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05/26/2023 to 06/11/2023
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Festivals

Spoleto Festival USA is one of the premier arts festivals in the world.  

Spoleto Festival USA began in 1977 when Gian Carlo Menotti, the Pulitzer Prize-winning operatic composer, decided to create an American companion to the Festival dei Due Mondi (Festival of Two Worlds) in Spoleto, Italy. 

He looked all over America and chose Charleston.  Here's why: “It’s intimate, so you can walk from one theatre to the next.  It has Old World charm in architecture and gardens.  Yet it’s a community big enough to support the large number of visitors to the festival.”

Spoleto Festival USA has grown exponentially in size and influence in the decades ever since.

For 17 days each year, at the end of May through the beginning of June, the arts take over Charleston.  World-class performances of music, theater, dance and opera abound, all across the historic downtown peninsula and beyond.  Venues include the newly redesigned Gaillard Center, as well as theaters, churches, historic sites and outdoor spaces.

Some Spoleto 2022 Stats:

  • Over 60,000 audience members;
  • Nearly 300 artists performing;
  • More than 10 world and U.S. premieres;
  • 120 performances.

Spoleto 2022 hosted the much-anticipated world premiere of "Omar: A New Opera."  Spoleto commissioned Grammy-winning (and MacArthur Fellow) Rhiannon Giddens to write the full-length opera, which was supposed to premiere in 2020.   The work is based on the rare autobiography of Omar Ibn Said, an enslaved man who arrived in Charleston in 1807.  Omar will be one of three operas performed at this year's Spoleto.

The 46th annual Spoleto Festival ran from May 27th through June 12th, 2022, and by all estimations was a rousing success.

The 2022 season was officially unveiled on Friday, February 11th.  Tickets were available to the general public starting at 10:00 a.m. on February 22nd, or on Monday, February 14th for Spoleto donors.   Tickets traditionally go on sale a few months before the festival dates and often sell out quickly.  The pandemic has wreaked havoc on Spoleto for the last couple years, but organizers planned for a more and more normal (and better than ever) edition of the festival in 2022 and beyond. 

The 47th annual Spoleto Festival in 2023 is still in the planning stages, and no information is available yet.  Please check in later for more info. 

Beyond the Garden Gate