The Gentle Shepherd (published 1725) is the first Scottish opera. Written in Edinburgh by 18th century poet Allan Ramsay, it is unique amongst operas -- all the music is based in the Scottish fiddle and folk tunes! It features heartfelt ballads and foot-stomping traditional dance music, and fuses traditional Scottish fiddling with the Italian Baroque style. Just like a German singspiel (e.g. Mozart's The Magic Flute), the show features Ramsay's poetry through spoken dialogue and "arias" set to well-known Scottish folk tunes.
This BBE production gives audiences a rare treat. For those living in North America, the show was last performed in Philadelphia in 1792, and has been seldom performed anywhere over the past 200 years. (So, you can think of it like a re-premiere!) The show features a 16-member ensemble of singers, instrumentalists, and actors from Chicago. Instrumentalists will perform on 200+ year old instruments and replicas of original period instruments. Audiences will feel as though they are traveling through time to hear the opera as concert-goers might have heard it in 1725.