2018 Spoleto Coverage

  South Carolina Public Radio brings you coverage of Spoleto Festival USA in Charleston, SC, May 25 through June 10, with reports throughout the day on the artists, events, and organizers of both Spoleto and Piccolo Spoleto.

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Pedja Muzijevic.
pedjamuzijevic.com

At home performing the sonatas of both Joseph Haydn and John Cage, Pedja Muzijevic is a versatile musician. Pedja’s skills as a pianist and harpsichordist make him an important part of the Spoleto Festival USA Bank of America Chamber Music Series at Dock Street Theatre, which features works from the Renaissance to the twenty-first century over the course of eleven programs.

This year, Pedja is taking his talents beyond the Dock Street’s stage to the Charleston Gaillard Center, where he’s performing a piano concerto by his favorite composer for the genre: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

A projected "apparition" of the Carolina Parakeet, part of the installations "Carrion Cheer."
Halsey Institute

Artist Christian Orendt talks with Jeanette Guinn about The Carrion Cheer: A Faunistic Tragedy an installation at the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art on Calhoun Street as part of Piccolo Spoleto.

Reggie Workman at the Charleston Jazz Academy.
Leigh Webber

Working with jazz legends like John Coltrane, Art Blakey, Thelonious Monk, and numerous others has given double bassist Reggie Workman more than a little perspective on music-making. On Monday, June 4th, the eighty-year-old exponent of hard bop and avant-garde jazz shared some of that perspective with students through a lecture/demonstration at the Charleston Jazz Academy. The academy, located on West Montague Avenue in North Charleston, absorbed the Leonard School of Music in 2017, and is the educational arm of Charleston Jazz.

Marisol Montalvo and Walter Dundervill in the US premiere of Tree of Codes, with music and libretto by Liza Lim.
William Struhs

John Kennedy talks with Jeanette Guinn about the Spoleto Festival USA Orchestra, and about the U.S. Pemiere of the opera, Tree of Codes.

Australian composer Liza Lim dissolves boundaries to create holes in the world—perforations in which audience members might encounter more than one existence. Two-headed birds and layers of light conjure a magical world under Director Ong Keng Sen (Facing Goya; 2014) in this dramatic work inspired by Jonathan Safran Foer’s art book by the same name. 

David Lee Nelson
davidleenelson.com

A comedy. About cancer. From award-winning solo performer David Lee Nelson (Elephant in My Closet) brings Stages to Piccolo Spoleto - a new play about finding hope in the most unlikely of places. Nelson talks with Jeanette Guinn about life with cancer, the play, and his plans for the future. The play runs through Saturday evening at Chapel Theatre on Calhoun St. in Charleston, SC.

A scene from The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk.
Spoleto Festival USA

In this season finale of Spoleto Backstage, Jeanette Guinn talks with the stars of The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk, Marc Antolin and Daisy Maywood. 

Victoria Hansen speaks with Geoff Nuttall, artistic director for the Spoleto Chamber Music Series, about working with local schools to introduce classical music to students.

Daisy Maywood and Marc Antolin in The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk.
Steve Tanner

Partners in life and on canvas, Marc and Bella Chagall—the flying lovers of Vitebsk—are immortalized as the picture of romance. But whilst on canvas they flew, in life they walked through some of the most devastating times in history.

Amanda Woodbury and Valdis Jansons in the US premiere of Donizetti's Pia de' Tolomei.
William Struhs

Lidiya Yankovskaya is the music director of Chicago's Opera Lyric Theater. At Spoleto Festival USA she is  conducting the U.S. premiere and Spoleto production of Donizetti's Pia de Tolomei. She talks with Jeanette Guinn about the opera, its production, and about learning her craft, as well as the joy she finds in opera.

John Kennedy, conductor in residence at Spoleto Festival USA.
Spoleto Festival USA

In this episode of Spoleto Backstage, Jeanette Guinn sits down with Spoleto's busiest conductor John Kennedy who will be involved with three of this years performances: Music in Time, Tree of Codes, and You are Mine Own. We also get to hear from the conductor of Pia de Tolomei, Lidiya Yankovskaya.

Peter Moore
Twitter @peter_moore

With string quartets, piano trios, and woodwind quintets often receiving the spotlight, the trombone is seldom a contender for pride of place among instruments featured in chamber music programs. If included at all, it’s often sharing the stage with four other instruments as part of a brass quintet.

But for this year’s Spoleto Festival USA Chamber Music Series, the trombone is representing the brass family all by itself.

The Satisfaction of Spoleto Posters; Behind the Scenes

Jun 2, 2018

Spoleto USA General Director Nigel Redden admits he's feeling a little frantic as he talks about the 2018 festival poster based on a painting by renowned British artist David Hockney.  Perhaps it’s because the work called “Hither Dither” evokes a frenetic feeling with its abstract blue figures darting up and down stairs in vibrant hues of yellow, red and turquoise.  Or maybe it’s because the Spoleto season is here, with its dancers, musicians, acrobats, singers and other artists dashing about the city.

Kids from Charleston's Meeting Street Academy go backstage for the Carlo Colla and Sons Marionette Company performance of the Pied Piper
Victoria Hansen

There's a melancholy to his voice and a sadness in his eyes, as the managing director of the centuries old  Carlo Colla and Sons Marionette Company of Milan speaks in his best English to elementary school children at the Emmet Robinson Theater at the College of Charleston prior to the company’s Spoleto performance.  Peiro Corbella paces the stage as he begins his story, 40 years ago when he became  a puppeteer, thanks to the guidance of his mentor and good friend, Eugenio Monti Colla.

Spoleto Festival USA presents the US premiere of Liza Lim's Tree of Codes, based in part on Jonathan Safran Foer's book.
Nina Jua Klein

Among the featured operas of the 2018 Spoleto Festival is Tree of Codes, a 2015 work by Australian composer Liza Lim.  The opera received its US premiere on May 26th at Dock Street Theatre, and is being performed there through June 7th under the direction of Ong Keng Sen. Performing Tree of Codes is the Spoleto Festival USA Orchestra, conducted by John Kennedy. Singers Elliot Madore and Marisol Montalvo fill the two on-stage roles.

The JACK Quartet
Shervin Lainez

Coordinated playing is essential for the members of an internationally-recognized string quartet... coordinated choreography, not so much.

Unless that quartet is taking on Mark Applebaum’s Darmstadt Kindergarten.

Alfred Turner/SC Public Radio

On this episode of Spoleto Backstage, we chat with David Lee Nelson, writer and star of "Stages." 

Reporter Victoria Hansen takes you behind the scenes of Spoleto’s educational program.

And finally, we speak with "Borders" playwright Henry Naylor and star Avital Lvova. 

Ranky Tanky/Reese Moore via Facebook

On this episode of Spoleto Backstage, trumpeter Charleton Singleton talks about the success of Gullah-inspired jazz ensemble Ranky Tanky.

Sonatas and Soundscapes host Bradley Fuller meets up with Marco Ceco, the conductor of the Colla and Sons Marionette’s production of "Il Matromonio Segreto."

Composer, double-bassist, Doug Balliett
metropolisensemble.org/

From playing double bass, to teaching historic performance at Julliard, to writing poetry and works of music, contemporary American composer Doug Balliett stays busy. As composer-in-residence for the chamber music series of the forty-second Spoleto Festival USA, Doug is not only providing original works, arrangements, and guidance on their interpretation, but is also a performer in a majority of the series’ thirty-three concerts. The series runs through June 10th, with all performances held at the Dock Street Theatre in Charleston.

Carlo Colla and Sons Marionette Company presents Cimarosa's opera at the Emmett Robinson Theatre at College of Charleston, May 28 to May 30. Members of the Westminster Choir will accompany the opera.
Photo courtesy of Carlo Colla and Sons Marionette Company

With its humorous situations, tangle of love interests, and recognizably-flawed characters, Domenico Cimarosa’s Il Matrimonio Segreto (The Secret Marriage) is an emblematic example of eighteenth-century opera buffa. A feel-good production of its day, Il Matrimonio Segreto was the type of work that had those in an audience laughing as much at themselves as the cast members before them. In other words, relatability was one of its hallmarks.

Spoleto 2018 is Officially Underway

May 26, 2018
Gravity and Other Myths performs at Spoleto 2018 Opening Ceremony in downtown Charleston.
Victoria Hansen/SC Public Radio

On a day that is notoriously hot, a refreshing breeze swept down Broad Street in downtown Charleston and a forecast calling for rain seemed to have been delayed.  A velvet voice welcomed the crowd with the song, "Carolina" and the bells of St. Michael's Church rang, signally the beginning of the opening ceremony for Spoleto USA 2018.  The mayor walked out the doors of city hall, all smiles.  It was the perfect day to kick off one of the world's most renowned arts festivals.

Spoleto Festival USA Chamber Music director, Geoff Nuttall.
Spoleto Festival USA

For violinist Geoff Nuttall, finding the right performers for the Bank of America Chamber Music Series is critical. 

"Everybody that comes is not only amazing and an incredible player," Geoff says, "but also super-easy to work with and a joy to hang out with."

Mayor John Tecklenburg performing at Spoleto USA, 2017.
Spoleto Festival USA

To kick off Spoleto Festival USA, we interviewed key figures and artists about their performances before they go live. Let us take you backstage to get the inside scoop from Spoleto’s general director, Nigel Redden; the mayor of Charleston, John Tecklenburg; and the director/host of the Chamber Music series, Geoff Nuttall.