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Nicola Porpora Polifemo

Dramma per musica in three acts (1735)
Libretto by Paolo Rolli

Sung in Italian with German and English surtitles

Semi-staged performance


  • 08 June, 15:00

Print programme (PDF)


George Petrou, Conductor
Max Emanuel Cencic, Director
Alois Glaßner, Chorus Master


Yuriy Mynenko, Aci
Max Emanuel Cencic, Ulisse
Pavel Kudinov, Polifemo
Julia Lezhneva, Galatea
Dilyara Idrisova, Nerea
Nian Wang, Calipso

Armonia Atenea
Bachchor Salzburg


He was Farinelli’s teacher and a rival to Handel and Hasse. As one of the most dazzling figures in the firmament of Baroque music, Nicola Porpora was a crucial driver in the development of opera during the first half of the 18th century. He was active in Italy (predominantly in his hometown of Naples) as well as London, Dresden and Vienna, not always acting with great decorum towards his fellow composers, but invariably bent on advancing simple beauty in musical form. He had an expert understanding of the singing voice, in terms of both its training and how to use it effectively. In early 1735, he wrote an opera seria for the Opera of the Nobility, which had been set up in the British capital expressly as a rival company to Handel’s operatic empire. The resulting work, Polifemo, was premiered with the famous castrato Farinelli in the role of Aci.

Paolo Rolli’s libretto is based on two well-known Greek myths, each connected to the Cyclops Polyphemus: the story of the nymph Galatea and the shepherd Acis, as well as the encounter with Ulysses, which pans out rather unfavourably for the one-eyed giant. Porpora created music of great expressive power and virtuosity for this colourful assortment of scenes, which made a distinct impact on audiences of the time.

Kragenparadiesvogel, aus: René Primevère Lesson, Histoire naturelle des oiseaux de paradis et des epimagues., © Bibliotheque Municipale, Valenciennes/De Agostini Picture Library/G. Dagli Orti/Bridgeman Images.


The events for Whitsun 2019 can already be purchased online as subscriptions. Individual tickets are available online from October 15, 2018.

Download: Programme Folder Salzburg Whitsun Festival 2019