You are here

(843) 579-3100
05/26/2023 to 06/11/2023
Related Items: 

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 was 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 47th annual Spoleto Festival 2023 season was officially unveiled on Friday, January 27th, with online ticket sales opening as well.  Highlights include Samuel Barber's Pulitzer Prize-willing opera Vanessa (with libretto by Gian Carlo Menotti), the Scottish Ballet performing The Crucible, Stravinsky's The Rite of SpringDvořák’s New World Symphony, Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique, and the platinum selling bluegrass group Nickel Creek.

Tickets often sell out quickly.  Check the website for the full schedule.

Beyond the Garden Gate