Acis, a shepherd and Galatea, a nymph, are blissfully in love. Their idyll is darkened by a louring cyclops, the giant Polyphemus, who stalks Galatea. He is obsessed, and burns with brutish lust. When his grotesque serenades fail to draw Galatea he simply crushes Acis to death with a boulder. There follows one of Handel’s most breathtaking musical moments as he depicts a transcendent and mystical process: as Acis dies he is transformed, through Galatea’s love, into a bubbling spring, and returns to the natural world.
For its first performance in 1718 in the garden of Cannons on the outskirts of London, for the Earl of Carnavon, young Handel brought/brings to this, his first English masterpiece, all the astonishing variety of invention which later secures his recognition as one of the all time greats of opera composition. The music is always accessible, infectious and affecting. The moods move poignantly from pastoral lyricism to grim tragedy with a heart lifting ending.
Iford Arts is truly delighted and flattered to welcome again Christian Curnyn and the familiar virtuosi of Early Opera Company who trail an awesome reputation for their many national and international performances in the most prestigious venues. (And their ever-growing list of award-winning recordings, includes most recently, Acis and Galatea, 2018).