About Spoleto Festival USA
Spoleto Festival 2007
Spoleto Festival USA was founded in 1977 by Gian Carlo Menotti, Christopher Keene and others involved in the Festival of Two Worlds as the American counterpart to that festival held annually in Spoleto, Italy. A Pulitzer Prize-winning composer, Menotti began the Italian festival in 1958 as a forum for young American artists in Europe. The festival quickly became a haven for a large group of artists, both traditional and experimental, who found the mix of dance, theater, opera, music, and the visual arts to be both exciting and stimulating.
When the organizers of the Festival of Two Worlds planned an American festival, they searched for an American city that would offer the charm of Spoleto, Italy, and also its wealth of theaters, churches, and other performance spaces. Charleston, South Carolina was the perfect counterpart. The city is small enough to be dominated by nonstop arts events during the 17-day festival, but also large and sophisticated enough to provide a knowledgeable audience and appropriate theaters. Furthermore,Charleston has an extensive history of involvement with the arts from housing America’s first theater and ballet companies to housing the oldest musical organization in the country.
Spoleto Festival USA has maintained traditions of the Festival of Two Worlds such as a dedication to young artists, a fascination with contemporary effort, an enthusiasm for providing unusual performance opportunities to recognized masters in their fields, and a commitment to all forms of the performing arts. Each year, audience members experience a broad range of artistic styles and forms, including classical ballet; modern and post-modern dance; opera; chamber, symphonic, and choral music; jazz; theater; and visual arts. Spoleto has earned a reputation for offering programs of the highest artistic caliber, supporting new and innovative works, nurturing outstanding young artists, and expanding public appreciation of the arts. This focus has brought the festival international acclaim year after year.