WA Opera has taken on the world of oratorio, staging the tumultuous Old Testament drama of Mendelssohn’s Elijahin the grand environs of The University of Western Australia’s Winthrop Hall. Originally programmed for last year, the production, a collaboration with UWA’s Conservatorium of Music, saw students and professionals take the stage together for a darkly dramatic rendition of the prophet Elijah’s tale. Despite a number of hiccups along the way, the production successfully magnified the effect of Mendelssohn’s work, treating audiences to a memorable and impactful night of music.

Soprano Lisa Harper-Brown with chorus. Photo © James Rogers

The night was off to an intriguing start early on, with the announcement of a last-minute cast change from conductor Chris van Tuinen. With WAO favourite, baritone James Clayton indisposed, the lead role of Elijahwould instead be sung by Wesfarmers Young Artist Lachlann Lawton, who had been informed of this situation at 9:30 am that morning. An understandably daunting task, Lawton took to it with a calm demeanour, his warm and clear baritone well placed to guide the...