Elijah is a sell-out success for the Pershore Choral Society.

Pershore Choral Society has sold hundreds of tickets for its next concert, featuring an oratorio with a poignant history which helped to cement the reputation of Felix Mendelsohn as one of the greatest composers of sacred music.

Tragically, it was one of the last works completed by Mendelsohn, who was to die young.

The work, “Elijah”, which tells the Old Testament story of the prophet’s life and mission, is being performed in Pershore Abbey on Saturday, May 11.

A spokesman said: “The performance comes 173 years after the work received its world premiere at the Birmingham Musical Festival of 1846 in the city’s Town Hall.

“Mendelsohn, who conducted the orchestra himself, used that first public performance to decide upon improvements he would make to the work which has since become a firm favourite among concert goers across the globe.”

Ron Haden, Chairman of Pershore Choral said: “There is a lovely little story about how, immediately after the performance, he took a leading music critic and some of his friends on a walk to tell them about the changes he was planning to make.

“He told them he was taking them on the prettiest walk in Birmingham. He led them to one of the local canals and it was there, among the piles of coal and cinders, that the future of a great and beautiful choral work was mapped out.

“Clearly, behind his enormous artistic and intellectual ability, he also had a whimsical sense of humour. Sadly, he did not enjoy his fame and success for very long because he died the following year at the tragically early age of 38.”

More tickets might have been available for the concert in the Abbey, had it not been for the scale of the work, which requires a large orchestra and a big choir. Also, seats in the side aisle cannot be used, because of new fire regulations.

Some tickets may still become available due to late cancellations, although this is not guaranteed.

A ticket help line has been set up to help with late ticket enquiries at: 01336 860617.