Spoleto USA is a major performing arts festival rivaling those of Southern Europe. The event takes place in Charleston in the late spring/ early summer each year. It brings a wealth of performing artists ranging from theater to dance to musical performers to Charleston, filling the city's arts venues. During the Festival, which lasts about two weeks, you will find a variety of events to satisfy any interest.
Piccolo Spoleto is a concurrent event that provides venues for local artists, and more moderately priced events.
We have attended 3 different years and it has been a fantastic experience each from. From operas, chamber music and plays - they have all be amazing.
Even though we only attended two events, I still really enjoyed Spoleto.
The first performance was chamber music performed in the Memminger Auditorium at the College of Charleston and was sponsored by the Bank of America. Memminger recently received a $6 million renovation. From what we've heard, the auditorium has greatly benefited from the renovation.
The Maestro was excellent and had an extraordinary whit that added to the entertainment. The first group included 2 violins, 1 cello, and a clarinet. A Crusell piece was performed. The second performance included 3 cello's and a piano accompaniment from a different composer. Paul Gross, a tenor, then performed a number of poem arrangements to piano. I have never seen a tenor perform live before.
This normally takes place at the Dockstreet Theater, however it is undergoing a major restoration. I look forward to seeing Dockstreet for the first time after this project is completed, but I regret not seeing it beforehand.
The second Spolet event was the play Burial at Thebes, performed outside in the College of Charleston Cistern. I was really looking forward to seeing this performed by a British play troupe. I love the British accent and they have a very long history in performing arts. I was unfamiliar with Burial, but thoroughly enjoyed it. The lead actor conveyed strong emotion through his character and recovered so effortlessly after an Air Force cargo plane flew overhead. He intertwined his recovery into his lines. I was very impressed with such a professional. I was shocked by how quickly the time passed and saddened when it came to an end. I would easily like to see another performance in the Cistern.
Once aspect of the festival surprised me. The festival brings a very large crowed into town, yet we still had no problems whatsoever with finding parking or being seated for dinner at any of the restaurants we chose during the trip. I was afraid this was going to be a problem and a major detractor. I was pleasantly surprised!