Play of the Virtues
Hildegard von Bingen 1098-1179
Saturday 29 May 1999, 5 pm
National War Memorial
Directed by Peter Walls
"The earliest known morality play by some hundred years, the Ordo Virtutum ('Play of the Virtues') depicts the age-old battle between good and evil for the soul of Humanity, where good is represented by the virtues personified, and evil appears as the Devil. It is intensely powerful and moving both musically and theatrically, and despite the distance of eight centuries has a strong impact on modern sensibilities.
"Hildegard herself is a figure of larger than life proportions. Visionary, cosmologist, naturalist, poet, composer and playwright, she was justifiably famous in her own time. The abbess of a small convent on the Rhine in 12th century Germany, she corresponded with kings and emperors, popes and archbishops, and was known as 'The Sybil of the Rhine'.
"Today, after hundreds of years of obscurity, Hildegard and her works are becoming widely known. The release in 1982 by Gothic Voices of A feather on the Breath of God brought her music into public recognition, and The Tudor Consort's production of Ordo Virtutum in 1991 was received with huge enthusiasm for this music.
"With this presentation we hope the many who enjoyed it the first time will welcome another chance to experience it again, and those who missed out in 1991 will take the opportunity to hear a lesser-known but highly important example of Hildegard's musical composition.
"The Play will be preceeded by a short first half of liturgical works by Hildegard, performed by the men of The Tudor Consort."