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Maggio Fiorentino, Lulli's Acis et Galatée premiered in Italy 336 years after his debut
On the podium Federico Maria Sardelli, directed by Benjamin Lazar, the Maggio Orchestra will play on original instruments
Organized by: Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino Foundation

Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino Foundation Presents

The Maggio Musicale Fiorentino reconquers the Baroque repertoire and pays homage to one of the most illustrious sons of Florence, the great composer, as well as extraordinary dancer Giovanni Battista Lulli, very little remembered at home but still famous today in France with the name Jean-Baptiste Lully.

Born in Florence the November 28 of the 1632, Giovanni Battista Lulli arrived at the age of 14 in France in the service of the Duchess Anna Maria Luisa d'Orléans and made a fortune at the court of the Sun King, with whom he had a privileged relationship. At first dancer and 'compositeur de la musique instrumentale' of the king, in 1661 Louis XIV named him 'Surintendant of the music of the chambre du roi ' also granting him the coveted French naturalization. Became Jean-Baptiste Lully, finally in 1672 with 'letter patent' he received from Luigi the privilege for the establishment of a 'Académie Royale de Musique. Lulli / Lully thus became the undisputed ruler of the musical life of France at the time, and above all the creator of a national opera tradition: with the tragédie-lyrique the Florentine Giovanni Battista Lulli had given life to the great French Baroque work.

And at the end of the operatic program of the84th Festival of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, the July 4, 2022 (at 8 pm, Sala Zubin Mehta) the last opera completed by Lulli, la pastoral-héroïque Acis et Galatée of the 1686, never represented in Italy so far. After the first, three other performances are planned, the 6 and 11 July 2022 at 20 and on July 9 at 18.

On the podium, at the helm of the Choir is ofOrchestra of the Maggio the teacher Federico Maria Sardelli, which returns to the Florentine theater after Rinaldo by Handel of September 2020; the direction is signed by Benjamin Lazar, the scenes are from Adeline Caron, the costumes are edited by Alain Blanchot, the lights from Christophe Naillet and the choreography from Gudrun Skamletz.

The cast on stage, characterized by numerous debuts, is formed by Jean François Lombard in the role of Acis, Elena Harsányi in the role of Galatée, Luigi De Donato like Polyphème; Guido Loconsolo will be Neptune, as they play multiple roles Sebastien Monti (Apollon, Télème, Le Prêtre de Junon), Mark van Arsdale (Comus, Tircis), Valeria La Grotto (Diane, Deuxième Naïade, Scylla), Francesca Lombardi Mazzulli (L'Abondance, Aminte, Première Naïade); in the end Francesca Longari will be Une Dryade, Davide Piva, A Sylvain. Choir Master is Lorenzo Fratini.

L'Orchestra of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino in this new production will play on original instruments, of which was provided specifically for this occasion.

Acis et Galatée, work on libretto by Jean Galbert de Campistron, is the last completed work of Giovanni Battista Lulli. After decades dedicated to the tragédie lyrique, a genre he himself inaugurated, in 1686 Lully concluded his long theatrical career with a pastorale-héroïque, an intermediate genre that combined divine and mortal characters, nobles and shepherds on the stage, commissioned by the Duke of Vendôme to pay homage to the Dauphin of France as a guest in the castle of Anet. The libretto is inspired by the legend of Aci and Galatea described in book XIII of Ovid's Metamorphoses. The shepherd Aci loves, in return, the nymph of the waters Galatea, but also the monstrous Cyclops Polyphemus loves the nymph and seeing himself rejected kills Aci out of jealousy, crushing him under a rock. However, thanks to the intervention of the god Neptune, Aci will be brought back to life and transformed into a river. While engaging in a minor genre, which is divided into only three acts compared to the canonical five of the tragédies lyriques and includes a smaller number of musical numbers, Lully does not renounce the courtly tone that characterizes all his major production. In Acis et Galatée the declamation is always extremely accurate and attentive to every inflection of the verse as well as the music, which has the same sumptuous and impressive tones of the great tragédies. For these reasons the work received the applause of the public right from the start, entering by right into the history of French musical theater.

Master explains Federico Maria Sardelli: "Gian Battista Lulli I call him with his Italian name and not because of parochialism or nationalism, but because Lulli lived the first 14 years of his life in Florence and Florence, and Italy in general, has forgotten his son. Today, with this production, he returns to his homeland in a rather sumptuous way, a way finally worthy of all he has left us. In France it is performed regularly, the country where it found its fortune and created French Baroque music; France, at least until the revolution, was imbued with his very strong imprint, so it is right that the French consider him their son and celebrate him. But we Italians must also remember this giant. Otherwise we have a hole. We have Monteverdi in the first half of the seventeenth century and in the second half there is this marvel that was Gian Battista Lulli. Making a comparison, it would be almost like forgetting Gianlorenzo Bernini. Fortunately - continues Sardelli - the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino and the superintendent Pereira wanted to make this productive effort, which consists not only of programming such a difficult, so particular title, but of equipping the Maggio Orchestra for the first time in its history. Florentine musical of original instruments, period instruments, and this is a historic step. It allows you to begin to regain the entire early eighteenth-century and seventeenth-century repertoire and also be able to perform it with this team. "

Benjamin Lazar, on his directorial debut at the Teatro del Maggio, and on the occasion of his first Florentine staging he said: “For me it is a great honor to be part of this production in Florence, precisely the city of Lulli. I believe that this work, the last written by the composer, is a real masterpiece: it is splendid to see how we pass, within Acis et Galatée, from tragic moments to comic and more relaxing moments. Together with them, despite being the short work as a whole, we also find touching and sentimental moments, which make this pastorale heroique a real manifesto of human emotions in music. Thanks also to the collaboration with Adeline Caron, the set designer, we have almost “created” a mythology, as if it were suspended between our time and the era of opera. The singers and their movements will also be linked to this concept: we have "combined" modern gestures and movements with the 17th and 18th century way of acting, also and above all physical, thus creating a bridge between these two worlds. "

The new production of Acis et Galatée of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino constitutes thepreview of a larger project, created by the same Federico Maria Sardelli and his disciple Samuele Lastrucci and endorsed by the Municipality of Florence and by the Mayor Dario Nardella, an initiative that provides for the establishment of the Gianbattista Lulli institute in Hall of the Lilies of Palazzo Vecchio in September, and the making of a first big event in November for the 390th anniversary of Lulli's birth, as well as study days, concert and opera productions, recordings. Project partners are the Center de Musique Baroque de Versailles, the Common and the Metropolitan City of Florence, the Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, the Institut Français of Florence, the University of Florence, the baroque orchestra Antiquo way and the ensemble The Musicians of the Grand Prince.

Emphasize again Sardelli, "Together with the Mayor and superintendent Pereira, at the Center de Musique Baroque de Versailles, the French Institute in Florence, the University, studying the life and scores of Lulli, and performing his works, we want to create a virtuous combination of cultural bodies that will dedicate themselves to this project. "


(In the image above, a moment of the rehearsals, photo Michele Monasta -Maggio Fiorentino, below Giovanni Battista Lulli, portrait of Paul Mignard)  


For the cycle "Beyond the curtain", Friday July 1 at 17.30 John Vitali, in charge of the cultural promotion of the Maggio, will talk about the work. The meeting will take place in the Foyer of the Theater gallery with the participation of the Artists of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino Academy.


Thanks to the CR Firenze Foundation, the performance of 11.07.2022 is on sale with a 50% discount on tickets for each sector.
Maggio Fiorentino, Lulli's Acis et Galatée premiered in Italy 336 years after his debut


Concert master and conductor
Federico Maria Sardelli

Direction Benjamin Lazar
Scenes Adeline Caron
Costumes Alain Blanchot
Lights Christophe Naillet
Choreography Gudrun Skamletz

Chorus and Orchestra of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino
Choir Master Lorenzo Fratini

Acis Jean François Lombard
Galatée Elena Harsányi
Polyphème Luigi De Donato
Apollon, Télème, Le Prêtre de Junon
Sebastien Monti
Neptune Guido Loconsolo
Comus, Tircis Mark van Arsdale
Diane, Deuxième Naïade, Scylla
Valeria La Grotta
L'Abondance, Aminte, Première Naïade
Francesca Lombardi Mazzulli
Une Dryade Francesca Longari
A Sylvain Davide Piva


Giovanni Battista Lulli
Acis et Galatée

libretto by Jean Galbert de Campistron


04 July at 8pm first performance
06 July at 8pm
July 9th at 6pm July 11th at 8pm

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