Handel's pastoral opera combines a colourful libretto with a sublime score to produce 90 minutes of pure joy. Written for the virtuoso musicians of an English country estate, it works its magic with a handful of singers and a small instrumental ensemble. The moods shift poignantly from pastoral lyricism to dark tragedy, with a heartwarming ending.
Acis and Galatea, one of Handel's most enduring works, has undergone numerous arrangements, including one by Mozart in 1788 at the behest of Baron Gottfried van Swieten. The work is presented here in its original version from 1718, the same one that Mozart would tailor seventy years later to the musical tastes of his time. But his very first encounter with the opera was in June 1764, at a benefit concert at London's Ranelagh Gardens. The wunderkind played several of his own compositions in a programme that included Acis and Galatea and Alexander's Feast (another Handel work that Mozart would later adapt for van Swieten in Vienna).
The plot ? Galatea, a nymph, is in love with the shepherd Acis, and he with her. But Polyphemus, a cyclops, is also in love with Galatea. She rejects his advances, and Acis defies the giant, despite the advice of their friends. Enraged by the couple's displays of love, Polyphemus crushes Acis with a stone. Galatea, mourning her dying lover, uses her divine powers to transform him into an eternal fountain from which a bubbling stream flows through the fields he so loved, thus rendering him immortal.
Enguerrand de Hys (Acis); Laurie Janssens (Galatea); Shadi Torbey (Polypheme); Mathis Van Cleynenbreugel (Damon); Leander Van Gijsegem (Corydon); Marion Bauwens (Phyllida); Gert-Jan Verbueken (Alexis); Tom Van Bogaert (Cimon); Hugo Segers (Stage direction); Thibaut Lenaerts (Musical direction); Le Pavillon de Musique (Baroque ensemble)
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Friday, July 1, 2022 from 8:00 PM to 9:30 PM
Sunday, July 3, 2022 from 3:00 PM to 4:30 PM
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