Pygmalion (opera)

Pygmalion is a monodrama in one act by composer Georg Benda with a German libretto by Friedrich Wilhelm Gotter. The opera's first performance was at the Ekhof Theater, the court theatre in Gotha, on September 20, 1779. Pygmalion was the fourth of the five theatrical collaborations of Benda and Gotter. Gotter based his text on Jean-Jacques Rousseau's 1762 play Pygmalion. Benda's melodrama is unusual as it has three characters but only one spoken role. Two of the parts are silently acted on stage.[1]


Role Voice type Premiere cast,
September 20, 1779
(Conductor: – )
Pygmalion speaking role
Venus silent role
Galatea silent role


Pygmalion, having renounced women, is in love with the statue he has made, his Galatea. Venus allows her to come to life, giving him final happiness.


  • Benda Melodramas: Ariadne auf Naxos/Pygmalion with conductor Christian Benda and the Prague Chamber Orchestra. Cast: Brigitte Quadlbauer (Ariadne) and Peter Uray (Pygmalion). Released in 1996 on the Naxos label.


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