Zur Überlieferung von Händels Acis and Galathea in Italien

In: Venetiana. 11

Janz, Zur Überlieferung von Händels Acis and Galathea in Italien
The discussion is focused on Aci, Galatea e Polifemo (HWV 72), performed at Naples on 19 July 1707 for the wedding festivities of the Duke d’Alvito (libretto by Nicola Giuvo, after Ovid’s Metamorphoses). Ten years later, in summer 1718, Handel composed a masque at Cannons, Acis and Galathea (HWV 49a), to a libretto by John Gay; this was expanded in 1732 as a three-act opera with English and Italian texts (HWV 49b). The versions differ considerably. The parodies and parody techniques are here briefly sketched. Of particular interest is the discovery of two volumes of duets in the Fondo San Vitale at the Parma Conservatoire library. These volumes, dated 1770 and 1790, belonged to the Quilici family of musicians in Lucca. The 1790 collection contains a version of the opening chorus of the Cannons masque, «O the Pleasure of the Plains». This raises some questions. Was there a properly independent Handelian tradition in Italy, or was the music re-imported? And how, for example, should the indication «coro e ballo» be considered?