Acis et Galatée

Acis et Galatée (Acis and Galatea) is an opera by Jean-Baptiste Lully. Unlike most of his operas, which are designated tragédies en musique, Lully called this work a pastorale-héroïque, because it was on a pastoral theme and had only three acts (plus a prologue) compared to the usual five. Otherwise, there is little musically or dramatically to distinguish it from Lully's tragédies.

Lully did not work with his usual collaborator, Philippe Quinault, because he was no longer doing theatrical work. Jean Galbert de Campistron wrote the French libretto after the story in Ovid's Metamorphoses. The same story was also to inspire a dramatic work by Handel, Acis and Galatea. The opera was commissioned by Louis Joseph, duc de Vendôme in honor of Louis, le Grand Dauphin.

Performance history

It was premiered by the Académie Royale de Musique (Paris Opera) at the Château d'Anet on 6 September 1686 (without machines) and later at the Théâtre du Palais-Royal in Paris on 17 September 1686.


Role Voice type Premiere cast, 6 September 1686
Galatea, a sea nymph soprano Marie Le Rochois
Acis, a mortal haute-contre Louis Gaulard Dumesny
Poliphème (Polyphemus), a monster basse-taille Jean Dun (called Dun père)
Neptune bass


The story is of a love triangle between the three main characters—Acis, Galatea, and Poliphème. Poliphème murders Acis out of jealousy, but Acis is revived and turned into a river by Neptune.[1]

Selected recording

  • Lully: Acis & Galatée (Fouchécourt, Gens, Naouri, Crook, Delunsch, Félix, Masset; Les Musiciens du Louvre; Conductor Minkowski). Archiv (1998).


  1. Roscow
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