|The Carolina Connoisseur|
In Road Trips...
The annual Spoleto Festival USA opens in Charleston late May each year. For the next 17 days, some of the most prestigious arts events in the country take place in venues throughout the historic city. Love the arts, but short on funds? Take heart: Piccolo Spoleto offers cutting edge performances at cut-rate prices...
Charleston Hosts Spoleto and Piccolo Spoleto thru First Week of June
by Renee Wright
Please note: Events and dates here are for Spoleto 2004. Check the links below for this year's performances.
Spoleto USA, Charleston's annual arts extravaganza continues though June 8th, with over 120 performances by top national and international groups scheduled. Not one, but two festivals run concurrently.
Spoleto, with an international pedigree, concentrates on the performing arts: opera, musical theater, drama, classical music and dance. Musical offerings range from a Chamber Music series sponsored by Bank of America to a Jazz series sponsored by Wachovia.
Spoleto concludes the weekend of June 7-8 with a number of special events, including a Flamenco-spiced Soiree on Saturday night and the Festival Finale, Sunday on the grounds of Magnolia Plantation, the oldest landscaped gardens in America.
Although tickets to high-profile Spoleto events can be hard to come by, don't let that keep you from making a last-minute trip to Charleston. Piccolo Spoleto, the city-sponsored "side" festival, schedules literally hundreds of events, and tickets to most of them are almost always available, and reasonably priced.
Just a few years younger than Spoleto USA, Piccolo is a different festival altogether. Beginning as an outreach arm of Spoleto sponsored by the City of Charleston to offer "fringe" activities to entertain those who couldnít get seats for the main event, today Piccolo surpasses its elder sister in both number and range of performances.
Hundreds of events cover all the bases in arts from gallery exhibits and poetry readings to avantgarde theater and that exciting blend that goes by the name of "performance art." Piccolo includes a dance series, a jazz series, blues cruises on Charleston Harbor, a folk music series, a theater series at the College of Charleston, cabaret shows and much, much more.
Not to be missed by dance lovers are the performances of the Charleston Ballet Theater, a very fine company that dances several times a day during Piccolo, including popular "Brown Bag" lunchtime concerts. Special events this year include performances by the Second City comedy troop. Walking tours introduce the history of Charleston. Music offerings range from the classical Festival of Churches to The Lady Chablis Jazz Showcase.
A full schedule of Piccolo Spoleto events are designed especially for children, including a special beach party on the Isle of Palms. Most childrenís events are free.
Many of Piccolo Spoletoís other events are free or very low cost, making them accessible to arts lovers in every income bracket. Free events include concerts, art shows, craft demonstrations and block parties all around the city. Especially popular are the Late Night Pops Concerts from 11 pm to 1 am at the old US Custom House.
One of the things that I like best about the Spoleto festivals is the chance to visit places well off the beaten tourist track. Venues for both Spoleto and Piccolo Spoleto are scattered throughout the metropolitan area, and by the time you've traveled around to the various performances, you'll have a much greater knowledge, and appreciation, of the historic city of Charleston. Donít miss the exhibit at the Burroughs Cultural History project, chamber music at the Dock Street Theatre, choir concerts at the Cathedral Church of St. Luke and St. Paul, the beautiful campus of the College of Charleston.
© Copyright 2003, 2004 by Allan Maurer & Renee Wright. All rights reserved. Contact: RWright
| © Copyright 2003. All rights reserved. Contact:
by Free Site