Spoleto Festival USA 2020, keyed to Charleston 350th anniversary

Posted on: January 7, 2020

“2020 is a big year for Charleston, with the Holy City celebrating its 350th anniversary,” writes Michael Smallwood in Sunday’s (1/5) Charleston City Paper (S.C.). In connection with the anniversary, Spoleto Festival USA has commissioned Omar, an original opera by Rhiannon Giddens and Michael Abels “based on the life of Omar Ibn Said, who was taken from his West Africa homeland in 1807 and sold into slavery here in Charleston.” The festival will include a screening of the 2018 film Get Out, scored by Abels, with Abels conducting the Spoleto Festival USA Orchestra and Westminster Choir…. The Spoleto Festival USA Orchestra will [perform] an evening collection of musical selections conducted by Charlestonian Jonathon Heyward. One of the pieces included in the evening is ‘Rhapsodic Overture,’ written by Edmund Thornton Jenkins [whose] father operated the once-landmark orphanage on King Street…. The Trisha Brown Dance Company … returns to Spoleto for the first time in five years. [South African jazz pianist and composer] Abdullah Ibrahim … will be playing a show … while Preservation Hall Jazz Band kick off the festival opening at the Cistern Yard…. John Kennedy will conduct composer Max Richter’s post-minimalist reimagining of Vivaldi’s masterpiece The Four Seasons.”