George Frideric Handel, Acis and Galatea

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Acis and Galatea

(1718) is a masque by George Frideric Handel. It comprised his first major setting of an English text, which was provided by John Gay and his friends (though the authorial responsibility for any given section is uncertain). The work was subsequently described as a serenata, a pastoral, and an oratorio. Earlier in Naples the composer had made another setting for Italian words in



Galatea e Polifimo

(1708), using the same plot based on Ovid’s


, 13: 750–897. It concerns the fate of a Nereid from Sicily, told in her own words to Scylla, after her lover the young shepherd Acis was killed by a rock discharged by the ugly giant Polyphemus, who had himself desired her. The Latin source has Acis turned into a mountain stream, while the masque substitutes a…

1360 words

Citation: Rogers, Pat. "Acis and Galatea". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 20 April 2021 [, accessed 23 February 2024.]

6860 Acis and Galatea 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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