ACIS & GALATEA
Georg Friederich Händel
11 February 2020, 20:00
Studio Knutson, Ahornstraße 6, 12163 Berlin
Baroque Ensemble Le Maschere Galanti
Jack Adler-McKean (Conductor), Georgia Tryfona (Galatea), Michael Taylor (Acis),
Will Kwiatkowski (Polyphemus), Konrad Furian (Damon), Holden Madagame (Coridon)
Acis & Galatea
Acis and Galatea was Handel’s most popular secular drama during his lifetime, and arguably ever since. He made versions in two and three acts and combined it with other works including his own early Italian-language setting of the same myth. The work was later rescored by composers from Mozart to Mendelssohn.
This performance constitutes a rare revival of the very first version of Handel’s ‘little opera’, the one-act 'Masque' created very simply at Cannons in the summer of 1718. The intimacy of the first performance – at a private house without any theatrical staging, with all musicians on stage being simultaneously ensemble members and soloists – will be recreated in the opulent surroundings of Studio Knutson, mirroring almost precisely the forces available for the premiere three centuries earlier.
The shepherd Acis and the nymph Galatea are in love; the pastoral idyll is shattered, however, by the giant Polyphemus who is inflamed with passion for Galatea. The shepherd Coridon tries to reason with the giant by pointing out that love can never be won with force. Acis, emboldened by love himself and ignoring his friend Damon's warnings, challenges Polyphemus to a duel. When the giant shatters Acis with a boulder, all of nature and the Gods join Galatea in mourning. The chorus remind Galatea of her divine powers, however, which she uses to transform Acis into a fountain whose flowing waters sing unceasing love songs.