November 8, 7:30pm
November 10, 2:30pm
The Egyptian Theatre
Music by Jules Massenet
Libretto by Henri Meilhac and Philippe Gille
Based on the 1731 novel L’istoire du chevalier des Grieux et de Manon Lescaut by Abbé Prévost
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Opera Idaho joins Boise Baroque Orchestra (BBO) and its newly appointed artistic advisor Robert Franz for a semi-staged opera by George Frederick Handel, the most well-known of all Baroque composers. Acis & Galatea is the composer’s most popular dramatic work and has remained in the opera repertory continuously since its premiere in 1718. It is the first Handel opera produced in Opera Idaho’s 47-year history. Opera Idaho and BBO last collaborated to present Gluck’s Orpheus in 2014.
Tenor Karim Sulayman, winner of the 2019 Grammy Award for Best Classical Solo Vocal Album, performs the role of Acis. Young Artist soprano Cara Gabrielson performs the role of Galatea. Franz led Opera Idaho’s West Side Story in Concert (2018) and, as then-music director of the Boise Philharmonic, Faust (2009). Canadian director Erin Armstrong makes her Opera Idaho debut.
A group of youths and nymphs celebrate their carefree life and the joys of nature. Among their number is Galatea, who cannot join in their happiness as she is separated from her love Acis. She attempts to persuade the birds to cease their cheerful song as they awaken her desire for him.
Elsewhere, Acis is seeking his Galatea. His friend Damon tries to persuade him to abandon his search and join his fellows in their celebrations. But Acis now sees Galatea and and praises her beauty. The two are reunited and declare their love for each other.
But their happiness is short-lived. The giant Polyphemus comes stalking through the forest, intent on having Galatea for himself, but she rejects his advances. Damon advises Polyphemus to be more gentle in his wooing. But Acis leaps to Galatea’s defence. Damon once more reminds him that love is fleeting, but Galatea interrupts him and declares her constancy to Acis.
The two now declare their fidelity to each other, but the jealous Polyphemus interrupts them. He hurls a rock at Acis and kills him.
The young people mourn his death, and are joined in lamentation by Galatea. They try to comfort her, and remind her that with her divine powers she can save Acis. Galatea summons her powers and transforms the lifeless Acis into a beautiful fountain.