Acis and Galatea is a story from Greek mythology that originally appeared in Ovid's Metamorphoses. The story tells of the love between the mortal Acis and the Nereid (sea-nymph) Galatea; when the jealous Cyclops Polyphemus kills Acis, Galatea transforms her lover into an immortal river spirit. The episode was made the subject of poems, operas, paintings, and statues in the Renaissance and after.
Galatea (Γαλάτεια; "she who is milk-white"), daughter of Nereus and Doris, was a sea-nymph anciently attested in the work of both Homer and Hesiod, where she is described as the fairest and most beloved of the 50 Nereids. In Ovid's Metamorphoses she appears as the beloved of Acis, the son of Faunus and the river-nymph Symaethis, daughter of the River Symaethus. When a jealous rival, the Sicilian Cyclops Polyphemus, killed him with a boulder, Galatea then turned his blood into the Sicilian River Acis, of which he became the spirit. This version of the tale occurs nowhere earlier and may be a fiction invented by Ovid, "suggested by the manner in which the little river springs forth from under a rock". According to Athenaeus, ca 200 CE, the story was first concocted by Philoxenus of Cythera as a political satire against the Sicilian tyrant Dionysius I of Syracuse, whose favourite concubine, Galatea, shared her name with the nymph. Others claim the story was invented to explain the presence of a shrine dedicated to Galatea on Mount Etna.
During Renaissance and Baroque times the story emerged once more as a popular theme. In Spain, Luis de Góngora y Argote wrote the much-admired narrative poem, Fábula de Polifemo y Galatea, published in 1627. It is particularly noted for its depiction of landscape and for the sensual description of the love of Acis and Galatea. It was written in homage to an earlier and rather shorter narrative with the same title by Luis Carillo y Sotomayor (1611) The story was also given operatic treatment in the very popular zarzuela of Antoni Lliteres Carrió (1708). The atmosphere here is lighter and enlivened by the inclusion of the clowns Momo and Tisbe.
In France, Jean-Baptiste Lully devoted his opera Acis et Galatée (1686) to their love. Described by him as a pastoral-heroic work, it depicts a love triangle between the three main characters - Acis, Galatea, and Poliphème. Poliphème murders Acis out of jealousy, but Acis is revived and turned into a river by Neptune. In Italy Giovanni Bononcini's one-act opera Polifemo followed in 1703. Shortly afterwards George Frideric Handel was working in that country and composed the cantata Aci, Galatea e Polifemo (1708), laying as much emphasis on the part of Polifemo as on the lovers. Written in Italian, Polifemo's deep bass solo Fra l'ombre e gl'orrori (From horrid shades) establishes his character from the start.
After Handel's move to England, he gave the story a new treatment in his pastoral opera Acis and Galatea with an English libretto provided by John Gay. Initially composed in 1718, the work went through many revisions and was later to be given updated orchestrations by both Mozart and Mendelssohn. As a pastoral work where Polyphemus plays only a minor, though decisive part, it largely centres on the two lovers. In Austria later in the century, Joseph Haydn composed Acide e Galatea (1763). Designed for an imperial wedding, it was given a happier ending centred on the transformation scene after the murder of Acis as the pair declare their undying love.
Paintings featuring Acis and Galatea can be grouped according to their themes. Most notably the story takes place within a pastoral landscape in which the figures are almost incidental. This is particularly so in Nicolas Poussin's Landscape with Polyphemus (1649)(Hermitage Museum) and Claude Lorrain's seaside landscape (Dresden) of 1657, in both of which the lovers play a minor part in the foreground. In an earlier painting by Poussin (National Gallery of Ireland, 1630) the couple is among several embracing figures in the foreground, shielded from view of Polyphemus, who is playing his flute higher up the slope.
In all of these Polyphemus is somewhere in the background, but many others feature Galatea alone, as in Perino del Vaga's painting of her being drawn by sea beasts over the waves while riding on a seashell. Generally, though, the nymph is carried through the sea by adoring attendants in paintings generally titled The Triumph of Galatea, of which the most renowned treatment is by Raphael. In general these follow the 3rd-century description given of such a painting by Philostratus the Younger in his Imagines:
The nymph sports on the peaceful sea, driving a team of four dolphins yoked together and working in harmony; and maiden-daughters of Triton, Galatea's servants, guide them, curving them in if they try to do anything mischievous or contrary to the rein. She holds over her heads against the wind a light scarf of sea-purple to provide a shade for herself and a sail for her chariot, and from it a kind of radiance falls upon her forehead and her head, though no white more charming than the bloom on her cheek; her hair is not tossed by the breeze, for it is so moist that it is proof against the wind. And lo, her right elbow stands out and her white forearm is bent back, while she rests her fingers on her delicate shoulder, and her arms are gently rounded, and her breasts project, nor yet is beauty lacking in her thigh. Her foot, with the graceful part that ends in it, is painted as on the sea and it lightly touches the water as if it were the rudder guiding her chariot. Her eyes are wonderful, for they have a kind of distant look that travels as far as the sea extends.
In those cases where the rejected lover Polyphemus appears somewhere ashore, the division between them is emphasised by their being identified with their respective elements, sea, and land. Typical examples of this were painted by Francois Perrier, Giovanni Lanfranco and Jean-Baptiste van Loo.
Sensual portrayals of the lovers embracing in a landscape were provided by French painters especially, as in those by Charles de La Fosse (c. 1700), Jean-François de Troy and Alexandre Charles Guillemot (1827). Polyphemus lurks in the background of these and in the example by De Troy his presence plainly distresses Galatea. Other French examples by Antoine Jean Gros (1833) and Édouard Zier (1877) show the lovers hiding in a cave and peering anxiously out at him.
They anticipate the tragic moment when he looms menacingly over the pair, having discovered the truth they have tried to conceal. The threat is as apparent in Jean-Francois de Troy's softly outlined 18th-century vision as it is in Odilon Redon's almost Surrealist painting of 1900. The brooding atmosphere in these suggests the violent action which is to follow. That had been portrayed in earlier paintings of Polyphemus casting a rock at the fleeing lovers, such as those by Annibale Carracci, Auger Lucas and Carle van Loo.
Statues of Galatea, sometimes in the company of Acis, began to be made in Europe from the 17th century. There is a fanciful description of a fountain that incorporates them both in John Barclay's Latin novel Argenis, dating from 1621:
Being drawn to the top of the fountain, the water passed through many pipes in various forms, then falling into the cistern beneath, it boiled with the force of its falling and waxed green like the sea. In the midst whereof, Galatea, as in the sea, bewailed her newly dead Acis, who lay on the shore, and as if he now began to be dissolved into a river, he sent forth two streams, one at his mouth, the other at his wound.
An actual statue by a pool in the public gardens of Acireale, the Sicilian town where the transformation of Acis is supposed to have taken place, is less ingenious. He lies beneath the boulder that has killed him while Galatea crouches to one side, an arm raised to heaven in supplication.
French sculptors have also been responsible for some memorable statues. There are a pair by Jean-Baptiste Tuby in the Bosquet des Dômes in the Versailles gardens. Acis leans on a rock, casually playing the flute, as the half-clad Galatea comes upon him with hands lifted in surprise (1667–75). A similar gesture is displayed in the statue of her alone in the fountain to the right of the great staircase at Château de Chantilly. The lovers are portrayed together as part of the Medici Fountain in the Luxembourg Garden in Paris. Designed by Auguste Ottin in 1866, the marble group embrace inside a grotto while above them is crouched a huge Polyphemus in weathered bronze, peering down in jealousy.
Many other statues feature Galatea alone, but there is a complication. Some time after the Renaissance, the same name was given to Pygmalion's animated statue and one has to distinguish between representations of her and of the nymph Galatea. One pointer is given by the introduction of features mentioned in the description of the nymph by Philostratus that is quoted above. These include one hand raised and holding a billowing scarf; sea imagery, including shells, dolphins and tritons; and often the fact that the statue is incorporated into a fountain. In the work by Gabriel de Grupello in the castle park at Schwetzingen, the triton at Galatea's feet holds up a garland threaded with shells and pearls. The Galatea in the grounds of Tsarskoye Selo in Russia has sea pearls threaded into her hair. There is also a statue of her by Nicola Michetti that forms part of the cascade at the Peterhof Palace in St Petersburg.
The nymph reclines on a large shell carried by tritons in the 18th-century fountain at the Villa Borromeo Visconti Litta in Milan. It is on the back of a dolphin that she reclines in the statue by the 19th-century Italian sculptor Leopoldo Ansiglioni (1832–1894). There are two versions of this, one at the centre of a fish pool in the East House of the University of Greenwich's Winter Gardens, and a later copy installed at Hearst Castle in California. In this, one of the arms bent back to support her head is encircled by the dolphin's tail. There is also a German fountain by Karl Friedrich Moest now installed in Karlsruhe in which Galatea sits on the back of a triton. Over her head she balances the huge shell from which the water pours. Another statue was erected at the head of an impressive cascade in Stuttgart's Eugenplatz. A work of Otto Rieth (1858–1911) dating from 1890, it features the nymph crowned with seaweed and surging up from the dolphin and young cupids playing at her feet.
In the applied arts, three-dimensional representations of Raphael's triumph theme were often incorporated into artifacts for aristocratic use and were painted on majolica ware.
This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Smith, William, ed. (1870). "Acis". Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology.6522 Aci
6522 Aci, provisional designation 1991 NQ, is a stony Phocaea asteroid from the inner regions of the asteroid belt, approximately 6 kilometers in diameter. It was discovered on 9 July 1991, by American astronomer Eleanor Helin at Palomar Observatory in California, United States. The asteroid was named for the river at Acireale in Italy, and refers to the myth of Acis and Galatea.Aci, Galatea e Polifemo
Aci, Galatea e Polifemo (HWV 72) is a dramatic cantata—also called a serenata—by George Frideric Handel. It was first performed at Naples on 19 July 1708; the completed score is dated to 16 June 1708. The serenata was most probably commissioned by Duchess Donna Aurora Sanseverino, and was likely composed for the wedding festivities of the Duke of Alvito, Tolomeo Saverio Gallo, and Beatrice Tocco di Montemiletto, Princess of Acaja and niece of Aurora Sanseverino.
The Italian libretto was written by Nicola Giuvo, private secretary and literary adviser of Duchess Sanseverino.
The plot is virtually the same as in Handel's later English-language pastoral opera Acis and Galatea, but Handel drew little on the music of the cantata when he returned to the story in 1718 although he did take care to introduce half-lovable villain one-eyed giant Polyphemus with another signature comic aria, faster and demanding virtuosity of a different kind than the one in Aci (see below), namely, "O ruddier than the cherry."
The role of Polifemo (Polyphemus), a cyclops whose actions have lethal consequences for Aci (Acis), is particularly notable for the vast range and singular vocal agility required. The part ranges from the D below the bass staff to the A above it — and that in his main satirical slow, ponderous buffa aria, "Fra l'ombre e gl'orrori".Acis and Galatea (Handel)
Acis and Galatea (HWV 49) is a musical work by George Frideric Handel with an English text by John Gay. The work has been variously described as a serenata, a masque, a pastoral or pastoral opera, a "little opera" (in a letter by the composer while it was being written), an entertainment and by the New Grove Dictionary of Music as an oratorio. The work was originally devised as a one-act masque which premiered in 1718.
Handel later adapted the piece into a three-act serenata for the Italian opera troupe in London in 1732, which incorporated a number of songs (still in Italian) from Aci, Galatea e Polifemo, his 1708 setting of the same story to different music. He later adapted the original English work into a two-act work in 1739.
Acis and Galatea was the pinnacle of pastoral opera in England. Indeed, several writers, such as musicologist Stanley Sadie, consider it the greatest pastoral opera ever composed. As is typical of the genre, Acis and Galatea was written as a courtly entertainment about the simplicity of rural life and contains a significant amount of wit and self-parody. The secondary characters, Polyphemus and Damon, provide a significant amount of humor without diminishing the pathos of the tragedy of the primary characters, Acis and Galatea. The music of the first act is both elegant and sensual, while the final act takes on a more melancholy and plaintive tone. The opera was significantly influenced by the pastoral operas presented at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane during the early 18th century. Reinhard Keiser and Henry Purcell also served as influences, but overall the conception and execution of the work is wholly individual to Handel.
Acis and Galatea was by far Handel's most popular dramatic work and is his only stage work never to have left the opera repertory. The opera has been adapted numerous times since its premiere, with a notable arrangement being made by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in 1788. Handel never gave the work in the form in which it is generally heard today, since it contains music which, while by Handel, was never added by him.Acis and Galatea (disambiguation)
Acis and Galatea is a story in Greek mythology.
Acis and Galatea may also refer to:
Acis and Galatea (Handel), a 1718 composition by George Frideric Handel
Acis and Galatea, or Acis et Galatée, a 1686 opera by Jean-Baptiste LullyAcis et Galatée
Acis et Galatée (Acis and Galatea) is an opera by Jean-Baptiste Lully. Unlike most of his operas, which are designated tragédies en musique, Lully called this work a pastorale-héroïque, because it was on a pastoral theme and had only three acts (plus a prologue) compared to the usual five. Otherwise, there is little musically or dramatically to distinguish it from Lully's tragédies.
Lully did not work with his usual collaborator, Philippe Quinault, because he was no longer doing theatrical work.
Jean Galbert de Campistron wrote the French libretto after the story in Ovid's Metamorphoses. The same story was also to inspire a dramatic work by Handel, Acis and Galatea.
The opera was commissioned by Louis Joseph, duc de Vendôme in honor of Louis, le Grand Dauphin.Alessandro Severo
Alessandro Severo (Alexander Severus, HWV A13) is an opera by George Frideric Handel composed in 1738. It is one of Handel's three pasticcio works, made up of the music and arias of his previous operas Giustino, Berenice and Arminio. Only the overture and recitatives (as well as the words) were new. The impresario Johann Jacob Heidegger probably selected the 1717 libretto by Apostolo Zeno, originally written for Antonio Lotti and re-used by many composers thereafter.Bampton Classical Opera
Bampton Classical Opera is an opera company based in Bampton, Oxfordshire specialising in the production of lesser known opera from the Classical period. Performances are always sung in English.
Bampton Classical Opera was founded in 1993 by its current artistic directors, Gilly French and Jeremy Gray, in order to perform classical period opera in English. It works with a variety of conductors and ensembles and does not have a permanent music director.
The company's two to three opera productions a year are performed in the grounds of the Bampton Deanery and at Westonbirt House, the premises of Westonbirt School, as well as on tour to UK festivals. They also give concert performances of operas at St John's, Smith Square, the Wigmore Hall and the Purcell Room in London. The company has an outreach programme, Bampton Schools' Opera, which gives workshops on the operas they have staged or plan to stage, and provides secondary school students with the opportunity to participate in opera rehearsals.
In 2002, Bampton Classical Opera performed the United Kingdom première of The Philosopher's Stone (Der Stein der Weisen), a singspiel by Emanuel Schikaneder composed in collaboration with Mozart, Henneberg, Schack, and Gerl. In 2004, it gave the first UK staged performance of Salieri's Falstaff, and in July 2007 staged the UK première of Georg Benda's Romeo and Juliet. It also performed the Mozart arrangement of Handel's Acis and Galatea. In 2008 it presented Leonora by Ferdinando Paer, based on the same story as Fidelio, and in 2009 Le Pescatrici (The Fisherwomen) by Haydn. In 2010, it presented the UK première of Marcos Portugal's The Marriage of Figaro (1799), and The Masque of King Alfred and The Judgment of Paris by Thomas Arne. In 2011, it presented more performances of the Arne double-bill; Il parnaso confuso by Gluck; The Italian Girl in London (L'italiana in Londra) by Cimarosa, first performed in 1778; and The Choice of Hercules by Handel. In 2012, it presented a revival of Marcos Portugal's The Marriage of Figaro and new productions of L'amant jaloux by André Grétry (1778) and Blaise le savetier (1759) by François-André Danican Philidor. In 2013 it is presenting a new production of Mozart’s first comic opera, La finta semplice (1769), in a new English translation, Pride and Pretence.
The company's patrons include Dame Felicity Lott, Sir Roger Norrington and David Pountney, as well as the Rt Hon David Cameron MP, in whose Witney constituency Bampton lies. The late Sir Charles Mackerras and Sir Philip Ledger were also patrons.Boston Early Music Festival
The Boston Early Music Festival (BEMF) is a non-profit organization founded in 1980 in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S. to promote historical music performance. It presents an annual concert series in Boston and New York City, produces opera recordings, and organizes a weeklong Festival and Exhibition every two years in Boston. A centerpiece of these festivals has been a fully staged Baroque opera production.
One of BEMF's main goals is to unearth lesser-known Baroque operas, which are then performed by the world's leading musicians armed with the latest information on period singing, orchestral performance, costuming, dance, and staging at each biennial Festival. BEMF operas are led by the BEMF Artistic Directors Paul O’Dette and Stephen Stubbs, BEMF Orchestra Director Robert Mealy, and BEMF Opera Director Gilbert Blin. In 2008, BEMF introduced its Chamber Opera Series as part of its annual concert season. The series presents semi-staged productions of chamber operas composed during the Baroque period. In 2011, BEMF took its chamber production of Handel's Acis and Galatea on a four-city North-American tour. In 2004, BEMF initiated a project to record some of its work in the field of Baroque opera on the CPO recording label. The series has since earned five Grammy Award nominations, including a 2015 Grammy Award for Best Opera Recording.
At each Festival, concerts are presented every day from morning until late at night. Concerts are given by an array of established luminaries and rising stars in the field of early music worldwide. BEMF concerts also allow for unique, once-in-a-lifetime collaborations and programs by the spectacular array of talent assembled for the Festival week's events. In addition, there are many scheduled Fringe concerts and events, presented both by local and out-of-town groups at a number of venues in Boston and Cambridge. The Exhibition at the Festival is the largest event of its kind in the United States, showcasing over one hundred early instrument makers, music publishers, service organizations, schools and universities, and associated colleagues.
In 1989, BEMF established an annual concert series to meet the increasing demand for year-round performances of early music. BEMF then expanded its concert series in 2006, when it began presenting performances to New York City at The Morgan Library & Museum. BEMF's annual season now sets the bar nationally for early music performance and has featured such musicians as The Tallis Scholars, Jordi Savall and Hespèrion XXI, and Les Arts Florissants, as well as the North American débuts of Stile Antico, Bach Collegium Japan, Netherlands Bach Society, and Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin.Clori, Tirsi e Fileno
Clori, Tirsi, e Fileno, Cantata a tre, HWV 96, subtitled Cor fedele in vano speri ("A faithful heart hopes in vain"), is a 1707 comic cantata by George Frideric Handel. The subject is a pretty shepherdess who loves two young men, but loses both when they discover her fickleness. Believed lost for many years, the score is the source of arias in some of Handel's later, more celebrated operas.Coridon
Coridon may refer to:
Coridon (company), a biotechnology company founded by Australian scientist Ian Frazer
One of the title characters in the Broadside ballad "Coridon and Parthenia"
A character in the Venetian tragicomedy Il pastor fido
A character in the 1718 version of Handel's Acis and Galatea
A character in the Italian literary fairy tale The Pig KingPeople with the surname, given name, or nickname Coridon include:
Johannes Glauber (1646–1726), nicknamed Coridon, Dutch Golden Age painter
Charles-Édouard Coridon (born 1973), Martiniquais footballerGalatea (mythology)
Galatea (; Greek: Γαλάτεια; "she who is milk-white") is a name popularly applied to the statue carved of ivory by Pygmalion of Cyprus, which then came to life in Greek mythology. In modern English the name usually alludes to that story.
Galatea is also the name of Polyphemus's object of desire in Theocritus's Idylls VI and XI and is linked with Polyphemus again in the myth of Acis and Galatea in Ovid's Metamorphoses.Gideon (Handel)
Gideon (no HWV number) is an oratorio pastiche compiled largely from the works of George Frideric Handel by John Christopher Smith. It was first performed on 10 February 1769 at Covent Garden, London.
Half of this oratorio is derived from the works of Handel (“75:17 for the Handel elements and 76:36 for those by Smith” in Georg Friedrich Händel and John Christopher Smith – Gideon (Junge Kantorei - Frankfurt Barockorchester - Joachim Carlos Martini - 2004)), but Smith used an overture and six vocal items from his own oratorio of 1762 The Feast of Darius.Handel at Cannons
George Frideric Handel was the house composer at Cannons from August 1717 until February 1719. The Chandos Anthems and other important works by Handel were conceived, written or first performed at Cannons.
Cannons was a large house in Middlesex, the seat of James Brydges, 1st Duke of Chandos who was a patron of Handel. The duke, a flute player, had a private orchestra, consisting of 24 instrumentalists. Johann Christoph Pepusch was the Master of Music at Cannons from 1716 and he saw the size of the musical establishment at first expand and then decline in the 1720s in response to Brydges' losses in the South Sea Bubble, a financial crash which took place in 1720.L'Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato
L'Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato ("The Cheerful, the Thoughtful, and the Moderate Man"; HWV 55) is a pastoral ode by George Frideric Handel based on the poetry of John Milton.London Handel Festival
The London Handel Festival is an annual music festival centred on the compositions of George Frideric Handel. The festival also features other composers.
It includes a Handel Singing Competition.Newport Classic
Newport Classic, Ltd, is a record label of classical music, founded by Larry Kraman, and is located in Newport, Rhode Island.
In its catalog are recordings of both familiar and unusual works, including Casanova's Homecoming, A Waterbird Talk, Trouble in Tahiti, A Ceremony of Carols, Médée (the original opéra-comique of Luigi Cherubini, in French), Il campanello di notte, The Jumping Frog of Calveras County, Acis and Galatea, Berenice, Joshua, Muzio, Siroe, Sosarme, La canterina, Le vin herbé, The Consul, Help, Help, the Globolinks!, The Ballad of Baby Doe, The Devil and Daniel Webster, Winterreise, Le sacre du printemps, and Pimpinone.
In 2008, Newport Classic produced a DVD of a production of Willie Stark, which included an interview with the composer, Carlisle Floyd.
Performers heard on this label include John Aler, David Arnold, Julianne Baird, Thom Baker, Richard Bonynge, Débria Brown, Joyce Castle, John Cheek, John DeMain, Colin Duffy, Michael Feldman, Lauren Flanigan, Bart Folse, D'Anna Fortunato, Elizabeth Futral, Jon Garrison, Jan Grissom, Grayson Hirst, John Keene, Igor Kipnis, Jennifer Lane, Vincent La Selva, Andrea Matthews, Erie Mills, Drew Minter, John Ostendorf, Ned Rorem, Thaïs St Julien, Gregg Smith, Johannes Somary, Vern Sutton, Phyllis Treigle, Christine Weidinger, Jayne West, and Eugenia Zukerman.Polyphemus
Polyphemus (; Greek: Πολύφημος Polyphēmos) is the giant son of Poseidon and Thoosa in Greek mythology, one of the Cyclopes described in Homer's Odyssey. His name means "abounding in songs and legends". Polyphemus first appears as a savage man-eating giant in the ninth book of the Odyssey. Some later Classical writers link his name with the nymph Galatea and present him in a different light.Polyphemus (sculpture)
Polyphemus is an 1888 sculpture by Auguste Rodin, showing Polyphemus and his love for the Nereid Galatea, as told in Book XIII of Ovid's Metamorphoses. It was an initial study for the group of Polyphemus, Acis and Galatea at the centre of the right panel of The Gates of Hell. Several bronze studies of Polyphemus' torso survive, but there is no known monumental version of the complete group.A bronze cast of the work is now in the Museo Soumaya.Polyphème (opera)
Polyphème is a 1922 French opera by Jean Cras based on a poem by Albert Samain, on the classical story of Acis and Galatea.