The Birth of Moses

St. Mary’s Church
669 West Ave, 06850
Calvary Church
277 Park Ave South, 10010
The VisionPerformersProgram
“At the front, the violinist [Jeremy Rhizor] serves as conductor, marking tempo with knee bends and nods…. The piece is lovely, ornate and contrapuntal. The scene is shadowed and intimate, another quiet moment of excellent New York music-making.”

The Academy of Sacred Drama presents the modern premiere of an oratorio by Vincenzo de Grandis (1631–1708). In this oratorio, a tyrannical Pharaoh fears the growing power of the Hebrews. After subjecting them to hard labor and ordering that all their male children are strangled at birth, he revises his directive and orders that all male new-borns are to be thrown into the river Nile. Moses is born, and his distraught mother places him in a wicker basket in the river. Pharaoh’s daughter finds him, and Pharaoh permits her to raise him as her own son at court.

cast: Jonathan May, Ryne Cherry, Brian Mummert, Sarah Yanovitch, Elizabeth Baber Weaver
director: Jeremy Rhizor
guest speaker: Dr. Lewis Baratz
genres: sacred drama, oratorio, biblical drama, Baroque music, Italian music, Italian-language libretto

The recreation of this forgotten oratorio was made possible by a new edition based on the 1682 manuscript in the Biblioteca Estense Universitaria, Modena transcribed and edited by Jeremy Rhizor and Leili Zhang. Additionally, a new English translation was written by Lucy Yates based on the 1682 printed libretti in the Biblioteca Estense Universitaria, Modena.

Seventeenth-century oratorio combined the tremendously popular music of the opera with stories chosen for the intellectual and spiritual enrichment of its listeners. The Academy of Sacred Drama continues this mission by uniting emotion, intellect, and community in presentations that incorporate great oratorios, contextual lectures, and community receptions.

Director, Musicians, and Guest Speaker

Jeremy Rhizor, music director and violin
Dr. Lewis Baratz, guest speaker and recorder

Jonathan May, Testo (countertenor)
Ryne Cherry, Faraone (bass)
Brian Mummert, Generale del’armi di Faraone (baritone)
Sarah Yanovitch, Consigliero di Faraone (soprano)
Elizabeth Baber Weaver, Madre di Mose (soprano)

Isabelle Seula Lee, violin
Adam Young, cello
Charles Weaver, theorbo
Judith Malafronte, harpsichord

Program Information
Il Nascimento di Mose (1682)
composer: Vincenzo de Grandis (1631–1708)
librettist: Giovanni Battista Giardini (b.1650)

Edition based on the 1682 manuscript in the Biblioteca Estense Universitaria, Modena
edition: Jeremy Rhizor and Leili Zhang

Translation based on 1682 printed libretto in Biblioteca Estense Universitaria, Modena
translation: Lucy Yates

Program Order
First Half of Oratorio
Contextual Lecture by Dr. Lewis Baratz
Intermission with Reception
Second Half of Oratorio


View the facsimile of the musical manuscript in the Biblioteca Estense Universitaria, Modena, Italy here.

View the facsimile of an original printed libretto in the Biblioteca Estense Universitaria, Modena, Italy here.