undefinedAcis and Galatea

Our annual Baroque Opera Project returns in 2024 with a return of Handel’s wonderful Acis and Galatea. 

Galatea, a semi-divine nymph, is in love with the shepherd Acis. The whole of the first act sees the two lovers pursuing each other, while Acis’s friend Damon, another shepherd, provides counsel. In the second act the opera shifts from its pastoral and sensual mood into an elegiac quality as the chorus warns Acis and Galatea about the arrival of a monstrous giant, Polyphemus, who is possessed by a jealous love for Galatea. Seeing the two lovers happy together, Polyphemus threatens force but is somewhat soothed by the impartial shepherd, Coridon. Acis and Galatea promise eternal fidelity to each other in what begins as a duet “The flocks shall leave the mountains” but ultimately turns into a trio when Polyphemus intrudes and brutally murders Acis in a rage. Galatea, along with the chorus, mourns the loss of her love “Must I my Acis still bemoan”. The chorus reminds her of her deity and with her divine powers she transforms Acis’s corpse into a beautiful fountain. The chorus celebrates Acis’s immortalisation.

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