1980 – Mak the Sheep Stealer – ABOUT

Mak the Sheep Stealer

Not a W11 Opera commission, published by Universal Edition

Synopsis: Based on the Second Shepherds’ pageant — one of the Towneley Mystery plays

Composer Herbert Chappell  
Librettist Don Taylor
Music Director Nicholas Kraemer
Soloists Mak, Gill, Jim Parker, John Horner, Fred, Angel, Mary, Joseph, Ass, Ox
Groups Shepherds, Hedge, Sheep, House
Orchestra 2 Violins, 2 Violas, Cello, Celeste, Piano, 3 Percussion

Notes on Production: Not a W11 Opera commission.


On the first Christmas Eve, on a cold winter’s night, Mak is up to his usual tricks. He is offered shelter by some shepherds but betrays their trust and steals one of their lambs. Despite his cunning, their suspicions take them to his house where the stolen lamb, disguised as a newborn baby, reveals itself. Mak’s excuses are in vain, but he is saved from the gallows by the Miracle of Christmas.