La MaMa Blogs: Get to Know Hildegard of Bingen: One of the Most Remarkable Women of the Middle Ages

Friday, December 18, 2015

Get to Know Hildegard of Bingen: One of the Most Remarkable Women of the Middle Ages

Tonight begins the final weekend of performances for Pioneers Go East Collective's Hildegard (vision) follows the story of Hildegard of Bingen, a medieval nun, composer, and philosopher, who experienced divine visions. The structure piece mirrors the scientific phases of the body during a migraine attack, represented through an integrated mix of piercing sound, motion and surreal imagery, to examine the ways in which context combined with physiological processes shape how we perceive and affect change within the world around us. Before you see the show, find out more about the life of this incredible woman:

1. Hildegard of Bingen, was one of the "great creation-centered mystics of the West."

A 12th century Benedictine abbess, mystic, visionary, prophet and polymath known for her work as a writer, philosopher, composer, poet, playwright, linguist, scientist, physician.

2. One of the most remarkable women of the Middle Ages.

"We cannot live in a world that is not our own, in a world that is interpreted for us by others. An interpreted world is not a home. Part of the terror is to take back our own listening, to use our own voice, to see our own light."

"Dare to declare who you are. It is not far from the shores of silence to the boundaries of speech. The path is not long, but the way is deep. You must not only walk there, you must be prepared to leap."

3. She coined the term viriditas, or greening power, connecting it closely with creativity.

"The Word is living, being, spirit, all verdant greening, all creativity. This Word manifests itself in every creature.”

4: She had visions caused by migraines.

"These visions which I saw were not in sleep nor in dreams, nor in my imagination nor by bodily eyes or outward ears nor in a hidden place; but in watching, aware with the pure eyes of the mind and inner ear of the heart.
5. She was an active preacher (unusual for a woman of her time)

Hildegard embarked on various preaching tours of the country. Reform of the clergy was one of her main aims.

6. At the heart of Hildegard von Bingen's extraordinary creativity was her accomplishment in music. 

In the poetry and melody of her songs, she reveals the full authority, intelligence and striking originality of her genius. She wrote profusely as no woman before her. Even though she received no formal training in music, her talent and motivation drove her to write 77 chants and the first musical drama in history, which she entitled The Ritual of the VirtuesUnlike the mild, mainstream music of her day, her lyrical speech breaks into rhapsodic emotion; her zesty melodies soar up to two and one half octaves, leaping and swirling into flourishing roulades which leave the singer breathless.

“All the arts serving human desires and needs are derived from the breath that God sent into the human body."

"When the words come, they are merely empty shells without the music. They live as they are sung, for the words are the body and the music the spirit."

7. She frequently wrote about nature.

"Glance at the sun. See the moon and stars. Gaze at the beauty of the green earth. Now think."

"The earth is at the same time mother, She is mother of all that is natural, mother of all that is human. She is the mother of all, for contained in her are the seeds of all."

8. At last she has been canonised in May 2012.

This made her the record holder for the longest canonisation process in history! She was also made a 'Doctor of the Church' - a rare honour for a woman.

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La MaMa in association 



Created and Designed by Gian Marco Lo Forte, Abby Felder and John Sully
Directed by Gian Marco Lo Forte
Written by Abby Felder
Composed by John Sully
Featured Performers: Marina Celander, Nehprii Amenii, Seth Gilman, Kamala Sankaram, Daniel Diaz, Tali Custer

December 3 - 20, 2015
Thursdays - Saturdays at 7:30; Sundays at 2pm

La MaMa First Floor Theater
74A East 4th Street
(between Bowery and Second Avenue)
New York, NY 10003

Tickets: $18 Adults; $13 Students/Seniors; ten $10 tickets are available for every performance as part of La MaMa's 10@$10 ticketing initiative (advance sales only)

For Tickets and Info: CLICK HERE

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