Magazine article Opera Canada

Acis and Galatea

Magazine article Opera Canada

Acis and Galatea

Article excerpt

Handel's take on the Greek myth of Acis and Galatea received a refreshingly twenty-first century approach by re:Naissance Opera and Sound the Alarm: Music/Theatre at the Annex Theatre in downtown Vancouver on September 16. Collaborating with Helsinki's Ensemble Nylandia led by Matias Hakkinen from the harpsichord, a vibrant group of young artists presented a tight, coherent, riveting read of a classic Baroque opera.

The original plot involves Galatea, a sea nymph who loves the young shepherd, Acis. The one-eyed monster, Polyphemus, lusts after her and eventually kills Acis with a rock. Galatea, being a goddess, is saved, and turns Acis into a stream so that he might always be part of her ocean.

The simple set consisted of five deciduous trees anchored to the earth by sinuous snake-like roots. An Arcadian picture emerged of friends enjoying a picnic, relishing their freedom from sexual stereotypes by removing and swapping clothing. In mezzo-soprano Debi Wong and Director/Producer Alan Corbishleys' re-working of the tale, Galatea (soprano Rachel Fenlon) fears her husband, Polyphemus, as she is in love with Acis (Wong), a woman in this adaptation. …

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