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Music Text

Libretto by Stefano Vestris, based on Antonio Simone Sografi's Italian version of Jean-Jacques Rousseau's 'Pygmalion'; English version by Joseph Horovitz (I,E)


2S,M(or A),CT(or M); small mixed chorus; dancers; players)

Abbreviations (PDF)


Anton J. Benjamin / Simrock

This work is available from Boosey & Hawkes for the world.



PYGMALION Countertenor (or Mezzo-Soprano)
VENUS Mezzo-Soprano (or Alto)
AMOR (CUPID) (Boy) Soprano
Sculptors small male chorus
Nymphs, graces, heavenly retinue mixed chorus
Time and Place

A sculptor's studio; later: in the mythical region of Venus


The melancholy sculptor, Pygmalion, is full of doubts about this own talent and seems to have lost the ability to breathe life into stone. Having sent his assistant sculptors away, he emasculates himself and directs his attentions towards the object of his current work, the statue of Galatea. Touching it, he startles for he thinks that he has seen the figure’s limbs move. Pygmalion’s artistic zeal pours forth again and his longing for his work makes him forget fame and all other passions that ever inspired him before. Tormented by a feeling of powerless love, he calls on Venus for help. Celestial sounds calm him down. While he is slumbering the goddess appears, followed by Amor and the Graces, and animates the statue. When Pygmalion wakes up, he sinks into Galatea’s arms. In Venus’s presence, the lovers celebrate their marriage.



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