Line-Up Announced for 2011 Spoleto Festival USA

2011_Spoletto_Festival_20010101The 2011 Spoleto Festival USA has announced the line-up for this year. The event will be held in Charlestown, South Caroline from May 27 through June 12. The Festival will include a total of 152 performances by artists from around the world.

Highlights of the 35th Annual Festival to Include:

Opera program: the American premiere of Kaija Saariaho's Émilie, with soprano Elizabeth Futral in the title role; Festival founder Gian Carlo Menotti's The Medium to honor the centenary of the composer's birth; and Mozart's The Magic Flute

Theater lineup features the Festival debut of Ireland's Druid Theatre with Martin McDonagh's The Cripple of Inishmaan and the return of UK's Kneehigh Theatre with The Red Shoes

Festival debut of guest conductor James Gaffigan leading the Spoleto Festival USA Orchestra.

Dance series includes Ángel Corella's Spain-based Corella Ballet as well as a vivid fusion of East and West with Shen Wei Dance Arts

Concerts by celebrated jazz vocalist Dianne Reeves, banjo icon Béla Fleck and the Original Flecktones, and native New Orleans sensation Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue

Performances of:
13 Most Beautiful...Songs for Andy Warhol's Screen Tests with Indie-pop's Dean Wareham and Britta Phillips; hip-hop theater artist Lemon Andersen's County of Kings: The Beautiful Struggle; Comparison Is Violence or the Ziggy Stardust Meets Tiny Tim Songbook with Taylor Mac; and the Festival debut of Australian contemporary circus company Circa January 2, 2011 (CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA)-Festival General Director Nigel Redden today announced the 2011 artistic lineup for Spoleto Festival USA, a wide-ranging program showcasing internationally and nationally acclaimed artists in opera, theater, dance, music, music theater, contemporary circus, and visual arts. The 35th annual Festival, held in historic Charleston, South Carolina, from May 27 through June 12, will be one of the largest in recent years with 152 performances by 48 ensembles.

Tickets to these performances and many more events are available now, at and 843.579.3100.



The 2011 opera program offers audiences three productions of distinct style and subject. Richly woven with ritual and symbolism, the Festival includes Mozart's operatic masterpiece The Magic Flute. Directors Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier reveal the humanity and depth of character to magical effect as reason triumphs over chaos in this most beloved of Mozart operas in this production from Angers Nantes Opéra. Steven Sloane, former Festival music director, will conduct the Spoleto Festival USA Orchestra.

Émilie is Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho's homage to larger-than-life Enlightenment-age scientist and femme extraordinaire Émilie du Châtelet. Soprano Elizabeth Futral makes her Festival debut in what will be the American premiere of this work. The Spoleto Festival USA production will be directed by Marianne Weems, the artistic director of New York's The Builders Association theater company renowned for creating theatrical spectacles that integrate architecture, text, video art and sound. Émilie will be Weems' debut opera production. John Kennedy, the Festival's newly named Resident Conductor, will conduct the Spoleto Festival USA Orchestra.

And, in celebration of the centenary of the birth of Gian Carlo Menotti-Pulitzer Prize-winning composer and Festival founder-Spoleto will present one of Menotti's most popular and compelling operas, The Medium. The Spoleto Festival USA production is directed and designed by John Pascoe (of last season's acclaimed Flora, an Opera) with Artistic Director for Choral Activities Joseph Flummerfelt conducting the Spoleto Festival USA Orchestra.


The 2011 theater lineup features two major European ensembles: Ireland's renowned Druid Theatre will make its Festival debut with its multi-award-winning production of The Cripple of Inishmaan, written by Martin McDonagh and directed by Druid's Tony Award-winning artistic director Garry Hynes. And the innovative Cornwall (UK)-based Kneehigh Theatre-admired by Spoleto audiences since 2006's Tristan & Yseult and 2009's Don John-returns with The Red Shoes, a grisly retelling of the Hans Christian Andersen classic directed by Emma Rice and hailed by The New York Times as "another ringing testament to the theatrical inventiveness and exploratory intelligence of Kneehigh."

Arresting New York voices will be heard in two solo theater shows: County of Kings: The Beautiful Struggle, features hip-hop theater artist Lemon Andersen offering his version of the coming-of-age memoir in a jarring narrative that Time Out New York called "electrifyingly fresh"; And downtown icon Edgar Oliver spins a fascinating tale of his decades in a decayed New York boarding house in East 10th Street: Self Portrait with Empty House.


Electrifying, soul-stirring, foot-stomping music is at the heart of The Gospel at Colonus, called "a miracle" by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Set in a modern-day Pentecostal church, this radical reworking of Sophocles' Oedipus at Colonus seamlessly blends the agony of Greek tragedy with the ecstasy of American gospel music to profound effect. Conceived and directed by Lee Breuer with music by Bob Telson.


The 2011 dance series showcases Spain-based Corella Ballet, created two years ago by American Ballet Theatre star Ángel Corella and now claiming its place among Europe's most exhilarating dance troupes while breathing fresh life into the classical form. Another blast of fresh air comes from choreographer Emmanuèle Phuon, whose Khmeropédies I & II is helping to revive the nearly lost art of ancient Khmer dance while evolving it for the modern age. Shen Wei Dance Arts further explores Cambodian culture, as well as that of Tibet and Shen's native China, in the lyrical three-part series Re-Parts I, II, III. And the innovative choreographer Jérôme Bel offers snapshots of renowned contemporary dancer Cédric Andrieux's life in dance in an intimate visual autobiography that beautifully reveals the world of contemporary dance and the life of a performer.


The circus comes to town this year, with Australia's celebrated circus company, Circa, making its Spoleto debut. Combining heart-stopping acrobatics with contemporary choreography and cheeky humor, Circa's seven truly remarkable performers toss off intricate sequences with a mix of precision and aplomb.


The heart and soul of the Festival, Bank of America Chamber Music concerts will feature the traditional changing roster of artists and 11 programs performed twice daily in the historic Dock Street Theatre. Led by Director for Chamber Music Geoff Nuttall, esteemed musicians returning to the Festival in 2011 will include the St. Lawrence String Quartet, pianist Pedja Muzijevic, cellist Alisa Weilerstein, violist Hsin-Yun Huang, pianist Inon Barnatan, and clarinetist Todd Palmer. Accomplished newcomers to this year's series include violist Carolyn Blackwell and oboist James Smith. Specific repertoire and artists will be announced at the first performance of each program.

American conductor James Gaffigan will make his Spoleto debut guest conducting the Spoleto Festival USA Orchestra in a concert of Richard Strauss' Dance of the Seven Veils, Debussy's Fragments from the Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian, and Prokofiev's Symphony No. 5. In another performance, the Spoleto Festival USA Orchestra will perform under the baton of Joseph Flummerfelt in an evening of Bernstein (Chichester Psalms), Brahms (Alto Rhapsody), and Bruckner (Te Deum) with the Westminster Choir and the Charleston Symphony Orchestra Chorus. The Westminster Choir will additionally offer their traditional a cappella concerts, conducted by Joe Miller, director of choral activities at Westminster Choir College.

Edgier fare can be found in late-night concerts by the gloriously larger than life performer, writer, and director Taylor Mac, who returns to Charleston with Comparison Is Violence or the Ziggy Stardust Meets Tiny Tim Songbook. In another late-night run, Indie-pop darlings Dean Wareham and Britta Phillips perform their original music live with a four-piece band beneath large-scale video projections of Warhol's rarely seen silent-film portraits, his famous Screen Tests, in 13 Most Beautiful...Songs for Andy Warhol's Screen Tests.

Established and emerging virtuoso string musicians will be put under the spotlight in 2011. Multi-Grammy Award-winning banjo icon Béla Fleck will perform with his Original Flecktones to freely cross the terrains of folk, bluegrass, funk, and jazz in search of fresh and exciting new music. Newcomer Sarah Jarosz, a guitarist and banjo player who released her first CD, Song Up In Her Head, to critical acclaim and a Grammy nomination in 2009 at age 18, represents the face of music's newest generation. And the legendary Del McCoury Band, 2010 Grammy Award nominees for best bluegrass album (Family Circle), will bring the 2011 Festival to a celebratory end at the Festival Finale.

Resident Conductor John Kennedy's thought-provoking Music in Time series will include the work of Émilie composer Kaija Saariaho and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Paul Moravec. And Intermezzi concerts will feature chamber ensembles from the Spoleto Festival USA Orchestra in performances to include Tchaikovsky's Serenade for Strings, On an Overgrown Path by Leoš Janá?ek, and Haydn's Symphony No. 6.


The Wells Fargo Jazz series (formerly Wachovia Jazz) will showcase diverse musical styles, including Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, an explosive ensemble recently propelled to worldwide attention. Schooled in jazz from an age when he was shorter than the trombone he played, Shorty has, in his own words, "found a way to make everything fit-the jazz, high-energy funk-rock, and a little hip-hop." Shorty is nominated for a 2011 Grammy Award for best contemporary jazz album (Backatown).

Two acclaimed jazz vocalists will be returning to Spoleto as headliners in 2011: four-time Grammy Award winner Dianne Reeves, recognized as one of jazz's preeminent vocalists; and the musically fearless Karrin Allyson, called "one of the world's finest" by the Los Angeles Times.

Featured instrumentalists from around the world will include Norwegian pianist Ketil Bjørnstad; Toninho Ferragutti, a Brazilian accordionist who blends the tradition of his instrument with the world of chamber music; and Italian pianist Danilo Rea, who seamlessly combines melodies of diverse sources into profoundly beautiful and lyrical new music. The series will be rounded out by one of Argentina's most respected jazz duos, bassist Willy González and vocalist Micaela Vita.


Italian miniaturist and photographer Paolo Ventura invents scenes from the memory banks of an old circus performer looking back on his life in the imaginative series of photographs entitled Winter Stories. In a partnership between Spoleto and the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art, Ventura's miniatures will be displayed alongside their photographed images, evoking the melancholy of an earlier era while remaining timeless in their ability to resonate with contemporary audiences.


The Opening Night Fête on May 27 will mark the start of the 2011 Festival with a celebratory post-performance party in the beautiful gardens of the Murray Center, 14 George Street.


Tickets can be purchased online at or by phone at 843.579.3100. Beginning April 18, tickets may be purchased in person at the Spoleto Festival USA box office at the Gaillard Municipal Auditorium, 77 Calhoun Street.

Go Spoleto! accommodation and ticket packages are available with several premium downtown hotels. For more information, visit



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