Sydney Morning Herald

Ordo Virtutum is a morality play by the twelfth-century composer, poet and Benedictine Abbess, Hildegard of Bingen, and preserved today in the Wiesbaden Codex in the eponymous German city. The earliest surviving such work, it tells the story of a soul tempted by earthly pleasure, tormented by the devil and rescued by the Virtues … contrary to Luther’s subsequent epithet, the devil gets no music, with Hildegard’s characteristically melismatic plainchant preserved for the devout and the repentant. Leonie Cambage designed simple staging for Music Director Antony Pitts’s sensitive reworking of the plainchant from original sources with added accompanying drones and occasional rudimentary polyphony. Jessica O’Donoghue was regal in voice and stature as Humility, the queen of the virtues, while Roberta Diamond sang with shapely colour and pure line as the Soul. Josie Ryan, Janine Harris and Pip Dracakis sang the Virtues with posed clarity and Koen van Stade was a rebarbative Devil who seemed to enjoy himself immensely.