The Apostles was composed for the 1903 Birmingham Festival, its seeds sown by a teacher’s remark Elgar never forgot: ‘Christ’s disciples were young men, and very poor, perhaps no cleverer than some of you here.’

For Sir Mark, it’s the closest Elgar came to writing an opera and he particularly admires its opening – ‘the mystical introduction, then dawn over Jerusalem, setting the scene for an epic.’ Elgar again skilfully uses leitmotifs in his portrayal of the characters, particularly the powerful music for Judas. Among the exceptional soloists are Sophie Bevan, Alice Coote, Clive Bayley and Ed Lyon, who makes his Hallé debut. In its review of the Hallé’s recording of The Apostles, BBC Music Magazine commented ‘Elder has perfect control of the large forces and dramatic pacing’.

Sophie Bevan – The Angel Gabriel/The Blessed Virgin Mary
Alice Coote – Mary Magdalene
Ed Lyon – John
Roderick Williams – Jesus
David Stout – Peter
Clive Bayley – Judas

The Apostles

Aiden McCusker – Tenor 1
Yihui Wang – Tenor 2
Rowan Gillard – Tenor 3
Alex Gibb – Baritone 1
Rajnard Hrascanec – Baritone 2
James Connolly – Bass 1
Jermyn Leong – Bass 2
Harrison Morton-Deaville – Bass 3

Students appear by kind permission of the RNCM.

This performance will be broadcast on BBC Radio 3 on 22 June 2023.