Oratorio of Judith

Marquand Chapel at Yale Div. School
409 Prospect St, 06511
Corpus Christi Church
529 W 121st St, 10027
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 North American premiere of Antonio Draghi’s late seventeenth century Oratorio di Giuditta. The story depicts the Book of Judith’s heroine preserving her community and faith from a tyrant. Likely first performed at the chapel of the empress dowager, Eleonora, in 1668, the Academy’s performance will reflect the order of Eleonora’s oratorio services with a lecture by Yale faculty member Judith Malafronte replacing the original sermon.

cast: Fiona Gillespie, Sara MacKimmie, Padraic Costello, Jonathan Woody, Gene Stenger
director: Jeremy Rhizor
guest speaker: Judith Malafronte
genres: sacred drama, oratorio, biblical drama, Baroque music, Italian music, Italian-language libretto, music of Vienna, Austrian music

The recreation of this forgotten oratorio was made possible by a new edition based on the 1668 manuscript in the Biblioteca Estense Universitaria, Modena transcribed and edited by Jeremy Rhizor. Additionally, a new English translation was written by Dr. Elisabeth Pace based on the 1668 printed libretti in the Biblioteca Estense Universitaria, Modena.

Oratorio readings of the Academy of Sacred Drama include a musical performance by critically acclaimed early-music performers, a lecture, and a dessert break. Performances are prepared in conjunction with the release of an Academy Journal with specialist articles on oratorio themes and context for general readership.

Director, Musicians, and Guest Speaker

Jeremy Rhizor, music director and violin
Judith Malafronte, guest speaker and harpsichord

Fiona Gillespie, Giuditta (soprano)
Sara MacKimmie, Abra (soprano)
Padraic Costello, Testo (countertenor)
Jonathan Woody, Olofernes (bass-baritone)
Gene Stenger, Capitano (tenor) part from Scarlatti’s Giuditta

Lewis Baratz, recorder
Evan Few, violin
Arnie Tanimoto, viola da gamba
Parker Ramsay, harp and organ
Adam Cockerham, theorbo

Program Information
Oratorio di Giuditta (1682)
composer: Antonio Draghi (1634–1700)
librettist: Anonymous

Edition based on the 1668 manuscript in the Biblioteca Estense Universitaria, Modena
edition: Jeremy Rhizor

Translation based on 1668 printed libretto in Biblioteca Estense Universitaria, Modena
translation: Dr. Elisabeth Pace

Program Order
Excerpt from La Giuditta by Alessandro Scarlatti (1660–1725)
Excerpt from Sonate by Giovanni Legrenzi (1626–1690)
First Half of Oratorio
Contextual Lecture by Judith Malafronte
Second Half of Oratorio
Excerpt from Sonate by Giovanni Legrenzi
Litaniæ Lauretanæ by Francesco Durante (1684–1755)

Academy Journal

The February 2018 Academy Journal explores the text and context of Antonio Draghi’s Oratorio di Giuditta, takes a look at the Academy format, highlights the efforts of other organizations offering performances of Baroque-era sacred music, and draws upon expert commentary and Academy of Sacred Drama member contributions. Become a member to receive an Academy Journal subscription.


View the facsimile of the manuscript in the Österreichische Nationalbibliothek in Vienna here.