By Nigel Redden for Island Eye News
Gian Carlo Menotti founded Spoleto Festival USA as a haven for artists where audiences could immerse themselves in performances that challenged, entertained, and often enlightened.
2020 promised to be an exceptional year for Spoleto Festival USA. Omar, the new opera by Rhiannon Giddens and co-composer Michael Abels, was set to open our celebration of the 350th anniversary of Charleston’s founding by remembering an African scholar who was sold into slavery through Gadsden’s Wharf in 1807. Geoff Nuttall had organized a Bank of America Chamber Music series that was extraordinary, even by his high standards, and artists from New York, South Africa, and New Orleans were set to arrive for concerts in the Wells Fargo Jazz series. We were prepared to welcome back Scottish Ballet, which made its American debut at the Festival thirty-four years ago, and Caleb Teicher, a young tap dance wonder who first appeared at the Festival in 2009. For our audience who was buying tickets in record numbers, we were planning to add performances of The Stations, Meow Meow, and Wonders at Dusk. But the world has changed.
Our decision to cancel the 2020 Festival season is extraordinarily difficult and deeply painful to our artists, volunteers, staff, and, I think, to our audience. However, to continue plans in the face of COVID-19 would be irresponsible. We commit to making the 2021 Festival, scheduled for May 28 – June 13, 2021, an even more wonderful way to celebrate life and the arts. Our dedication to young, emerging artists remains the same, and together we can ensure a bright future for them and for Spoleto.
We will be in touch with ticket holders and donors as soon as possible with additional information regarding ticket return options and refunds. We appreciate your patience as we work through this unprecedented situation.
Please take care of yourselves and your loved ones during these uncertain times.