Revitalizing culture and scholarship through community-minded explorations of sacred dramatic music

Male singer with music stand and back of violinist in foreground.

The Academy of Sacred Drama is a Baroque-style artistic and intellectual community that uses historical insights and modern open licensing to explore the forgotten cultural treasures of sacred dramatic music. From the philosophical and storytelling lens of Baroque-era sacred dramatic music we learn from history and share the rich ideas and music of past ages. Our community-minded exploration enables us to re-imagine the place of art and music within our own communities.

The Academy is a not-for-profit corporation in the State of New York and is federally recognized as a tax exempt public charity under IRC Section 501 (c) (3). Donations are tax deductible.

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Draghi’s Giuditta

The Academy of Sacred Drama—the NYC based artistic and intellectual community—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.

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.

Date, Time, Location, & Tickets

Date: Friday, March 9, 2018
Time: 7:30 PM
Location: Marquand Chapel at Yale Divinity School, New Haven, CT  map

Date: Saturday, March 10, 2018
Time: 7:30 PM
Location: Corpus Christi Church, NYC  map
TICKETS  $10-$50

Performers & Guest Speaker

Jeremy Rhizor director and violin
Judith Malafronte guest speaker (March 10th only)

Fiona Gillespie Jackson Giuditta
Sara MacKimmie Tomlin Abra
Ryland Angel Testo
Jonathan Woody Olofernes
Gene Stenger tenor

Lewis Baratz recorder
Evan Few violin
Arnie Tanimoto viola da gamba
Parker Ramsay harp
Adam Cockerham theorbo
Judith Malafronte harpsichord

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.

Transcription & Translation

The Academy will release a new and free performing edition of Antonio Draghi’s Oratorio di Giuditta with an English translation of the anonymous libretto under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International license in October 2018.

Edition by Jeremy Rhizor
Translation by Dr. Elisabeth Pace


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

Academy Journal

Yale Schola Cantorum Performs Heinrich Schütz’s Weihnachts-Historie

By Christopher Browner The superbly talented singers of Yale Schola Cantorum, Yale Institute of Music’s chamber choir for the performance of sacred music, were still in the holiday spirit on January 27, 2018, when they offered a radiant performance of Heinrich Schütz’s Weihnachts-Historie (Christmas Story), SWV 435 to a packed audience at New Haven’s Christ …

Academy Players

The Academy Players are musical ambassadors for the Academy of Sacred Drama. Founded at The Juilliard School and reestablished through the Academy of Sacred Drama, the ensemble participated in the Academy’s first Oratorio Reading of Charpentier’s Mors Saülis et Jonathae in its inaugural year as well as performing instrumental music at Juilliard at Aiken and in prestigious NYC venues such as the Kosciuszko Foundation, the Miller Theater at Columbia University, and the MET Museum. 2016-2017 performances featured French and Italian trio sonatas in New York and Minnesota.

Musicians · Performances [2017-2018] · Previous Seasons

Become a Member

Baroque-era academies brought together professional artists of various disciplines as well as noble patrons to collectively explore issues of literary and musical taste and to participate in coordinated creations of art and music. The Academy of Sacred Drama continues this tradition by uniting the efforts of amateurs and professionals in the exploration of largely forgotten Baroque-era oratorios. Professionals, amateurs, and supporters of the arts are invited to become members.

Membership Rates (Aug 2017—Dec 2017)

⃞   Member—Professional ($0)*
⃞   Member—Individual ($65)
⃞   Member—Dual ($100)
⃞   Founding Member—Individual ($100)
⃞   Founding Member—Dual ($150)
⃞   Founding Benefactor—Individual ($250)
⃞   Founding Benefactor—Dual ($350)

* Professional musicians, artists, and writers who participate in Oratorio Readings, exhibitions, or the Academy Journal receive a free membership for one year from the month of the public presentation of their work.

Member Benefits

Members receive a subscription to the Academy Journal, invitations to member potlucks and the Academy Gala, and are eligible to participate in member programs.

Membership Form

To become a member, fill out the form below, and press submit. We will email you within 24 hours with a link to choose a membership tier and pay for it with a credit card or paypal account. If you would prefer to mail a check, follow these check instructions. If you have any questions, email