Spoleto 2012

Impressive Pianists Conclude Young Artists Series

Wednesday, June 13, 2012
by Peter Ingle
Impressive Pianists Conclude Young Artists Series

CHOPIN’s MUSIC, especially his piano music, has a signature quality that is hard to describe, but you know it as ‘Chopin’ (1810-1849) when you hear it. Which, of course, poses a challenge for pianists. Do they make it ‘the same’ or do they try to make it ‘their own’ and run the risk of... Read »

Shush Already at the Concerts!

Saturday, June 9, 2012
by Hattie Nuff
Shush Already at the Concerts!

GEEZ… when are people gonna figure it out? Isn’t it obvious that paper and plastic wrappers are a concert’s worst enemy? — though recording poles and paraphernalia—which are ugly and block our view—are starting to make a strong case. But it’s the noisemakers that really gotta go. And that includes the people making it!... Read »

Traces of Delight

Saturday, June 9, 2012
by Eliza Ingle
Traces of Delight

THE MEMBERS of the 7 Fingers troupe from Montreal are surely the most likeable group at Spoleto this year performing in their show Traces, which is a delightful blend of acrobatics, dance, and circus arts with an urban flare. The urban flare accounts for the skateboarding and street dance that gets mixed into this... Read »

He Ain’t No Daisy, That’s for Sure

Thursday, June 7, 2012
by Peter Ingle
He Ain’t No Daisy, That’s for Sure

MIKE DAISEY, monologist extraordinaire, who performed on the College of Charleston Emmet Robinson Stage Wednesday night, is a one-of-a-kind storyteller, actor, raconteur, comedian, romantic, sentimentalist, philosopher, liar, truth-seeker, teddy bear, and daredevil. Audiences are drawn to his signature “events“ partly because of his improvisational inventiveness, but equally because they admire his rare combination of... Read »

Looking Through the Cracks of the Unusual

Thursday, June 7, 2012
by Eliza Ingle
Looking Through the Cracks of the Unusual

A CRACK IN EVERYTHING by husband and wife team Zoe/Juniper does indeed break apart our perceptions of space, time, and reality with a performance that magically blends video and movement. And though the artists are not the first to work this way, they handle this experience in a most inventive and unusual way which... Read »

Two Russian String Quartets

Thursday, June 7, 2012
by Peter Ingle
Two Russian String Quartets

RUSSIAN COMPOSERS Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) and Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975) never knew each other, having lived in different periods of Russia’s turbulent history, but there was an evident link in their music Wednesday night at the City Gallery Waterfront Park. Violinists David Chernyavsky and Yuriy Bekker, along with violist Simon Ertz and cellist Philip... Read »

A Chamber Series Extravaganza

Thursday, June 7, 2012
by William Furtwangler
A Chamber Series Extravaganza

SPOLETO FESTIVAL USA’s Chamber Music Director and Host, Geoff Nuttall, promised an extravaganza for the ninth concert Wednesday afternoon at the Dock Street Theatre. He and his musical friends delivered. In a darkened theatre, Todd Palmer, clarinetist extraordinaire, performed contemporary Scottish composer James MacMillan’s haunting From Galloway. Without being in evidence, Palmer’s clarinet filled... Read »

The Mezmerizing Music of China

Tuesday, June 5, 2012
by Peter Ingle
The Mezmerizing Music of China

NOT EVEN IN AMERICA’S largest cities do you often have a chance to hear Chinese music played on original instruments by native virtuosos—four of them. At Intermezzo IV in the Cathedral of St. Luke and St. Paul, musicians Chen Yihan (pipa), Hong-Da Chin (dadi/dizi), Wang Guowei (erhu/goohu/zhonghu), and Wang Hong (guanzi/sheng) were no less... Read »

Chamber Series Hosts a Tarantella, Bach, and Teheran

Tuesday, June 5, 2012
by William Furtwangler
Chamber Series Hosts a Tarantella, Bach, and Teheran

THE EIGHTH Spoleto Festival USA chamber music concert opened Tuesday morning to a full Dock Street Theatre. It offered a diverse program, varied and complex as the compositions performed. Opening with Saint-Saëns’ Tarantella for Flute, Clarinet and Piano in A Minor, Op.6, Tara Helen O’Connor (flute), Todd Palmer (clarinet) and Pedja Muzijevic (piano) offered... Read »

Dynamic Ukulele Sells Out at Spoleto

Tuesday, June 5, 2012
by Duffy Lewis
Dynamic Ukulele Sells Out at Spoleto

JAKE SHIMABUKURO’s career as a ukulele soloist has taken him to new heights since his sold-out Spoleto appearance in 2009. The YouTube phenomenon (his rendition of George Harrison’s “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” has collected over 8 million views) continues to capture and enthrall international audiences and garner the admiration of well-known musicians. The... Read »

Intermezzo III Presents a Mystery

Monday, June 4, 2012
by Peter Ingle
Intermezzo III Presents a Mystery

WHO WAS ARNOLD SCHOENBERG? That’s the question that kept coming while listening to his novel work, Pierrot Lunaire, Opus 21, which was featured at Intermezzo III in the Simons Center Recital Hall. As innovative as this composition was (in 1912), and as controversial as the composer’s methods were (and are) considered to be—and notwithstanding... Read »

Cedar Lake Features a Mix of Choreography

Monday, June 4, 2012
by Deanna McBrearty
Cedar Lake Features a Mix of Choreography

CEDAR LAKE Contemporary Ballet took grand gestures in stride at Spoleto Festival 2012, and invited us into their abstract terrain. The company graced us with a stellar program of enticing works by established choreographers: Hofesh Shechter’s “Violet Kid,” Angelin Prelijocaj’s revised 1995 work, “Annonciation,”  and Crystal Pite’s “Grace Engine.” “Violet Kid” opened the evening’s... Read »

Piano Blockbusters? Piano Blockbusters!

Monday, June 4, 2012
by Robert Bondurant
Piano Blockbusters? Piano Blockbusters!

SATURDAY’s Young Artist Series brought together an eclectic mix of style, fire, grace, and more than enough wonderful performances to satisfy even the stodgiest of listeners. Once again, Enrique Graf has assembled a program capable not only of lifting the spirit and providing food for thought, but also showcasing how these elements fit into... Read »

Intermezzo II Charms and Delights

Sunday, June 3, 2012
by Peter Ingle
Intermezzo II Charms and Delights

OF COURSE, the favorite song—at least for Charlestonians in the audience—of this Intermezzo II performance at the Simons Center was Cole Porter’s “Tale of the Oyster” which, if you don’t know it, tells the story of an oyster’s adventurous journey from its home into the literal midst of high society and back again. It... Read »

“Normel People” Packs the House at Footlight

Sunday, June 3, 2012
by Carol Furtwangler
“Normel People” Packs the House at Footlight

WHEN A THEATRE PRESENTATION is funny and smart, fast-paced and wise, word spreads like wildfire, especially at Festival time. Judy and Thomas Burke Heath’s “Perfectly Normel People” has all those elements and more, resulting in SRO crowds at the Footlight Players Theatre for every performance of this Piccolo Spoleto world premiere. Saturday night, the... Read »

Nuttall Plays “Second Fiddle” in This One

Sunday, June 3, 2012
by Peter Ingle
Nuttall Plays “Second Fiddle” in This One

AS IN, “second fiddle” to his wife and talented violinist, Livia Sohn, during Program VI of the Spoleto chamber series. Together they performed the short Étude-caprice by Henry Wieniawski (1835-1880) who was himself a virtuoso violinist. Geoff described the piece as an analogy to married life. Livia, of course, played the “difficult” passages, Geoff... Read »

Philip Glass and the ‘Language of Music’

Sunday, June 3, 2012
by Peter Ingle
Philip Glass and the ‘Language of Music’

HOW REFRESHING to discover that behind the paradox of popularity, expostulation, and allure of composer Philip Glass lies a down-to-earth, sensitive, articulate man who above all loves, as he says, “the language of music.” What became most apparent while listening to Mr. Glass be interviewed by “Music In Time” host, John Kennedy, is that... Read »

“Radio Show” Tunes In

Sunday, June 3, 2012
by Eliza Ingle
“Radio Show” Tunes In

KYLE ABRAHAM’s evening-length work, The Radio Show, is an intimate examination of loss of both a personal and cultural kind. One on hand, the dance draws from Abraham’s own father’s loss of speech and memory due to Alzheimer’s. On the other hand, it is inspired by the loss of a Pittsburgh urban radio station:... Read »

The World-Class Westminster Choir

Saturday, June 2, 2012
by Peter Ingle
The World-Class Westminster Choir

RARELY IF EVER do you hear such a boom of voices in church—in this case shot out of a choral canon called the Westminster Choir which performed June 1st at the Cathedral of St. Luke and St. Paul. This group makes a strong impression visually with the men in white bow ties and tails,... Read »

Young Artists Series Holds Rachmaninoff Weep-Fest

Friday, June 1, 2012
by Robert Bondurant
Young Artists Series Holds Rachmaninoff Weep-Fest

AS MAESTRO ENRIQUE GRAF likes to point out, Rachmaninoff always draws the big crowds. Thursday’s Young Artists Series was no exception: a nearly full theatre all chomping at the bit to hear these simple melodies fly when given their proper and oh-so-complex underpinnings. For this humble reviewer, that contrast holds the key to allowing... Read »

Young Artists Series Shows Off—and Delivers

Thursday, May 31, 2012
by Robert Bondurant
Young Artists Series Shows Off—and Delivers

WHEN ASKED what to expect for Wednesday’s Young Artists Series, Chee-Hang See replied with quiet firmness, “Oh, it’s showy!” The first few bars of his revelatory show opener proved that to be quite the understatement. Excellent programming and wonderful talent have always been hallmarks of Enrique Graf’s College of Charleston student showcase. If today’s... Read »

Mozart to Messiaen at Chamber Series

Wednesday, May 30, 2012
by William Furtwangler
Mozart to Messiaen at Chamber Series

SPOLETO USA CHAMBER MUSIC series director and host, Geoff Nuttall, rushed onto the Dock Street Theatre stage Wednesday morning to explain the programming of two serious pieces and two humorous ones. As first violin with the St. Lawrence String Quartet, he was joined by second violin Scott St. John, cello Christopher Costanza, and viola... Read »

The Majestic Beauty of Bach’s Cello Suites

Wednesday, May 30, 2012
by Peter Ingle
The Majestic Beauty of Bach’s Cello Suites

NOT SURPISINGLY, First Scots Presbyterian was even more full on Tuesday than it had been last Friday when Natalia Khoma played the first three suites for unaccompanied cello by J.S. Bach. And she certainly did not disappoint with the remaining three. Suite No. 4 in E flat Major marks a departure from the pleasantly... Read »

French Master of the Double Bass

Tuesday, May 29, 2012
by Peter Ingle
French Master of the Double Bass

THIS MUSICAL MAVERICK takes the typically unglamorous double bass far beyond its expected boundaries in a way that is almost impossible to describe, as we witnessed for more than an hour Tuesday at the Simons Center. More than 20 years ago, Renaud Garcia-Fons added an extra string (a high C) to expand the double... Read »

The Pure Joy of Flamenco

Tuesday, May 29, 2012
by Peter Ingle
The Pure Joy of Flamenco

OCCASIONALLY, David Peña Dorantes reaches inside the open piano and plucks the strings directly while playing the keyboard. This has become almost a fashion among Jazz pianists, but with David you get the feeling that it is, like him, genuine. He’s sincerely trying to draw out as much of the music as he can―while... Read »

Piccolo Spoleto Literary Festival

Tuesday, May 29, 2012
by Carol Furtwangler
Piccolo Spoleto Literary Festival

FOR THE FIFTH consecutive year, the Charleston Library Society is sponsoring the Piccolo Spoleto Literary Festival, with five outstanding programs scheduled at 3 pm all this week in the elegant main reading room of the Society’s primary building at 164 King Street. The opening speaker Monday afternoon was Curtis Worthington, local neurosurgeon celebrated as... Read »

Weilerstein Wows the Dock Street Audience

Monday, May 28, 2012
by William Furtwangler
Weilerstein Wows the Dock Street Audience

AT THE THIRD Spoleto USA chamber music concert Monday afternoon, they saved the best for last. Cellist Alisa Weilerstein and pianist Inon Barnaton delivered a world-beating performance of Igor Stravinsky’s Suite Italienne (1932-1933), which was derived by the composer from his ballet with song Pulcinella (1920). Stravinsky was out of his Russian period and... Read »

Tchaikovsky’s Piano Trio—to Perfection

Monday, May 28, 2012
by Peter Ingle
Tchaikovsky’s Piano Trio—to Perfection

PYOTR TCHAIKOVSKY’s music was never far from his life. It was inspired by and became an intensely personal commentary about his life that ineluctably (and thankfully) poured out of him. Such was the case (in this Piccolo Spoleto concert at Waterfront Gallery on Saturday) with his Piano Trio in a minor, Opus 50 subtitled... Read »

Young Artists Shine at the Simons Center

Monday, May 28, 2012
by Peter Ingle
Young Artists Shine at the Simons Center

THE COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON Young Artists Series (YAS) has become a staple of Piccolo Spoleto, but not everyone knows that these concerts also take place during the school year. Hosted by Artist-in-Residence, Enrique Graf (whose piano students are among the performers), the YAS showcases some amazing young talent. Saturday’s program included a broad range... Read »

Southern Artists Celebrate Dubose Heyward

Monday, May 28, 2012
by Carol Furtwangler
Southern Artists Celebrate Dubose Heyward

“A HIGH, BLUE, listless afternoon” became on Sunday at the Circular Congregational Church a paean to DuBose Heyward—native son, poet, novelist, playwright, and of course lyricist of Gershwin’s “Porgy and Bess.” The fourth annual Piccolo Spoleto Southern Artists Celebratory Series honors Southern artists who made a lasting impact on the culture of both the South... Read »

Chamber Music II Serves Up a Feast

Sunday, May 27, 2012
by Peter Ingle
Chamber Music II Serves Up a Feast

EVERYONE KNOWS by now that Geoff Nuttall is the least staid classical musician you will ever meet in terms of his manner as well as his attire—I want those shoes! But make no mistake, even though he could be the most likeable Music 101 professor anywhere, he knows how to switch from laid-back program... Read »

“Hay Fever” Opens with British Aplomb

Sunday, May 27, 2012
by Stan Gill
“Hay Fever” Opens with British Aplomb

AS IN MOST Noel Coward comedies, style is as important as substance, and substance lurks neatly between the lines and in the hidden brilliance of the author’s knowledge of the human ego. Hay Fever, The Gate Theatre of Dublin’s entrance in this year’s Spoleto Festival, is not only no exception to this—it is his... Read »

Hilarious “Musical of Musicals” at Footlight

Sunday, May 27, 2012
by Stan Gill
Hilarious “Musical of Musicals” at Footlight

I COULD BEGIN this review a number of ways. I could say, for example, that Musical of Musicals (The Musical!)—The Footlight Players’ 2012
 Piccolo Spoleto Festival musical offering—is a hilarious and refreshing break from the same old 
musicals that every local theatre remounts. I could say that young Jon-Michael Perry’s debut as a director... Read »

Natalia Khoma Commands the Cello Suites

Saturday, May 26, 2012
by Peter Ingle
Natalia Khoma Commands the Cello Suites

GREAT MUSIC requires great talent to bring it alive. The stupendous six suites for unaccompanied cello by J.S. Bach certainly fall into this category, as does Natalia Khoma who is performing them during Piccolo Spoleto. At the first note of the Prelude from Suite No. 1 in G Major, Natalia plunged into Bach’s prosaic... Read »

Alvin Ailey Dancers Still Revelatory

Saturday, May 26, 2012
by Eliza Ingle
Alvin Ailey Dancers Still Revelatory

WATCHING the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre perform Friday night at the Gaillard Auditorium, two things became immediately apparent: one is the generosity of spirit these magnificent dancers employ; the other is how much the audience is so willing to love them in whatever they do. The opening program (it will be a different... Read »

Nuttall and Friends Dazzle at Chamber Series Opening

Saturday, May 26, 2012
by William Furtwangler
Nuttall and Friends Dazzle at Chamber Series Opening

WITHOUT QUESTION, the Spoleto Festival USA’s highest standards are exemplified in its Chamber Music series. Performing twice daily at the Dock Street Theatre, a complement of musical virtuosos never fail to excite, challenge, and painlessly educate an avid audience. At the opening of the 33rd festival extravaganza, series director, host, and Music 101 scholar... Read »

Spoleto Blooming: What Dance is Coming?

Wednesday, May 2, 2012
by Eliza Ingle
Spoleto Blooming: What Dance is Coming?

AS MAY UNFOLDS, the relief of the end of school approaches, graduations sprinkle through the weeks, and the respite of summer looms, we lucky Charlestonians have the added perk of welcoming the Spoleto Festival. It is not too early to make plans to see a terrific array of theatre, music, and dance which will... Read »

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


Read the review at A Window Into Russia blog

“You have some of our money and we have some of your wine.” ~ Clos Saron