Spoleto Festival USA is one of the premier performing arts festivals in the United States. This annual 17-day event celebrates the long-standing history of the theater and its important role in American – and Charleston – history.
The Charleston Spoleto Festival is named after its counterpart celebration in Spoleto, Italy, The Festival of Two Worlds. Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Gian Carlo Menotti and Christopher Keene sought to bring an American feel to their favorite European festival when they founded Spoleto USA in 1977. The Spoleto festival has been a staple of Charleston’s spring season ever since.
This year’s Spoleto Festival will take place from May 25-June 10. More than 150 performances of dance, opera, theater, classical music, and jazz will be in Charleston for this year’s festival. Specific performance dates and ticket prices can be found online at SpoletoUSA.org
The diversity in theater productions is part of what makes the Spoleto Festival in South Carolina so popular. This year you’ll be able to watch a play about two Eastern European trains falling in love, a production about a female Kurdish sniper, and a dance piece called “We Love Arabs” that is bold enough to take on the Israeli-Arab conflict. Those are just a few examples of the eclectic mix of shows that you can expect at the Charleston Spoleto Festival.
Spoleto has seen the premiere shows of many renowned productions throughout its history. Most notably, the festival saw the premiere of The American Clock by Arthur Miller, and Creve Coeur by Tennessee Williams. Both of these productions would go on to see success, and both playwrights are considered legends of the American theater. You just may see the premiere of the next Hamilton while in town for the Spoleto Festival in South Carolina.
Besides theater, the Spoleto Festival also has a large focus on music. From solo vocalist performances to full ensemble orchestras, there’s a tune for everybody’s ears at Spoleto.
The Spoleto Celebration Concert is a happy medium for all music lovers. Artists and musicians from every part of the Festival’s musical lineup gather for one night of splendid performance, led by conductor Anne Manson. The Festival Orchestra is chosen by nationwide auditions, and provides an excellent opportunity for young musicians to gain orchestral experience. Most go on to play in – or lead – ensembles around the country.
With this many talented musicians in one room, there’s sure to be a few surprises during the night.
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