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  • Waldron Arts Center (Rose Firebay Theater) (map)
  • 122 South Walnut Street
  • Bloomington, IN, 47404
  • United States

Melodies of the Highlands

The Bach and Beethoven Ensemble joins Alchymy Viols to present a program of Scottish music entitled "Melodies of the Highlands" at the Bloomington Early Music Festival. Featured prominently in this program are staged scenes from Allan Ramsay’s The Gentle Shepherd, Scotland’s first opera (1725). Last seen in Philadelphia in 1798, the show was (re)premiered in North America in September 2016 by the BBE and members of Alchymy Viols. (This is not your grandmother’s grandmother’s granny’s opera!) The Gentle Shepherd is a charming comedy of shepherds and their lassies, featuring light-hearted folk tunes, wistful ballads, and foot-stomping pub-band music. This program in the 70-seat Firebay Theater is free to the public.      

The selected scenes featured in this performance will highlight the following roles: Countertenor Thomas Aláan as Patie, the gentle shepherd; soprano Alexandra Olsavsky as Peggy, Patie’s sweetheart; and mezzo-soprano Lindsey Adams as Jenny, friend and “sister figure” of Patie and Peggy. Instrumentalists include Brandi Berry and Tim Macdonald (baroque violin), Leighann Daihl (traverso), Jeremy Ward (bass violin), Erica Rubis (lyra viol), and Phil Spray (viol, lute, baroque guitar).

Alchymy Viols’ members represent some of the country’s finest players of the viola da gamba.  In just its first season, Alchymy is already attracting attention from local audiences, media, and major funders.  For Melodies of the Highlands, Alchymy will focus on the intimate, unique lyra-viol played by Erica Rubis. For more information visit Alchymy Viols on Facebook.

Video from the Chicago (re)Premiere

Patie (Thomas Aláan) and Peggy (Alexandra Olsavsky) sing about love and their wedding day, and - oh my! - Patie tries to catch a kiss (or two) from Peggy who isn't having it!

Jenny (Lindsey Adams) has been holding out, but after much goading from Peggy (Alexandra Olsavsky), she confesses that yes, indeed, she's in love with Roger in this song, "I yield, dear lassie, you have won."

Peggy (Alexandra Olsavsky) and Jenny (Lindsey Adams) are washing clothes when Peggy bursts into song, anticipating her wedding day! Thanks to Andrae Calderon (Tribeca Flashpoint College) for mastering the recording, "How shall I be sad."

Everyone is awed as they discover Peggy is of noble birth, and Sir William approves of Patie and Peggy's love. Peggy - "the best singer in this room" - leads the town in celebration.

Mause (played by Margaret Fox) discovers that Sir William Worthy has returned, and the local nymphs (portrayed by the Thistle and Heather Highland Dancers) frolic to her song.

Pepe the Sheep is the official mascot of the BBE's production of The Gentle Shepherd. Find out how, and from whom, he got his name in this video from the first week of rehearsal!

The Bloomington Early Music Festival Cast