BYU Singers and Concert Choir Bring ‘Elijah’ to Life in Salt Lake City

The choirs will join voices alongside special guests Shea Owens and Andrew Crane to perform an abridged version of the popular oratorio

The sweeping story of the prophet Elijah in the Old Testament is vividly told in Felix Mendelssohn’s famous oratorio “Elijah.” This April, the BYU Singers and Concert Choir will bring this ancient story into modern times with their performance of Mendelssohn’s masterwork at the Cathedral of the Madeleine in Salt Lake City.

As one of the most well-known choral oratorios, “Elijah” follows the life, hardships and miracles that the Old Testament prophet experienced, from his conflict with the priests of Baal to a widespread drought to the wiles of a wicked queen. Mendelssohn’s work is recognized as a stirring and dramatic piece for the prophet’s life.

Director Brent Wells said that the oratorio has “all the classic elements of a great story” told in large measure through  “wonderful choral writing.”

“The whole story is just so dramatic. And the music really does a great job representing that,” said Wells.

Those who attend the performance in Salt Lake City will be treated to the vocal talents of baritone Shea Owens, the opera director at BYU, and tenor Andrew Crane, the BYU Singers director. 

The oratorio will be condensed to an hour-long performance while still maintaining the essential parts of the plot and highlighting the most well-known pieces of Mendelssohn’s work. Wells expressed his hope that the audience will relate to the struggles and triumphs portrayed in the music.

“Ultimately, this is the story of a people who are struggling and don’t know where to look for answers,” Wells said. “And I think that is a universal story. That all of us face struggle, and how we choose to deal with that—whether that struggle becomes something that trips us or something that provides a stepping stone to a higher level—depends on our response to it. And so in that way, this is a very human story.”

For more information about this event, visit

BYU Singers and Concert Choir: Mendelssohn’s Elijah

Cathedral of the Madeleine

April 5 at 7:30 p.m.