Monday, January 22nd also marks the public availability of this year’s Go Spoleto! accommodation and ticket packages, created in partnership with five Charleston hotels. Go Spoleto! information can be found at spoletousa.org/gospoleto.
Founded in 1977, Spoleto Festival USA is an annual 17-day performing arts festival that presents leading artists in classical and popular music, jazz, dance, and theater, contributing to the rich cultural fabric of Charleston. The 2018 season includes more than 160 ticketed events in a dozen locations on the downtown peninsula.
Highlighting the Spoleto Festival USA 2018 season are four US premieres: Donizetti’s Pia de’ Tolomei; Liza Lims’s 2015 opera, Tree of Codes; playwright Henry Naylor’s Borders, a riveting work contrasting the experiences of a pregnant Syrian refugee with those of a celebrated war photographer; and Backbone, a dazzling physical-theater piece from Gravity & Other Myths.
The Festival’s co-production of Pia de’ Tolomei—directed by Andrea Cigni and conducted by Lidiya Yankovskaya—is based on an episode from Dante’s Purgatorio and recast in pre-World War II Tuscany. In sharp contrast, Tree of Codes takes audience members on a fanciful journey through multiple realities. It is based, in part, on Jonathan Safran Foer’s experimental book derived by removing words from Bruno Schulz’s Street of Crocodiles. Director Ong Keng Sen reimagines Lim’s opera for a US premiere and Festival Resident Conductor and Director of Orchestral Activities John Kennedy conducts.
A special night of classical ballet opens the Festival. Hosted by Miami City Ballet Artistic Director Lourdes Lopez, Celebration: The Art of the Pas de Deux commemorates Jerome Robbins’s centenary; recognizes his history with the Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto, Italy; and showcases three of the American choreographer’s great works that illuminate the pas de deux.
For a unique orchestral experience, director and Academy Award-nominee Atom Egoyan stages a multimedia interpretation of Alexander von Zemlinsky’s Lyric Symphony and Alban Berg’s Lyric Suite. The evening, titled You Are Mine Own, features baritone Alexander Dobson alongside soprano Natalia Pavlova. Pavlova also takes center stage in Brahms’s Ein Deutsches Requiem, performed by the Spoleto Festival USA Orchestra, Westminster Choir, and the Charleston Symphony Orchestra Chorus and conducted by Festival Director of Choral Activities Joe Miller.
Celebrated countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo is among several notable artists returning to this year’s Bank of America Chamber Music Series, directed by violinist Geoff Nuttall. Joining the series in 2018 is Metropolitan Opera tenor Paul Groves; London Symphony Orchestra co-principal trombonist Peter Moore; and the string ensemble JACK Quartet, which will perform a new work from composer-in-residence Doug Balliett. In an exploration of new sounds in music, John Kennedy again hosts the contemporary Music In Time series, which this year highlights the works of nine female composers including Zosha Di Castri, Anna Thorvaldsdottir, and Jennifer Walshe.
Jon Batiste kicks off the Festival’s robust jazz offerings with two concerts: a solo performance on May 25 and a special evening with the Dap-Kings on May 26 that marks one of the first engagements in which Batiste plays with the soul revivalist band. As part of the new First Citizens Bank Front Row series, the Festival welcomes Ranky Tanky, a quintet that draws from the Gullah tradition of the Georgia/South Carolina Sea Islands. And culminating the 2018 season, Americana rock band The Lone Bellow headlines the famous Wells Fargo Festival Finale on June 10.
A release outlining the entire 2018 season, including additional artist details and a complete lineup, can be found here.