New DVD release celebrates naming of only fourth woman in iistory as ‘Doctor of the Church’
“Hildegard of Bingen and the Living Light,” a powerful and captivating new DVD release that explores the life of one of history’s most intriguing saints, makes its international debut on Monday. Produced by acclaimed mezzo soprano and impassioned Hildegard champion Linn Maxwell, the landmark production coincides with one of the most notable Vatican announcements of our lifetime.
The new release, whose centerpiece is a tour-de-force film adaptation of Ms. Maxwell’s acclaimed one-woman stage play, transports audiences back to the 12th century to meet Benedictine nun, writer, composer, healer and prophet Hildegard of Bingen. Beginning in earliest childhood, Hildegard experienced powerful, recurring visions from God that called her to express herself through her many talents and assume a role of unique leadership in the medieval church – one that challenged the establishment head-on and moved some to silence her.
Hildegard has been an admired and controversial figure both inside and outside the Catholic Church for centuries. International interest in Hildegard spiked recently following her long-awaited canonization in May 2012 and has continued to intensify in the build-up to her Oct. 7 naming by Pope Benedict XVI as a “Doctor of the Church.” This rare title, bestowed on individuals of extraordinary importance in the life of the Church, now places Hildegard in highly select company. In the past 800 years, only 35 Doctors – including Saints Ambrose, Augustine and Jerome – have been named. Of these, only four have been women.
Written and performed by Linn Maxwell, the film adaptation of the play “Hildegard of Bingen and the Living Light” is based on an original production directed by Erv Raible that has won widespread critical acclaim in both North America and Europe. Writing in the New York Theater Review, John Hoglund has said, “Hildegard returns…through the artistry of Linn Maxwell in a commanding performance that is as scholarly as it is relevant today;” according to The Times of London, “Hildegard is reborn as mezzo Linn Maxwell,” with her “hypnotically beautiful song.” The new DVD features Ms. Maxwell as Hildegard, performing the mystic’s compositions on authentic medieval instruments and, through Hildegard’s actual writings, reveals the life and passion of an extraordinary woman who lived centuries ahead of her time.
“Hildegard tapped me on the shoulder one day, and has never really let go,” said Ms. Maxwell. “The privilege of creating and launching ‘Hildegard of Bingen and the Living Light’ is the culmination of a long journey that has drawn me deep into the life of this remarkable and fiercely prolific German abbess.
“For those who know and love Hildegard, there is the very real sense that now, as saint and Doctor, she has finally come into her own. That even at a distance of nine centuries, through her faith and struggles as a woman, rich artistry, profound concern about reform and combating evil, natural remedies and unique ‘green’ message, she has something powerful and very relevant to say to us today. I’m confident that as audiences experience ‘Hildegard of Bingen and the Living Light,’ they will meet her and be blessed in exciting and unexpected ways.” [More]