Pygmalion
  • Jiří Antonín (Georg) Benda. Melodramma (Monodrama) in one act. 1779.
  • Libretto by Friedrich Wilhelm Gotter, after Jean-Jacques Rousseau.
  • First performance at the Hoftheater, Gotha, on 20th September 1779.

Pygmalion, having renounced women, is in love with the statue he has made, his Galatea. Venus allows her to come to life, giving him final happiness.

Benda’s melodramas make interesting and influential use of speech and accompanying music, a practice that impressed Mozart and found its place in later opera, and, to some extent, in cinema, where music has been used to accompany and heighten speech and dramatic action.