I recently enjoyed a performance of Felix Mendelssohn's ELIJAH as presented by the Harford Chorale and the Hartford Symphony Orchestra in (surprise!) Hartford, Connecticut.. Accordingly, I've pasted here a photo of an icon of the eponymous prophet.
This work is classified as an oratorio, one composed over a period of years leading up to an 1846 premiere.
The program notes provided at the Hartford performance describe it as a "near opera," referring especially to the dramatic character-driven nature of the libretto.
This gets me into a pedantic definition-seeking sort of mood. An "oratorio" an "extended musical composition with a text more or less dramatic in character and usually based on a religious theme, for solo voices, chorus, and orchestra and usually performed without action, costume, or scenery." That definition comes from Random House's dictionary.
Presumably a particular oratorio can be considered near opera because it is so easy to imagine action, costume, and scenery added on. And that was certainly the case here.
Thus ends my brief review. Except for one more point. Congratulations to everyone involved in this fine production.