Afternoon at the Opera

Acis and Galatea

A painting of the Acis and Galatea opera.

Wikimedia Commons

Acis and Galatea is a masque, a form of stage work popular in England before opera. It was composed by George Frederik Handel, and first performed in 1731. Based on Ovid's Metamorphoses, this work has the familiar love triangle. Acis and Galatea are lovers, but the giant Polyphemus also loves Galatea. Polyphemus and crushes Acis under a rock, but the gods then change Acis into a stream. The best known number is Polyphemus' aria, Ruddier Than The Cherry.