Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy’s oratorio Elias Op. 70 was premiered in 1846 at the Birmingham Festival. It depicts the life of the prophet Elijah, taken from the books 1 and 2 Kings of the Old Testament. While it was composed in the spirit of Mendelssohn’s Baroque predecessors Bach and Handel, its lyricism and use of orchestral and choral color clearly reflects Mendelssohn’s own genius as an early Romantic composer. Paulus Op. 36, written a decade earlier, was a popular work during Mendelssohn’s lifetime, but failed to maintain its stature in comparison to his other oratorios and the oratorios of Handel and Bach.