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30 Apr 2019
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Piccolo Spoleto has announced its festival lineup, and it’s a whopper. Of course, Piccolo Spoleto is the “little sister” of Spoleto Festival USA, and the two run concurrently with each other.  This year it’s Friday, May 24th through Sunday, June 9th. Spoleto tickets have been available for some time, as I’ve covered in this blog.  But Piccolo Spoleto announces their performers and schedules much later than big sis Spoleto does, and much closer to the festival itself… in other words, now. No doubt that’s because they have so many more events to coordinate and finalize  -  literally in the hundreds.  Piccolo Spoleto 2019’s official guide is a whopping 76 pages long.  As usual, there’s a myriad of great things to choose from; it’s actually a bit of over-choice.  

Get The Official Piccolo Spoleto Guide Now

  You can pick up a printed copy of the guide around town, or at their main office.  The City of Charleston runs Piccolo Spoleto through its Office of Cultural Affairs, located at 75 Calhoun Street, Suite 3800.  It’s open Monday through Friday from 9:00 – 5:00. They will also be glad to mail you a copy.  Just give them a call at 843-724-7305 or email [email protected]. The schedule is also available online.  Here’s a link to the 76-page Piccolo Festival schedule. By the way, you never know what kind of up-and-coming talent you might discover at Piccolo.  About a dozen years ago, a young and relatively unknown comic named Amy Schumer was the warm-up act for Isaac Witty in a Piccolo Spoleto event!  

What’s Piccolo Spoleto offering this year?

  Here’s the official website with access to all the events.  You can search by date or by category -  festival traditions; music; theatre & dance; literary, heritage & ideas; or visual arts. The festival traditions category is especially fun.  Most of those are free and fun large-scale events, like the Sunset Serenade, Family Day at Marion Square, the Memorial Day Concert, Sand Sculpting Competition here on the Isle of Palms, Piccolo Spoleto Finale, and the ever popular Seed & Feed Marching Abominable. Tickets can be purchased online, by calling 866-811-4111, or in person at the Gaillard Center, 95 Calhoun Street, 9:00am - 5:00pm daily from Tuesday, April 30. Payments accepted: All major credit cards, cash, or check. A Charleston beach house is an easy drive from all Spoleto or Piccolo Spoleto events, most of which take place on the downtown peninsula.  It also provides you with a beach vacation at the same time.  

Free Spoleto Artist Talks, or “Salons”

  If you’ve been to Spoleto before, you know that tickets can be a bit pricey, especially for large productions like operas and theater performances.  That’s one thing that makes Piccolo Spoleto a nice option.  Many events are free or are much less expensive than Spoleto events. Well, this year Spoleto itself is offering free artist talks, or Spoleto Salons, happening three Tuesdays in a row leading up to the festival.  The first one is tonight.  They are free, but you do need to reserve a spot.  

Here’s more about the free salons from Spoleto Festival…


The Spoleto Salons—hosted at The Murray Center, 14 George Street—aim to illuminate elements of the 2019 Festival, offering fascinating behind-the-scenes perspectives from various creative personnel. Salons are free and open to the public; reservations required. Use the buttons below to reserve your seat or call (843) 579-3100.


SALON 1 Tuesday, April 30, at 5:30pm Moderated by Edward Hart



How has Spoleto Festival USA changed the physical and cultural landscape of Charleston? The Festival has not only been instrumental in the preservation of some of Charleston’s most well-known theaters and buildings but has also been a catalyst for creating new performing arts spaces for artists throughout the city. Further, how has the Festival been a beacon for attracting people to the Charleston area?



SALON 2 Tuesday, May 7, at 5:30pm Moderated by Edward Hart



Best known for the “Dance of the Seven Veils,” Strauss’s opera Salome is as riveting today as it was at its 1905 premiere. The libretto―dripping with opulent language from Oscar Wilde’s play by the same name―depicts the biblical story of Herod’s lovesick stepdaughter and John the Baptist’s ill fate. Please join us for a discussion with Salome Directors Patrice Caurier and Moshe Leiser as we discover how time has influenced their career in storytelling.



SALON 3 Tuesday, May 14, at 5:30pm Moderated by Edward Hart



You may not know her name yet, but soprano Melanie Henley Heyn is a star in the making—and singing the title role in this season’s all-new production of Salome, Strauss’s notorious opera. Born in a small town in Northeastern Pennsylvania, Melanie studied at Manhattan School of Music, University of Southern California, and the Konservatorium Wien (now the Music and Arts University of the City of Vienna) in Austria. And though she has sung professionally in countless orchestral and vocal concerts around the globe, performing as Salome at Spoleto Festival USA will be her full-length opera debut. Please join us for a discussion with Melanie as we discover what it takes to become a leading soprano.


  So plan your Piccolo Spoleto experience now, and call EP ASAP if you’d like a beach house for a festival home base. All best, Lowcountry Lisa your Isle of Palms vacation blogger