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Title: Pimmalione  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Mr Simigdáli, A Mulher Invisível, Pintosmalto, Pygmalion (opera), Galatea, or Pygmalion Reversed
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Pimmalione (Pygmalion) is an opera in one act by Luigi Cherubini, first performed at the Théâtre des Tuileries, Paris on 30 November 1809. The libretto is an adaptation by Stefano Vestris of Antonio Simone Sografi's Italian translation of the text Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote for his scène lyrique Pygmalion (1770). It is based on the Classical legend of the sculptor Pygmalion.

Pimmalione was specially commissioned by the Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte to show off the talents of two of his favourite singers, the famous castrato Girolamo Crescentini and the contralto Giuseppina Grassini (who had been Napoleon's lover). It was first given in a private performance at the emperor's palace, Les Tuileries. Napoleon was delighted with the work and offered Cherubini a large reward and a commission for another piece.


Role Voice type Premiere cast, 1 September 1810
Pimmalione (Pygmalion) castrato (soprano) Girolamo Crescentini
Galatea soprano Luise Augustine Hymm
Venere (Venus) contralto Giuseppina Grassini
Amore (Cupid) castrato (soprano) Carlo Vestris


The sculptor Pygmalion falls in love with his own work, a statue of Galatea. He prays to the gods of love Venus and Cupid to release him from his passion. While he sleeps, Galatea's statue comes to life, dances and falls in love with Pygmalion. Pygmalion and Galatea celebrate their wedding in the palace of Venus.



  • Amadeus Online (in Italian)
  • Deane, Basil, Cherubini, New York: Oxford University Press, 1965
  • Del Teatro (in Italian)
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