Handel’s Acis and Galatea

BEMF Recordings

Handel: Acis and Galatea

Recorded during the same sessions as BEMF’s GRAMMY-winning CD of Charpentier’s Orphée, Acis and Galatea features the original 1718 chamber version of Handel’s cherished pastoral opera.

Musical Directors Paul O’Dette and Stephen Stubbs lead the acclaimed cast reunited from BEMF’s 2009 production, with Aaron Sheehan, Teresa Wakim, Douglas Williams, Jason McStoots, and Zachary Wilder. BEMF Orchestra Director Robert Mealy leads the ten-member BEMF Chamber Ensemble and BEMF Opera Director Gilbert Blin serves as Drama Coach on the 2-CD set, which also features Handel’s solo cantata Sarei troppo felice with soprano Amanda Forsythe.

While Acis and Galatea is familiar to modern audiences in Handel’s 1739 two-act version, the 1718 version was Handel’s first dramatic work in English when it was presented as a one-act masque at the idyllic estate at Cannons, home of the composer’s patron James Brydges, the Duke of Chandos. Written as a courtly entertainment about the simplicity of rural life, Acis and Galatea contains a significant amount of wit and self-parody, depicting the love affair between the nymph Galatea and the shepherd Acis, whose reunion is thwarted by the monster Polyphemus.

“The musical direction of Paul O’Dette and Stephen Stubbs strikes an intelligent balance between sheer delectability and the astute dramatisation of moods,”

—Gramophone

“Teresa Wakim has that pure, winsome timbre you want in your average nymph.”

—Gramophone

“Fast-paced and light on its feet… the singing and the playing are exceptional.”

—The Whole Note

Video

Scenes from the 2009 production. Video by Kathy Wittman of Ball Square Films.