Out of context, the names Acis and Galatea might have the ring of comic book characters belonging to a fictional alien place. Actually, that may not be too far off the mark in Handel’s early 18th-century utterly charming work based on a Greek myth concerning the love between the shepherd Acis and semi-divine water nymph Galatea.

Acis and Galatea IOpera

Simply put, after a good measure of pining by each, Acis and Galatea are reunited after having been separated (Act One). Their happiness is short lived, however. The giant Polyphemus wants Galatea as his own, intervening during the lovers’ declaration of constancy and killing Acis with a blow to the head by a rock. Reminded of her divine powers, to save him, Galatea transforms Acis into a fountain in order to delight in its waters for eternity (Act Two).

Yes, opera is back on the stage playing to a live audience again in Melbourne with year-end festivities being enhanced by IOpera’s entertaining frolic through an Arcadian setting garlanded...