Spoleto Festival USA has once again scheduled one of the most dynamic and comprehensive performing arts celebrations in the United States. From May 23 through June 8, artists and ensembles from around the world will perform over 45 productions in a spectacular program of some 140 performances. In addition, the newly renovated Memminger Auditorium will finally take its place as one of Charleston’s premier venues. See below for ticket information.
The 2008 Bank of America Chamber Music series will feature several newcomers including, Bosnian-born pianist Pedja Muzijevic, tenor Paul Grove, and bassoonist Peter Kolkay. Spoleto Festival USA’s Music Director for Opera & Orchestra, Emmanuel Villaume will lead the acclaimed Spoleto Festival USA Orchestra in two dynamic concerts: the first program features guest artists Imani Winds, the Grammy-nominated African-American wind ensemble and Andrew von Oeyen, renowned American pianist and festival favorite headlines the second concert performing Bartók’s Piano Concerto No. 2.
Major highlights of the 2008 festival include a new production of Gioachino Rossini’s sparkling rendition of the Cinderella tale, La Cenerentola, directed by Charles Roubaud as well as a the premiere of a newly revised version of Anthony Davis’s landmark opera Amistad. Making its highly-anticipated American premiere is Monkey: Journey to the West, directed by Chen Shi-Zheng with the award winning British team behind the virtual band, Gorillaz, Damon Albarn (composer)and Jamie Hewlett (visual concept and animation. Monkey innovatively retells the 400 year-old Chinese fable of the cantankerous Monkey King for a 21st-century audience.
Laurie Anderson makes her long-awaited return to Charleston with her newest work, Homeland while the Carolina Chocolate Drops, an eclectic band of three young African-American string players, make their festival debut. The popular Music in Time Series will feature work from leading contemporary composers including Anthony Davis and Tan Dun while the delightful late afternoon Intermezzi Series includes Amistad cast member baritone Gregg Baker performing selections from Porgy and Bess.
The classical flutist Paula Robison, well known to festival audiences for her work with the chamber music series, will take on a completely different persona in the Wachovia Jazz Series a sizzling concert with Brazilian percussionist Cyro Baptista and guitarist Romero Lubambo. Other 2008 Wachovia Jazz series artists include the Cyrus Chestnut Trio and guest artists Carla Cook (vocals), James Carter (saxophone), and Curtis Taylor (trumpet) in a roof-raising performance of Jazz Goes to Church Italian accordionist Daniel Mille Brazilian pianist and composer Heloísa Fernandes the fresh sounds of Italian saxophonist Stefano Coco Cantini and Gerry Hemingway in a concert of solo percussion blended with electronic sampling.
The Boston Ballet will present an imaginative program including excerpts from Swan Lake, Twyla Tharp’s In the Upper Room and a new piece entitled Brake the Eyes by young Finnish choreographer, Jorma Elo. Also making its US debut is Le Sacre du Printemps, an interpretation of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring by the French Algerian company Compagnie Heddy Maalem. Rounding out the dance program is the Donna Uchizono Company, hailed as one of the most innovative contemporary companies on the New York dance scene and the enchanting Indian dancer Shantala Shivalingappa.
Theater highlights include: the UK-based Nottingham Playhouse Theatre Company’s critically acclaimed The Burial at Thebes, performed outdoors Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, a blend of fairytale and silent-movie homage Dutch theater-ensemble Hotel Modern’s “live animation film” The Great War and The Be(a)st of Taylor Mac by