The Gentle Shepherd

The story of The Gentle Shepherd begins in the Scottish Lowlands, just outside of Edinburgh. Patie (the gentle shepherd) and Peggy are happily in love, while Roger finds himself in a game of cat and mouse with Jenny. Patie receives a mysterious visit from his estranged father disguised as fortune teller, who “foretells” that he will become royalty before dramatically unveiling his identity as Sir William. The reunion between father and son is bittersweet, as Sir William forbids Patie to marry Peggy, a lowly commoner. But all ends happily, as Peggy is revealed to be of noble blood and she and Patie are married, and Roger and Jenny are finally united.

About the Show

Written in Edinburgh by poet Allan Ramsay, The Gentle Shepherd (1725) is considered to be the first Scottish opera. However, compared to most operas, the show is unique in that the music fuses Scottish folk and fiddle music with Italian Baroque music, creating heartfelt ballads and foot-stomping dance tunes. Just like a German singspiel (e.g. Mozart's The Magic Flute), the show features Ramsay's beautifully (and humorous) poetry through spoken dialogue and "arias" set to well-known Scottish folk tunes. 

The BBE Production

Seldom performed anywhere over the past 200 years, the show was last performed in North America in Philadelphia in 1798... until now! The BBE gave the North American (re)premiere of the work in Chicago at the Old Town School of Folk Music (September 24) and Theater Wit (September 25). A 19-member ensemble of singers, dancers, instrumentalists, and actors played to sold out crowds, and instrumentalists performed on 200+ year old instruments and replicas of original period instruments. The (re)premiere caught the attention of WFMT Chicago, the Chicago Tribune, the RedEye, and Early Music America.

The Gentle Shepherd Media

Meet Pepe, the official BBE mascot for The Gentle Shepherd!  Find out how he got his name, and who gave it to him, in this video!

The cast, crew, and audience of the (re)premiere of The Gentle Shepherd take a quick picture together... and get pranked!!


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