchestral color reflect Mendelssohn’s position as an early Romantic composer. Audiences will delight in the biblical journey of the prophet Elijah, which culminates in his dramatic ascension to heaven on a fiery chariot.
Performed in collaboration with the Elmhurst Symphony Orchestra and featuring baritone Gerard Sundberg in the title role, Mendelssohn’s masterpiece will fill the majestic space at the Rockefeller Chapel at the University of Chicago, 5850 S. Woodlawn Ave., Chicago, on Saturday, March 12, 2016 at 7:30 p.m. This performance includes an optional free pre-concert talk by Music Director Stephen Alltop at 6:45 p.m.
Rounding out the season, The Apollo Chorus spring concert celebrates iconic musical theatre classics in Apollo on Broadway. Two great traditions – The Apollo Chorus and American musical theatre – will come together in a special concert celebrating some of Broadways most beloved arrangements from Gershwin, Rodgers, Porter, Bernstein, and Sondheim. Sophisticated arrangements will bring new interpretations to beautiful Broadway melodies in Apollo’s first-ever salute to the stage. Performances of Apollo on Broadway are on Friday, May 6, 2016 at 7:30 p.m. at Fourth Presbyterian Church, 126 E. Chestnut St., Chicago, and Sunday, May 8, 2016 at 3:00 p.m. at First United Church of Oak Park, 848 Lake Street, Oak Park.
The Apollo Chorus is Chicago’s oldest musical organization, founded in 1872 in the aftermath of the Great Chicago Fire, performing preeminent choral works at premier venues.Newcity raves that “Alltop’s unbroken track record for training his chorus to express such varieties of style and color rivals any other in the city!” Its approximately 120 auditioned members include men and women of all ages, races, and backgrounds brought together by their love of music. The Apollo Chorus has performed at notable historic events, such as the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, the Century of Progress International Exposition, the opening of Medinah Temple, the opening of Orchestra Hall (Apollo was considered the official chorus of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra prior to the formation of the Symphony Chorus), the opening of Navy Pier, and Oprah’s final show. Recently, the chorus performed at the 125th Anniversary Gala of the Auditorium Theatre with a rousing rendition of “Do You Hear the People Sing?” from the iconic musical Les Misérables. They also performed at the venue’s 1889 opening.
The Apollo Chorus continually strives to advance musically and to share the power, beauty and majesty of choral music by presenting concerts and educational programs for diverse communities throughout Chicago and beyond.