Acis and Galatea: BIF Digital

Tue 3 August 2021

Acis and Galatea: BIF Digital Festival 2021

Online version via pay per view – available to watch until 31 October 2021 

George Frideric Handel (1685 –1759)

A co-production with the Buxton International Festival and the Early Opera Company

**** “Christian Curnyn’s Early Opera Company brings a lovely grace to Handel’s score.” Rebecca Franks, The Times

Jealousy and devotion lie at the heart of Handel’s adaptation of Ovid’s classic tale of eternal love, Acis and Galatea. The sea nymph Galatea pledges herself to the mortal shepherd, Acis, but their idyllic existence is torn apart when the envious cyclops, Polyphemus, arrives to claim Galatea as his own. While Mount Etna shakes, he crushes Acis to death with a boulder. Reminded of her divine power, Galatea transforms her beloved’s gushing blood into a bubbling spring, the source of the River Aci and the two lovers are reunited forever in the Sicilian sea.

Having already set the story to music in Naples (1708), Handel returned to it with entirely new music for an English masque as an entertainment hosted by the Earl of Carnarvon at his country estate in midsummer 1718. It was his first dramatic work in the English language.

Baroque specialists Christian Curnyn and the Early Opera Company bring this popular dramatic work to Buxton after winning the opera category of the BBC Music Magazine Awards in 2019 for their exquisite recording of Acis and Galatea. Director Martin Constantine has gained five-star reviews for his work with Longborough Festival Opera and Welsh National Opera. His production of Paul Bunyan, for WNO, won an RPS Award and was nominated for a South Bank Sky Arts Award.

Described by The Times as a ’delectable soprano and a serene, ever-sentient presence’, Anna Dennis is especially noted for her work in Modern and Baroque repertoire. Previous opera stages include Royal Opera House, English National
Opera, La Scala, Göttingen and Aldeburgh.

Tenor Samuel Boden has developed an international opera and concert career with triumphs in the fields of early and contemporary music, with recent roles at Royal Opera House, Dutch National Opera, Hamburg State Opera, Opéra de Lyon and Nederlandse Reisopera.

“Samuel Boden’s tenor was gorgeously golden” (Bachtrack)

Libretto by John Gay. Sung in English with side-titles.

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Watch the Acis and Galatea opera talk



Creatives & Cast

Christian Curnyn Conductor

Martin Constantine Director

Anisha Fields Designer

Ben Pickersgill Lighting Designer

Helen Wills Producer

May Howard-Shigeno Stage Manager

Marienella Phillips Associate Director


Anna Dennis Galatea

Sam Boden Acis

Jorge Navarro Colorado Damon/Coridon

Edward Grint Polyphemus

David de Winter Chorus