Buxton International Festival

Acis & Galatea

Buxton Opera Housebutton--dates-and-timesDates & Times

A Buxton International Festival co-production with Early Opera Company

George Frideric Handel (1685–1759)

Jealousy and devotion lie at the heart of Handel’s adaptation of Ovid’s classic tale of eternal love, Acis and Galatea. The sea nymph Galatea pledges herself to the mortal shepherd, Acis, but their idyllic existence is torn apart when the envious cyclops, Polyphemus, arrives to claim Galatea for his own. While Mount Etna shakes, he crushes Acis to death with a boulder. Reminded of her divine power, Galatea transforms her beloved’s gushing blood into a bubbling spring, the source of the River Aci, and the two lovers are reunited forever in the Sicilian sea.

Having already set the story to music in Naples (1708), Handel returned to it with entirely new music for an English masque as an entertainment hosted by the Earl of Carnarvon at his country estate, in midsummer 1718. It was his first dramatic work in the English language.

Baroque specialists Christian Curnyn and the Early Opera Company bring this popular dramatic work to Buxton after winning the opera category of the BBC Music Magazine Awards in 2019 for their exquisite recording of Acis and Galatea. Director Martin Constantine has gained five-star reviews for his work with Longborough Festival Opera and Welsh National Opera (WNO). His production of Paul Bunyan, for WNO, won a Royal Philharmonia Society Award and was nominated for a South Bank Sky Arts Award.

Described by The Times as a ’delectable soprano and a serene, ever-sentient presence’, Anna Dennis is especially noted for her work in Modern and Baroque repertoire. Previous opera stages include Royal Opera House, English National Opera, La Scala, Göttingen and Aldeburgh.

Nick Pritchard is currently both a Samling Artist and a member of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment’s ‘Rising Stars’ scheme. 

Libretto by John Gay. Sung in English with side-titles.

Sponsored by Longcliffe

Christian Curnyn Conductor
Martin ConstantinDirector
Anisha Fields Designer
Ben Pickersgill Lighting Designer
Helen Wills Producer
May Howard-Shigeno Stage Manager
Marienella Phillips Associate Director


Anna Dennis Galatea
Sam Boden Acis
Jorge Navarro Colorado Damon/Coridon
Edward Grint Polyphemus
David de Winter Chorus

  • Duration: 1hr 50mins (includes interval)
  • Price: £25-£78



Under 35s: £10 (for Next Gen Friends of BIF, from 1 June. Proof of age required.)