A Tale of Divine Love and the River Spirit Acis y Galatea—A Spanish Baroque Semi-Staged Comic Opera December 28, 2019 at 4 pm – Saint James Place, Great Barrington, MA December 29, 2019 at 4 pm – Methodist Church, Lakeville, CT
Antonio de Líteres’s “Acis y Galatea” (1708) is a zarzuela in two acts with a libretto by José de Cañizares. The work quickly became one of the most famous of zarzuelas, the Spanish popular music-drama form that flourished in the late Baroque. Zarzuelas were a blend of sung and spoken episodes, usually performed by women actors who took both male and female roles, featuring characters that often are a mixture of gods, mythological creatures and rustic or pastoral comedy characters. This work tells of the love between mortal Acis and the sea-nymph Galatea. Líteres brilliantly weaves together Italianate da capo arias, French sung minuets, and Spanish seguidillas (sung popular dances). The singers are accompanied by traditional Baroque instruments and castanets, which give a typical Spanish flavor.
A small group of ensemble singers act as a traditional ‘Greek Chorus’, commenting in fast-moving and rhythmical choruses on the dramatic action. Salomé Sandoval, mezzo soprano (Acis), Baroque guitar, percussion and co-director, Catherine Hancock, soprano (Galatea), Malina Rauschenfels, mezzo soprano (Tisbe), Roman Testroet, baritone (Momo), Tom Schindler, (Polyphemo), are joined by Crescendo’s Vocal Ensemble Singers, and period instrument players Tricia Van Oers, recorder, Christa Patton, recorder and Baroque harp, Hideki Yamaya, Baroque guitar. Christine Gevert leads this semi-staged performance from the harpsichord.