Spoleto 2011

A Chat with Cellist Alisa Weilerstein

Friday, June 24, 2011
by Lindsay Koob
A Chat with Cellist Alisa Weilerstein

OVER THE PAST EIGHT FESTIVALS, the Spoleto chamber music series’ distinguished cellist, Alisa Weilerstein, has emerged as an artist that I’ve described as a true “Spoleto darling.” That came as a result of both the superb technical qualities and the emotionally overwhelming nature of her playing—as well as the public’s inevitable reaction to it.... Read »

Nuttall Concludes Chamber Series with Finesse

Monday, June 13, 2011
by Carol Furtwangler
Nuttall Concludes Chamber Series with Finesse

HARD TO BELIEVE, isn’t it, that on Sunday afternoon Director of Chamber Music Geoff Nuttall strode onto the Dock Street Theatre stage for the last time of this 35th season of Spoleto USA. Getting down to business first, Nuttall offered the full house an apt description of Niccolo Paganini, whose famed “Moses Phantasy” Variations... Read »

Final Dance at Noon by Annex Dance Company

Monday, June 13, 2011
by Eliza Ingle
Final Dance at Noon by Annex Dance Company

THE FINAL DANCE AT NOON—before Spoleto and Piccolo Spoleto slip through our fingers—was performed by Charleston’s newest modern dance company, Annex Dance Company, in a concert entitled Encounter which used 9 dancers and a collection of music as well as spoken poetry in a well balanced and intriguing hour-long work. The theme of the... Read »

Artistic Collaborations

Monday, June 13, 2011
by Eliza Ingle
Artistic Collaborations

THE WORD DANCE THEATRE’s original production of Preludes: Duncan, Sand & Chopin is based on the love affair between one of the leading French Romantic female writers and the French composer, Frederic Chopin. The other part of the story is how Chopin’s 24 Preludes were interpreted by Isadora Duncan, the mother of modern dance... Read »

Ivey’s Dance at Noon

Monday, June 13, 2011
by Eliza Ingle
Ivey’s Dance at Noon

OVER THE PAST MANY YEARS, whenever I see the Robert Ivey Ballet Theatre perform, I am always struck by the vibrant young dancers with commitment in their eyes and love for their art form apparent in their energy-fueled dancing. At the end of the Dance at Noon concert performed on Friday at the Footlight... Read »

Manzo Amazes on Double-Bass

Sunday, June 12, 2011
by Carol Furtwangler
Manzo Amazes on Double-Bass

WHILE WE DO NOT get a whole lot of music at the Bank of America Chamber Music Series that host Geoff Nuttall describes as “wild and crazy,” those were in fact his first words at Chamber X Friday afternoon for the second performance that day of a program beginning with Louise Farrenc’s Piano Quintet... Read »

A Pure, Shining Talent

Sunday, June 12, 2011
by Carol Furtwangler
A Pure, Shining Talent

THE QUIRKY HUMOR of host, violinist, and director for Chamber Music Geoff Nuttall adds immeasurably to the enjoyment of the audiences at the twice-daily series of presentations at the Dock Street Theatre. In the stellar musicians’ third foray into Mozart, Handel, and Russian composer Anton Arensky Thursday afternoon, he had lots to say, but... Read »

Oliver Reels in “East 10th Street” Audience

Saturday, June 11, 2011
by Carol Furtwangler
Oliver Reels in “East 10th Street” Audience

SINCE ITS INCEPTION, but especially over the past several years, Spoleto USA has brought us a series of one-man shows ranging from artsy, hilarious, intriguing, even breathtaking, to downright dreadful. Performer and writer Edgar Oliver’s “East 10th Street: Self Portrait with Empty House” falls squarely into the first category. A New York City resident since... Read »

Curtis Commands Intermezzo

Saturday, June 11, 2011
by William Furtwangler
Curtis Commands Intermezzo

Conductor Harry Curtis THE FOURTH AND FINAL Intermezzo of Spoleto Festival USA featured members of the Spoleto Festival Orchestra under the sure-fire baton of English conductor Harry Curtis. The concert had perfect programming: George Frederic Handel’s Water Music Suite No. 2 in D Major, HWV 349, Igor Stravinsky’s Concerto in  E-flat “Dumbarton Oaks,” and... Read »

Stunning Saariaho at ‘Music in Time’ Finale

Saturday, June 11, 2011
by Lindsay Koob
Stunning Saariaho at ‘Music in Time’ Finale

I MUST ADMIT that—among Spoleto’s three regular series—my heart belongs to Geoff Nuttall’s supremely popular Chamber Series. But where my imagination and sense of musical adventure are concerned, John Kennedy’s ever-stimulating Music in Time (MIT) series definitely reigns supreme. And that’s a judgment that was strongly reinforced at Thursday’s fourth and final MIT program... Read »

‘Gospel’ is a Bright, Rousing Romp

Saturday, June 11, 2011
by Denise K. James
‘Gospel’ is a Bright, Rousing Romp

I HAD NO IDEA what to expect when I settled into my seat and got ready to watch the Gospel at Colonus. After the lights got dimmer, I looked around with my fellow theatre-goers and saw the members of the chorus, dressed in brightly-colored robes, walking up the outer aisles of the auditorium. The... Read »

A Dancer’s Story

Thursday, June 9, 2011
by Eliza Ingle
A Dancer’s Story

“IT IS WHEN MOVEMENT starts to be awkward that it becomes interesting.” This is how Cédric Andrieux explains his experience with Merce Cunningham whose company he was with for eight years. The statement could also describe Andrieux’s one-man and self-titled show at the Emmett Robinson Theatre where, for a little over an hour, the... Read »

Top-Caliber Technique on Display

Thursday, June 9, 2011
by William Furtwangler
Top-Caliber Technique on Display

AT THE EIGHTH Spoleto Festival USA Chamber Music concert Monday afternoon, Geoff Nuttall, host and director for chamber music, addressed the Dock Street Theatre house as “the world’s best audience,” a fitting complement to the world’s best musicians. The program included a Mozart piano concerto, a solo piano piece by Mendelssohn, and sandwiched between,... Read »

Kabat’s Cello Highlights Intermezzi

Thursday, June 9, 2011
by William Furtwangler
Kabat’s Cello Highlights Intermezzi

STARTING with a tiny version of the Spoleto Festival USA Orchestra, John Kennedy, conductor, opened the third of the Intermezzi series late Monday afternoon with Silvestre Revueltas’ Ocho por radio (Eight for Radio), a noisy short work written to be heard on the radio. Revueltas (1899-1940) composed this piece in 1933 in a Mexican... Read »

Circa Exceeds Extraordinary

Wednesday, June 8, 2011
by Carol Furtwangler
Circa Exceeds Extraordinary

THE OPENING of “Circa” Tuesday night at Memminger Auditorium, the packed house discovered that there are no elephants, lions, tigers, or bears, oh my. You will not see any scantily clad ladies riding bareback. No popcorn, no sawdust… So how can this be a circus? It isn’t, at least not in the traditional sense.... Read »

Another Dazzler at Young Artist Series

Wednesday, June 8, 2011
by Robert Bondurant
Another Dazzler at Young Artist Series

ONCE AGAIN, Enrique Graf’s Young Artist Series provided not only splendid fare but also superlative performances of two works any artist should approach with a hefty dose of Otis Redding approved R-E-S-P-E-C-T. And maybe also a touch of nervousness. In the Bach Concerto in C minor for Two Keyboards, BWV 1060—here arranged for Piano... Read »

Mixed Blessings at Chamber VII

Wednesday, June 8, 2011
by Lindsay Koob
Mixed Blessings at Chamber VII

SUNDAY’S CHAMBER SERIES VII at the Dock Street offered a particularly generous and wide-ranging array of works (four of them), with the emphasis on vocal selections—one of which began the program. Orpheus and Euridice, Ricky Ian Gordon’s (b. 1956) take on the ancient Greek myth, is a concert-length work (around an hour)—but, as the... Read »

Flummerfelt Leads Festival Highlight

Wednesday, June 8, 2011
by William Furtwangler
Flummerfelt Leads Festival Highlight

EVERY YEAR, the Spoleto Festival USA’s big choral/orchestral concert is a blockbuster presentation under Joseph Flummerfelt’s steady and instinctive guidance. Monday night’s performance at Gaillard Auditorium was one of the high points of this year’s festival. Flummerfelt, considered one of the top choral conductors worldwide, led in his usual—even understated—elegant fashion the Spoleto Festival... Read »

Rousing Rachmaninoff, Pleasing Poulenc

Tuesday, June 7, 2011
by Robert Bondurant
Rousing Rachmaninoff, Pleasing Poulenc

FRIDAY’S YOUNG ARTIST SERIES program began with the Tan and See Piano Duo planting a seed of joy with Francis Poulenc’s Concerto in D minor for Two Pianos. Humor, grace, and (sometimes more than…) just a hint of loucheness are ever present in Poulenc’s work, qualities Amy Tan and Chee-Hang See brought forth with... Read »

Seeing Stars in a Different Light

Tuesday, June 7, 2011
by Carol Furtwangler
Seeing Stars in a Different Light

ONE OF THE PERIPHERAL perks of Spoleto Festival USA is the opportunity to see and hear the stars of various Big Shows in another guise and in another venue. Up close and personal, the Intermezzi Series of four concerts held for years at 5 pm at Grace Episcopal Church, allows us to see whatever... Read »

Ex-con/poet Finds Beauty and Humor in Lemonade

Monday, June 6, 2011
by Duffy Lewis
Ex-con/poet Finds Beauty and Humor in Lemonade

LEMON ANDERSEN’s autobiographical one-man show, “County of Kings: A Beautiful Struggle,” received high praise at this year’s 2011 Spoleto festival. So much so, I wondered if it was warranted. While sitting for the dress rehearsal, I realized immediately that Andersen was a master storyteller with a triumphant story to tell. His words are powerful.... Read »

Fabulous Flecktones Impress at Gaillard

Monday, June 6, 2011
by William Furtwangler
Fabulous Flecktones Impress at Gaillard

THE GAILLARD AUDITORIUM was bulging at the seams with an overflow audience for Spoleto Festival USA’s presentation of Bela Fleck and The Flecktones in their original line-up. It was one designed to appeal to lovers of many different music genres. Sunday evening the band played non-stop for a few minutes short of two hours.... Read »

Young Culture Vultures

Sunday, June 5, 2011
by Eliza Ingle
Young Culture Vultures

AS I SAT BESIDE my eight-year-old daughter and watched the Charleston Ballet Theatre’s production of Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, I thought, thank goodness there is something besides the Nutcracker geared towards her age group. This is a wonderful production that uses the spoken story and songs recorded from the original and updated... Read »

Vivacious Brilliance at the Dock Street

Sunday, June 5, 2011
by William Furtwangler
Vivacious Brilliance at the Dock Street

RARELY HEARD in concert or recorded works by Ludwig van Beethoven, John Cage and Ernest Chausson filled the bill for the sixth Spoleto USA 2011 Chamber Music program Saturday afternoon. In 1801 Beethoven composed his Serenade in D Major, Op. 25. It was a momentous year for Beethoven who discovered he was going deaf.... Read »

Shen’s Way

Saturday, June 4, 2011
by Eliza Ingle
Shen’s Way

ART IS AT ITS BEST when it transports the viewer to another place, and in the case of Shen Wei Dance Arts’ performance, it is specifically the places of Tibet, Cambodia, and China that the dance takes us to. In Re- (Parts I, II, and III), choreographer Shen Wei created a three-part evening length... Read »

Visually Stunning and Emotional ‘Medium’

Saturday, June 4, 2011
by Lindsay Koob
Visually Stunning and Emotional ‘Medium’

I MUST CONFESS that, over the long haul, I’ve never been a big fan of Gian Carlo Menotti’s operas. Sure, as a teenager, I was beguiled—even moved to tears—by his Amahl and the Night Visitors. But none of his remaining operas (or other music, for that matter) has given me reason to consider him... Read »

A Musical Kaleidoscope of Modernity

Saturday, June 4, 2011
by William Furtwangler
A Musical Kaleidoscope of Modernity

SPOLETO USA’s Music in Time series second program, titled “A Sweeter Music,” featured twentieth-century music. John Kennedy, director and host of the series, introduced pianist Sarah Cahill. Cahill commissions and performs works that, outside of centers of music (the Music in Time series, New York City, San Francisco, music schools, etc.) and compact discs,... Read »

Chamber Group Sizzles at Dock Street

Saturday, June 4, 2011
by William Furtwangler
Chamber Group Sizzles at Dock Street

SPOLETO USA’s Chamber Music program No. 5 Thursday afternoon in a capacity Dock Street Theatre house featured works by Sergei Prokofiev, Franz Joseph Haydn, and Johann Sebastian Bach in sterling readings. Opening with Prokofiev’s 1923 Quintet in G Minor, Op. 39, Todd Palmer, clarinet, James Austin Smith, oboe, Livia Sohn, violin, Daniel Phillips, viola,... Read »

Festival Orchestra in Good Hands With Gaffigan

Friday, June 3, 2011
by William Furtwangler
Festival Orchestra in Good Hands With Gaffigan

SPOLETO’S FESTIVAL CONCERT is always anticipated and a chance to hear a super-sized  orchestra. The audience Wednesday night at Gaillard Municipal Auditorium, while not quite filling the place, was ready for a sonic onslaught from the Spoleto Festival Orchestra. There were two hits and one miss. Conductor James Gaffigan made it to the podium... Read »

Not So Beautiful

Friday, June 3, 2011
by Carol Furtwangler
Not So Beautiful

WHILE DEAN WHAREHAM and Britta Phillips have quite the reputation among indie-pop groupies, what they brought to the 2011 Spoleto Festival was flat, bland, repetitive, and painfully boring. “13 Most Beautiful…,” which opened Wednesday night at the College of Charleston’s Emmett Robinson Theatre, was billed as a performance art piece that promised original music... Read »

Virtuosity on Display (again)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011
by William Furtwangler
Virtuosity on Display (again)

SPOLETO USA’s CHAMBER MUSIC series in the Dock Street Theatre continues with sold out houses. Program No. 4 Wednesday afternoon left no doubt about the continued virtuosic skill of the musicians at hand and the sustained excellent programming for the series. Geoff Nuttall, artistic director and host, stressed that the 15-year old Felix Mendelssohn’s... Read »

More Lush Liszt from the Young Artist Series

Wednesday, June 1, 2011
by Robert Bondurant
More Lush Liszt from the Young Artist Series

THE PROPER CELEBRATION of Franz Liszt’s bicentennial year has not been lost on Enrique Graf and his Young Artist Series. Tuesday’s concert set quite a high bar, but doing justice to this prolific composer’s immense body of work requires much more. And so, another full program dedicated solely to Liszt’s music provided a stupendous... Read »

Liszt Bicentennial Bash? Bravo!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011
by Robert Bondurant
Liszt Bicentennial Bash? Bravo!

First, a little history: While plausible arguments can be made that Wagner’s “Tristan chord” provided the seed for much of twentieth-century music, a great deal of credit for the germination and planting of that seed must go to Wagner’s father-in-law, Franz Liszt. Liszt’s accumulation of technique encompassed nearly the entire range of physical possibilities... Read »

Weird, World-class Theater

Tuesday, May 31, 2011
by Carol Furtwangler
Weird, World-class Theater

IN BASIC WHITE UNDERWEAR, the five cast members of the UK’s Kneehigh Theatre stroll, parade, stomp, and romp around a set that appears simplistic but becomes versatile and complex in the Spoleto Festival production of “The Red Shoes.” This transformation exactly parallels the plot and the development of the characters. The actors could not... Read »

Elegant, Flamboyant Romanticism

Tuesday, May 31, 2011
by William Furtwangler
Elegant, Flamboyant Romanticism

SPOLETO’s  THIRD CHAMBER MUSIC program of modern, not-so-modern, and early romantic works delighted the audience. Series artistic director, Geoff Nuttall, in his entertaining and informative remarks, recalled a comment by pianist Anne-Marie McDermott about the first offering: it was psychotic and sensuous. 20th-century French composer Maurice Duruflé, best known for his Requiem, composed Prélude,... Read »

More Mesmerizing Chamber Music

Monday, May 30, 2011
by William Furtwangler
More Mesmerizing Chamber Music

DIRECTOR OF CHAMBER MUSIC for the Spoleto Festival USA, host and first violinist of the St. Lawrence String Quartet, Geoff Nuttall called the program about to be performed Sunday afternoon “eclectic.” It was. Pianist Peja Muzijevic opened with the solo piano version of composer-in-residence Osvaldo Golijov’s ZZ’s Dream, heard the day before in an... Read »

‘Inishmaan’ is Candid, Bold, and Funny

Monday, May 30, 2011
by Carol Furtwangler
‘Inishmaan’ is Candid, Bold, and Funny

“The Cripple of Inishmaan” is a play so inherently Irish, you walk out of the Dock Street Theatre speaking with a decided brogue. And who better to mount this Spoleto Festival production than Druid, Ireland’s illustrious theatre company that first brought Martin McDonagh’s dark comedy to the stage in 1996? That show went on... Read »

Kennedy Leads Music in Time

Sunday, May 29, 2011
by William Furtwangler
Kennedy Leads Music in Time

SPOLETO USA’s MUSIC IN TIME programs, featuring serious contemporary music, used to require something of an open mind on the part of the audience. Whether series director and host John Kennedy has mellowed in his musical choices, or audiences have become more accustomed to new music, is not entirely clear. Friday afternoon’s performances for... Read »

Piano Heaven at Piccolo

Sunday, May 29, 2011
by Robert Bondurant
Piano Heaven at Piccolo

WHAT A WAY TO BEGIN one’s Piccolo Spoleto festival! The Young Artist Series blasted a packed house into piano heaven on Saturday with a beautifully balanced program focusing on transcriptions of early twentieth-century French works, with some Gershwin and Piazzolla thrown in as a climax to the darker seduction of the more impressionistic works.... Read »

New Magic in a Mozart Favorite

Saturday, May 28, 2011
by William Furtwangler
New Magic in a Mozart Favorite

PYROTECHNICS, EXPLOSIONS, thunder and lightning, strobe lights, and flying singers: not what is usually expected in classical period opera. But Spoleto USA’s production of Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute) had all this and more. It lived up to an opera lover’s expectations of being well sung, well conducted, well staged, and well worth... Read »

Taylor Mac’s Latenight Glitter

Saturday, May 28, 2011
by Carol Furtwangler
Taylor Mac’s Latenight Glitter

IF YOU HAPPENED to catch Taylor Mac’s wild and crazy show in 2008—his first appearance at Spoleto Festival USA—do not for a moment hesitate to get tickets for his gig this year which plays only twice more at the College of Charleston’s Emmett Robinson Theatre, tonight and Sunday, in the late-night spot (oooh, 10... Read »

Nuttall & Friends Open Chamber Series

Saturday, May 28, 2011
by William Furtwangler
Nuttall & Friends Open Chamber Series

THE MUCH ANTICIPATED first Spoleto USA Chamber Music program was a breathtaking spectacular. Geoff Nuttall, host and director for Spoleto’s chamber music programs, bounded onto the Dock Street Theatre stage Friday afternoon to welcome the capacity audience. Nuttall delivered his comments in his distinctive up-beat style, introducing the music and musicians for the concert,... Read »

Striking Performance by Corella Ballet

Saturday, May 28, 2011
by Eliza Ingle
Striking Performance by Corella Ballet

THE CORELLA BALLET’s performance at the Gaillard Auditorium Friday night was one of those Spoleto moments where artistry and virtuosity aligned in exquisite perfection. The flawless execution by the dancer under the direction of Angel Corella showed a company beautiful to behold as well as a program that displayed the magnitude of the art... Read »

When the Old Becomes New

Saturday, May 28, 2011
by Eliza Ingle
When the Old Becomes New

IN THE PREVIEW performance of Khmeropedies l& ll that began Spoleto Festival’s 35th season at the Emmett Robinson Theatre, the idea of dance as a tradition was seen as a tenuous thing. Passing it down is tricky, as the human memory is faulty and specifics may vanish in the blip of a generation; and... Read »

A Little Spoleto Magic

Friday, May 27, 2011
by Eliza Ingle
A Little Spoleto Magic

ONE OF THE WAYS that Spoleto will be observing what would be the 100th birthday of Gian Carlo Menotti, the festival’s founder, is by presenting one of his operas, The Medium, at the Dock Street Theatre. First performed in 1946, it is the story of a phony psychic who claims to contact the dead... Read »

Spoleto 2011 Dance Preview

Monday, May 2, 2011
by Eliza Ingle
Spoleto 2011 Dance Preview

NOW THAT THE COLOR-FILLED CARPET of Spring has been rolled out and the Royals have been married off, Spoleto Festival USA is ready to spread its wings in Charleston for 17 fun-filled days (beginning May 27). The lineup for this 35th year looks particularly exciting with 152 performances and performers from all corners of... Read »

support CharlestonToday

ORDER Now in Paperback
Books by Peter Ingle

It is with life as it is with art: the deeper one penetrates, the broader the view.                   
~ Johann Goethe