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date: 23 August 2019

Acis y Galatea (‘Acis and Galatea’)locked

  • Louise K. Stein

Extract

(‘Acis and Galatea’)

Zarzuela in two acts with music by Antonio de Literes to a libretto by José de Cañizares; Madrid, Alcázar palace or Coliseo del Buen Retiro, 19 December 1708.

A partly sung zarzuela on the story of Acis, Galatea and Polifemo [Polyphemus], it was composed for King Philip V’s birthday and performed by the combined companies of Joseph Garcés and Juan Bautista Chavarría. The characters also include Doris, Glauco [Glaucus], Tisbe [Thisbe], Telemo [Telemus], Momo [Momus] and Tíndaro [Tyndareus], as well as choruses. In the original cast only Polyphemus, Telemus and Tyndareus were played by men. After its first performance at court, the work entered the repertory of the public theatres in Madrid when the company of Garcés performed it in the Teatro del Príncipe for an extended run in January 1710. Subsequent revivals in 1713, 1714, 1721, 1725 and 1727 were largely successful, such that the work may represent Madrid’s most popular zarzuela of the first half of the 18th century. In style it exemplifies the hybrid nature of the early 18th century zarzuela in its absorption of foreign musical forms and procedures within Spanish musical-theatrical conventions. It is also typical of Literes’s theatrical scores in its restricted use of recitative and juxtaposition of set pieces in traditional Spanish style with expressly italianate arias....

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