PORTLAND – In celebration of the 200th anniversary of Felix Mendelssohn’s birth, Portland’s Choral Art Society will perform his “Elijah” oratorio Tuesday, March 31, at Merrill Auditorium.

Local composer and Bowdoin professor of music Elliott Schwartz will present a lecture in the auditorium before the concert.

Born and raised in New York City, Schwartz studied composition at Columbia University.

In 1964, he began teaching at Bowdoin College and is now the Robert K. Beckwith Professor of Music. A prolific composer, lecturer and author, his works have been performed by orchestras around the world.

A hallmark among 19th century oratorios, “Elijah” depicts the dramatic story of the Old Testament prophet Elijah, who, according to the Book of Kings, raised the dead, brought fire down from the sky and ascended to Heaven in a whirlwind. Mendelssohn evokes the full power of this dramatic story in his setting for orchestra and chorus.

The Choral Art Society will perform “Elijah” under the baton of music director Robert Russell, with the 120 voice Masterworks Chorus, members of the Portland Symphony Orchestra and guest soloists Lisa Saffer, Jennifer DeDominici, John McVeigh and Philip Cutlip.

“Elijah” will be performed at 7:30 p.m., with the lecture starting at 6:30 p.m. Tickets, ranging from $15 to $47, may be purchased by calling PortTix at 842-0800, logging on to www.porttix.com.

or in person at the box office at 20 Myrtle St.

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