Acis and Galatea HWV 49a
Handel set the myth about the love of the shepherd Acis for the sea nymph Galatea from Ovid’s Metamorphoses a total of three times: in the cantataAci, Galatea e Polifemo HWV 72 (1708) (BA4068), the masque Acis and Galatea HWV 49a (1718) (BA4039) and finally the pasticcio-like serenata Acis and Galatea HWV 49b (1732) (BA10700).
This species of stage work was related tothe early eighteenth-century English masque by virtue of its choral numbers and straightforward formal design, and to the Italian serenata due to its use of one voice to a part in the choruses. In the England of Handel’sdayit was given a multitude of generic names: besides “masques”, such works were often called “little operas”, “English operas” or “pastoral operas” (the term “serenata”had not yet entered English parlance). Handel himself did not specify the genre of Acis and Galatea in his autograph score, and probably as a result uncertainty arose among copyists, printers and performers as to the work’sproper designation, for it has come down to us with a confusing array of generic titles. Handel wrote the piece for James Brydges (1674–1744), Earl of Carnarvon and later Duke of Chandos, at whose country estate in Cannonsthe composer spent the years 1717 and 1718.
- Urtext of the Halle handel Edition
- Full score (BA4039) and vocal score (BA4039-90) available for sale
- performance material (BA4039-72) available for sale