The Man at the Crossroads

Antonio Gianettini’s L’huomo in bivio
American premiere of the 1687 oratorio

Midday Preview with Mime
Thursday, November 21, 2019 at 1:15 PM
The Chapel at St. Bartholomew’s Church
325 Park Ave, New York, NY
free; preview only
presented by GEMS
Saturday, November 23, 2019
at 7:15 PM
Church House, White Plains Presbyterian Church
39 N Broadway, White Plains, NY
ticket(s) included with membership
Get Tickets
Sunday, November 24, 2019
at 2 PM
St. Vincent Ferrer Church
869 Lexington Ave, New York, NY
ticket(s) included with membership
Get Tickets

Gianettini’s Italian-language oratorio L’huomo in bivio depicts a man at the crossroads between Heaven and Hell. An eloquent exchange between the man (Huomo), his guardian angel (Angelo), a demon (Demonio), and the narrator (Testo) weighs pleasure versus sanctity as the purpose and summit of the man’s life.

The composer’s last name is also spelled Giannettini, Zanettini, and Zannettini.

Musicians, Choreographer, and Guest Speaker

Jeremy Rhizor, music director & violin
Tony Lopresti, movement director & mime
Marc Bellassai, harpsichord & guest speaker

Nola Richardson, Angelo (soprano)
Andrew Padgett, Demonio (bass-baritone)
Clifton Massey, Huomo (countertenor)
Michael Jones, Testo (tenor)

Chloe Fedor, violin
Arnie Tanimoto, cello
Arash Noori, theorbo

Jeremy Rhizor music director & violin
Noted for playing “virtuosically but with fluid grace” by The New York Times, Jeremy Rhizor is the founder and artistic director of the Academy of Sacred Drama, an organization that explores history, music, and culture through the philosophical and storytelling lens of the sacred dramatic music of the 17th and 18th centuries. He performs on baroque violin with numerous ensembles including Trinity Baroque Orchestra, Handel & Haydn Society, and the American Classical Orchestra. He is a specialist in 17th-century oratorio and is exploring ways to extend historical performance practices to performance contexts. Jeremy has directed oratorios by Stradella, Pasquini, and Scarlatti through the Academy and for the Festival of Sacred Arts in Skanör-Falsterbo, Sweden. Jeremy holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester and The Juilliard School.

Tony Lopresti movement director & mime
Tony Lopresti is Mime Director of the Festival Musica sull’Acqua on Italy’s Lake Como where he teaches classical mime and creates original theatrical interpretations of Festival music, including Igor Stravinky’s L’Histoire du Soldat, in which he also plays the Soldier. He co-founded MuMoMusement—a new fusion of music and movement—with Festival
Artistic Director and Italian violinist Francesco Senese. Tony and Francesco created Apocalypse Man, a solo physical interpretation of Bela Bartók’s Sonata for Solo Violin, which premiered in L’Aquila, Italy and later at the Mantova International Chamber Music Festival. Tony was a principal performer with the New York Pantomime Theatre under the direction of Moni and Mina Yakin presenting original full-length works at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center.

Marc Bellassai harpsichord & guest speaker
Marc Bellassai has degrees from the Oberlin conservatory [BMus ’85, Harpsichord], Indiana University [MMus ’89 and Artist Diploma] and, as a Fulbright IIE scholar from 1994–6, studied at the Civica Scuola di Musica and the instrument collection of the Castello Sforzesco in Milan, Italy. He was a student of harpsichordists Lisa Goode Crawford, Elisabeth Wright, and Laura Alvini and now performs with a number of ensembles from Baltimore to New York. His interests include early keyboard performance practice, basso continuo, organology, art history, and the music and literature of the Italian sixth and seventh centuries. He currently teaches harpsichord, art history, and directs the Early Music Ensemble at Towson University.

Nola Richardson Angelo (soprano)
Making her mark as an “especially impressive” (The New York Times) soprano, Australian/American Nola Richardson has won First Prize in all three major American competitions focused on the music of J.S. Bach. These honors have catapulted her to the forefront of Baroque ensembles and symphonies around the country, where she has been
praised for her “astonishing balance and accuracy,” “crystalline diction,” and “natural-sounding ease” (Washington Post). Nola’s 2019-2020 season will feature her debuts with the Seattle and Pittsburgh Symphonies, Philharmonia Baroque, Tenet (in concert with American violinist Hillary Hahn), and an appearance at the Leipzig Bach Festival 2020 as a soloist with the Bethlehem Bach Society. She will make her stage debut next summer at the Caramoor Festival in Rameau’s Dardanus, directed by Julian Wachner and James Darrah. Nola is an Athlone Artist and is currently completing a DMA at Yale.

Andrew Padgett Demonio (bass-baritone)
Praised for his “powerful baritone and impressive vocal range” (Boston Music Intelligencer) and as a “musicianly, smooth vocalist, capable in divisions” (Opera News Online), bass-baritone and hurdy-gurdyist Andrew Padgett is an accomplished interpreter of both baroque and medieval vocal and instrumental music. Notable performances include his appearances under the baton of Masaaki Suzuki as the bass soloist in Bach’s Mass in B Minor at the Esplanade Concert Hall in Singapore and as the bass soloist in Bach’s Johannespassion at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center, NYC, as well as his Alice Tully performance as Harapha in Handel’s Samson directed by Nicholas McGegan. He has also been featured as a soloist with The American Classcal Orchestra, Dartmouth Handel Society, Virginia Symphony Orchestra, Brandywine Baroque, and Pegasus Early Music, among others.

Clifton Massey Huomo (countertenor)
Clifton Massey was raised on a steady diet of country and western, bluegrass, and other close-harmony singing in Dallas, TX. These early influences instilled a love of pure tone and ensemble work, leading to rich musical experiences in a variety of styles. He collaborates frequently with notable early-music ensembles such as the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, American Bach Soloists, Trinity Baroque Orchestra, and the American Classical Orchestra. Highlights of recent seasons include performing with pop icon Madonna at the Met Gala, modern premieres of Baroque-era oratorios with the Academy of Sacred Drama, and performing in the inaugural two month installation of Reich Richter Pärt at The Shed, a vibrant new venue in NYC. Clifton is an alumnus of the Grammy-award-winning group Chanticleer.

Michael Jones Testo (tenor)
Michael Jones performs nationwide as a soloist and chamber musician. He has appeared as a professional tenor with some of the nation’s finest choral ensembles including the GRAMMY-award-winning group The Crossing, GRAMMY-award-winning group Conspirare, Santa Fe Desert Choral, Apollo’s Fire, Variant 6, ekmeles, Choral Arts Philadelphia and Madison Choral Project, Chicago’s Music of the Baroque, William Ferris Chorale, Grant Park Opera Chorus, the Bridge Ensemble, Vocal Arts Ensemble of Cincinnati, and Chorosynthesis. Michael has recorded on Parma, Albany, World Library Publications (WLP) and GIA. He has performed on five Downbeat Award-winning recordings. Michael studied at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music for his Bachelors in jazz trumpet and Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music for his Masters in jazz trumpet.

Chloe Fedor violin
Lauded for her “lovely, plush, seductive tone” and described as “clearly gifted” (The New York Times), violinist Chloe Fedor is sought after across the country as a soloist, concertmaster, and chamber musician. She appears regularly with the Academy of Sacred Drama, the American Classical Orchestra, Apollo’s Fire, Carmel Bach Festival, Clarion
Music Society, Early Music New York, New York Baroque Incorporated, and Trinity Wall Street Baroque Orchestra, among others. In 2018, she joined the cast of Shakespeare’s Globe on Broadway as the onstage Baroque violinist in ​ Farinelli and the King. Chloe was one of ten Juilliard 2015 graduates to receive the Career Advancement Fellowship.

Arnie Tanimoto cello
Gold medalist of the 7th International Bach-Abel Competition, Arnie Tanimoto is equally at home on the viola da gamba and baroque cello. He was the first-ever viola da gamba major at The Juilliard School, where he soloed on both instruments. Described by The New York Times as a “fine instrumental soloist,” Arnie performs in venues across the United States, Europe, and Japan. The recipient of a 2017 Frank Huntington Beebe Fund Fellowship, he has also performed and recorded with Barthold Kuijken, the Boston Early Music Festival Ensemble, and the Smithsonian Consort of Viols. As a teacher, he serves on faculty at the Mountainside Baroque Summer Academy and maintains a private studio.

Arash Noori theorbo
Noted as a “compelling” guitarist and a “fine” lutenist by The New York Times, Arash Noori performs throughout North America and Europe on lutes and guitars as both recitalist and accompanist. Arash has appeared in performances with Les Arts Florissants, Early Music New York, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Piffaro: The Renaissance Band, Ars Lyrica, Opera
Lafayette, the Folger Consort, Repast Baroque, the Sebastians, Academy of Sacred Drama, ARTEK, and NOVUS NY of Trinity Wall Street amongst others. Hailed for his “flair and sensitivity” in accompaniment (Opera News), Arash has accompanied operas at the Wiener Staatsoper, Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona, the Kennedy Center in Washington, and Brooklyn Academy of Music and has performed at Carnegie Hall and Alice Tully Hall in New York, Philharmonie de Paris, Teatro Real in Madrid, and the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia. Arash has been a prize winner at several international competitions including Guitare Montréal and the Great Lakes Guitar Competition.

Program Information

L’huomo in bivio (1687)
composer: Antonio Gianettini 1648–1721

Edition based on manuscript in the Biblioteca Estense Universitaria, Modena
edition: Jeremy Rhizor and Leili Zhang

Translation based on 1687 printed libretto in Biblioteca Estense Universitaria, Modena
translation: Mara Gerety

The Academy of Sacred Drama‘s oratorio performances move beyond passive entertainments to engaging experiences of cultural value through the organization’s rediscovery of forgotten musical treasures, restoration of historical performance formats, and unification of high-quality music-making with social and intellectual exploration. Believed to be the American premiere of Antonio Gianettini’s L’huomo in bivio, the Academy’s November 2019 performances will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness the revival of this masterful full-scale work in a format that parallels its premiere. The social and intellectual dimensions of L’huomo will be explored through a contextual lecture set between oratorio halves and a brief reception after the lecture.

Marc Bellassai has degrees from the Oberlin conservatory [BMus ’85, Harpsichord], Indiana University [MMus ’89 and Artist Diploma] and, as a Fulbright IIE scholar from 1994-6, studied at the Civica Scuola di Musica and the instrument collection of the Castello Sforzesco in Milan, Italy. He was a student of harpsichordists Lisa Goode Crawford, Elisabeth Wright, and Laura Alvini, and now performs with a number of ensembles from Baltimore to New York. His interests include early keyboard performance practice, basso continuo, organology, art history, and the music and literature of the Italian seicento/settecento. He currently teaches Harpsichord, Art History, and directs the Early Music Ensemble at Towson University.