Saturday, May 26, 2018

PHOTOS: Spoleto Festival 2018 kicks off with opening party

Let's Go

Posted by Ruta Elvikyte on Sat, May 26, 2018 at 8:45 AM

Friday, May 25, 2018

Spoleto kicks off with confetti, playwright Henry Naylor, and gravity defying Aussies

"True art may save us all"

Posted by Mary Scott Hardaway on Fri, May 25, 2018 at 3:21 PM

  • Mary Scott Hardaway
Henry Naylor laid down some wisdom for those in the crowd. - CONNELLY HARDAWAY
  • Connelly Hardaway
  • Henry Naylor laid down some wisdom for those in the crowd.
It was par for the course at the opening ceremony for Spoleto Festival USA 2018: hot as hell, the who's who of the city in attendance furiously flapping their paper fans, and a confetti blast that caught us off guard again.

We had some laughs, thank god, to keep us from melting into the pavement. The charismatic and eloquent Borders British playwright Henry Naylor thanked "Chucktown" for having him again (he brought the incredible Angel to the festival last year), saying:

"I'm delighted to be here for this wonderful festival, a true celebration for humanity. Britain, of course, has claimed one of your best actresses, Meghan Markle, and for the next 17 days, Britain will reciprocate by sending a few dozen of our best theater makers in return. So please fawn over us regally, roll out the red carpet, and curtsey every time you see one of us."

Naylor got more serious, though, with an important message about the arts, and the way we interact with creative mediums, and each other, every day.
"The festival is 42 years old, it's seen a lot of changes, not least, the change in us. The way society is changing at the moment, it needs arts festivals more than ever. Because everywhere we travel, the world is becoming angrier and angrier. We appear to be losing the ability to discuss and debate, and if anyone challenges us, we take it as a personal affront. We're cherry picking our friends who echo our views, closing our ears, blocking, de-friending those who do not ... assert, with no possibility of discussion. Society is becoming fragmented, it's in danger of falling apart and it's serious. We don't need to make America or Britain great again — we need to make America and Britain hear again. To listen to each other's perspectives with a soft ear. And this is where the arts come in. For the next 17 days, we will all hear perspectives from all over the world. We will hear soul speaks. True art will challenge us, provoke us. We may not agree with everything each says, but it may help us understand each other better. True art may save us all." 
After the playwright's wise words — and a crack about the city's culinary scene, which in addition to the acceptable oysters and grits includes the inexplicable ice cream sandwiches stuffed with pie filling — Mayor Tecklenburg closed out the ceremony with a reminder that "it's important that we harness this energy and excellence and keep it throughout the year ... it’s critical that our young artists have the support and encouragement to follow their dreams to embrace the artist within."

The confetti burst out of nowhere (from cannons?!) and the amazingly talented acrobats from Gravity and other Myths took the stage for less than two minutes, making our hearts stop approximately 150 times.

Saluti to the 42nd Spoleto Festival, y'all, and be sure to keep up to date with all of our Spolo coverage here.
The acrobats from Gravity and Other Myths put on a brief show, much to the delight of the crowd. - CONNELLY HARDAWAY
  • Connelly Hardaway
  • The acrobats from Gravity and Other Myths put on a brief show, much to the delight of the crowd.

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Spoleto SCENE kicked things off with humidity, codfish fritters, rum, and more rum

Welcome to Spoleto season 2018

Posted by Caroline Enten on Fri, May 25, 2018 at 10:09 AM

Scenesters braved the humidity and partied hard at Cane Rhum bar last night. - CAROLINE ENTEN
  • Caroline Enten
  • Scenesters braved the humidity and partied hard at Cane Rhum bar last night.
Something otherworldly charged the air over last night’s SCENEsters as they descended upon Cane Rhum Bar to pregame for the dress rehearsal of the Miami City Ballet at the Gaillard.

Allow me to elaborate.

Any mere mortal out and about on city streets last night surely found themselves adversely affected by the 100 percent humidity hanging dense and low between buildings. It was the kind of weather that causes feet to swell and bulge; trick knees click and moan in meteorological warning; hair, once painstakingly smoothed and scorched with hot tools in the comfort of air conditioning, instantly coaxed into frizzy chaos upon first contact with the outdoors. Yet the SCENE crowd is seemingly immune to these universal afflictions of nature. Tagging along to jot down names and what not, my out-of-town friend Colleen bore witness to this physics-defying phenomenon. An NYC dweller, herself not unfamiliar with the effects of “Pea Soup Syndrome,” she marveled at the sight. Each perfectly coiffed, made-up and attired person introduced seemed blissfully untouched by the unfavorable conditions of the evening. Coincidence, or something altogether darker? 
  • Caroline Enten

Next, let’s talk about the real SCENE-stealer of the event: Gordian Knot rum. Stationed by the entrance of the room, partners and creators Mitchell Nicks and Tom Bruce poured samples of their 84 proof reserve for anyone smart enough to peel away from the throngs of Banana Daiquiris and Cuba Libres at the bar. Was it simply sleight of hand, or a more complex form of transfiguration that turned rum into bourbon when it hit the tongue? Frankly, I’m not sure if these gentlemen magicians were part of our event or not, but we should all be running to Bottles to pick up a case of this tasty elixir before it vanishes into thin air.
  • Caroline Enten

On the topic of libations, Cane Rhum Bar knocks “happiest hour” out of the park. Colleen and I bopped our heads along to a catchy, Cuban remix of Lorde’s “Royals,” socked as many salted codfish fritters into our mouths as is acceptable in polite company, and mitigated our self-consciousness over not being quite as pulled together as our SCENEy counterparts with Pain Killers so strong, they actually made the hair on my legs grow. 
  • Caroline Enten

The event pressed on fast and furious, with the majority of the attendees preparing to see the ballet or another show, like second-year member Cassie Cole who held tickets to see last night’s performance of The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk.
  • Caroline Enten
We’ll never know exactly what kind of forces were at play last night, but it seems like the SCENE crowd is out for good — not evil — and planning to make those most of the season this year.
  • Caroline Enten

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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

The Westminster Choir expands to a double-sized concert series

Mass Appeal

Posted by Dustin Waters on Wed, May 23, 2018 at 5:30 PM

  • Provided

For almost 40 years, it seemed that Frank Martin's Mass for Double Choir would never reach the wider world.

The youngest of 10 children and son to a Calvinist minister, Martin saw the work as more of a contract with God and a showing of his deep faith than a piece of music to be released to a public audience. Only nearing the last decade of his life would the Swiss composer decide to share these harmonies with a public audience.

Originally written in the 1920s, Mass for Double Choir would not be performed until 1963, around which time Martin wrote, "I did not want it to be performed ... I consider it as being a matter between God and myself. I felt then that an expression of religious feelings should remain secret and removed from public opinion."

Recording their interpretation of Martin's unaccompanied choral masterpiece in March, the Westminster Choir will share this work with Spoleto audiences as part of the group's annual concert series. Interweaving additional works into the performance, Westminster director and conductor Dr. Joe Miller hopes that listeners will connect with a work so cherished by its composer.

Event Details Westminster Choir Concerts
@ Cathedral of St. Luke and St. Paul
126 Coming St.
Charleston, SC
When: Sat., May 26, 5 p.m. and Fri., June 1, 5 p.m.
Price: $75/Sat. May 26, Sold Out/Fri. June 1
Concert Music

"The Westminster Choir is certainly known for its performance of orchestral repertoire and having a great intensity of sound, a symphonic type of sound. The thing that is striking about the Martin is that it is written for double choir, so two choirs singing at the same time, and it has this incredible sonorous effect," says Miller. "It is very exciting to listen to. I have always thought that the music is a really good match to the natural sound that the choir makes, so that's the reason we chose to do it. I think it brings two really great elements together."

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Celebration: The Art of the Pas de Deux tributes choreographer Jerome Robbins


Posted by Stephanie Hunt on Wed, May 23, 2018 at 1:00 PM

Robbins - PROVIDED
  • Provided
  • Robbins

Jerome Robbins may be the Aaron Copeland of the dance world — the choreographer whose work is twirlingly familiar to many who otherwise know nothing of ballet. That's because for decades, Robbins was the king of Broadway, the director-choreographer behind well-known shows like The King and I (1951), West Side Story (1957), Gypsy (1959) and Fiddler on the Roof (1964). But his first and last love was ballet, and after 1969, he concentrated his considerable creative powers solely on this form. And there's no better way to appreciate and celebrate Robbin's sublime perfection of physical lyricism than in the pas de deux.

As part of this year's centennial of Robbins' birth, Spoleto Festival USA will open with a one-night only performance of Celebration: The Art of the Pas De Deux. The program harkens back to Robbins' 1973 Festival of Two World's commission of the same title, however this production, moderated by the Miami City Ballet Artistic Director Lourdez Lopez, will include discussion and film in addition to exquisite performances, making it a Spoleto-exclusive, don't-miss event celebrating Robbins' remarkable life and work.

Guest artists from New York City Ballet, Chase Finlay and Unity Phelan, will join Miami City Ballet dancers to perform Robbin's masterpiece Afternoon of a Faun (1953), set to the Claude Debussy score, as well as the second pas de deux from In the Night (1970). Set to three of Frédéric Chopin's nocturnes, In the Night will also feature duets from Emily Bromberg and Jovani Furlan, and Katia Carranza and Reyneris Reyes, also of the Miami City Ballet. Their colleagues Simone Messmer and Renan Cerdeiro will perform Other Dances (1976), danced to solo piano by Chopin.

Robbins, who in 1958 was a resident artist of the inaugural Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto, Italy, started his career as both a dancer and a choreographer with American Ballet Theater, but after seeing the New York City Ballet dance George Balanchine's "Symphony in C," he left to dance with and work with Balanchine. Like his mentor, Robbins knew when to minimize and when to let loose. He edited out artifice and celebrated naturalism and classicism — ever mindful of the power of the theatrical. The pared down pas de deux offers the perfect opportunity to witness his mastery of understatement and subtlety, of the body in motion as fluid artistic glory. And it should be a glorious way to open a festival that benefited from Robbins' prodigious talents.

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