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Hildegard von Bingen's early medieval morality play, "Ordo Virtutum," will be presented Friday, August 11, in Barler Recital Hall.   "Ordo Virtutum," or "Play of Virtues," was written by Hildegard von Bingen, a 12th-century monastic leader, mystic, author and composer. Conceived hundreds of years before the advent of Italian opera, it is believed to be the first written musical play in existence.

 In the play, Queen Humility and her five Virtues are personified in a women's chorus. The Virtues confront the Devil (Robert De Luca) in an attempt to win back a wayward Soul (Cassie Burkhauser). But their battle is complicated by the double-crossing, fiddle-playing Mundus (Ruth Roland). Will Humility, Integrity, Love, Mercy, Fear of God, and Victory save the day?

The work stars Doreen Alsen, Elizabeth Frank, Beth Kelly, Jennifer Lawrence Birnbaum, Kristen Park, and Sherry Scanza as the Virtues, as well as Rebekkah Adams, Elizabeth Usher, and Scott Miller. Wells College Assistant Professor of Music Victor Penniman provides musical accompaniment on the viola da gamba; the actors were coached by Holly Adams and Thom Baker.

In addition to the Friday night performance at Wells, there will be additional performances of "Ordo Virtutum" August 12 at 8:00 p.m. at the Unitarian Church of Ithaca, and August 13 at 4:00 p.m. at All Saints Church in Lansing.

The concert is presented by Women's Work of Ithaca, made possible in part with funds from the New York State Council of the Arts and from Ithaca HOURs.


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