Ordo Virtutum

Play of the Virtues

1998 saw the celebration of the 900th anniversary of Saint Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179). The famous sybil of the Rhine was one of the most important figures in the history of the Middle Ages.

Born in 1098 she exhibited exceptional gifts as a young girl. She founded two convents at Rupertsberg and Eibingen.

She is the author of visionary writings in the field of theology and other works concerning medicine and the physical sciences.

She also composed nearly eighty songs and the musical drama Ordo Virtutum (play of the virtues). Here Hildegard describes the way of the human soul (anima) in its earthly struggle against the temptations of the devil.

The virtues (virtutes) help the soul and finally obtain the victory over the bad forces. The ensemble Ordo Virtutum created a conception of this great play of Hildegard which is based on the first version of the drama in Hildegard’s major theological work Scivias (Know the ways).

Please click on the video to start.
To get closer to the original visonary unit of text and music we combined the compositions as preserved in the so called Rupertsberger Riesencodex with the visionary texts of Scivias.

The performance of this mystery play is the result of deep-rooted research by the ensemble Ordo Virtutum in the work and music of Hildegard von Bingen.

The significance of the modes and the relationship of word and music recieved special attention as well as the possibilities of learning medieval music by memory and the development of a gesture-language based on monastic traditions.

For this production ensemble Ordo Virtutum wants to thank in particular Sebastiana Papa/Rome for her research in gestures of silence in medieval monasteries and Enrico Masseroli/Bergamo for the choreography.

Further information:
  • Media:
  • Program information:

    • 8 female singers, fiddle, harp/flute; for medium to large-sized resonant churches.

  • Performances:

    • 16. 09. 2005, 8pm
      Abteikirche Offenbach-Hundheim

    • 26. 04. 2001, 7pm
      University of San Diego/USA, Founders Chapel

    • 24. 04. 2001, 7pm
      University of San Diego/USA, Founders Chapel

    • 22. 04. 2001, 2pm
      First Presbyterian Church, Santa Monica/USA

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