Spoleto in Retro- Part 1 (2001)| ETV Classics

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South Carolina ETV’s Beryl Dakers heads to Charleston, SC for the 25th anniversary of Spoleto Festival USA for SCETV's two-part special Spoleto in Retro. In part one, Dakers explores three of the disciplines featured in the festival's lineup: opera, drama, and dance.

Opera has always occupied a prominent position at the Spoleto Festival USA, due to its founder Gian Carlo Menotti being the composer of twenty-five operas in his lifetime. During the festival's beginnings, many of the operas featured were Menotti's own works, including his Pultizer Prize-winning opera The Saint of Bleecker Street in 1986. Glimpses of this work are featured in the video above. 

The drama portion of the festival launched in 1978 with a new theatrical production by playwright Tennessee Williams called Creve Coeur at Dock Street Theater. Today Dock Street Theater still serves as a venue for Spoleto's theatrical productions. 

Over the years, dance at Spoleto has encompassed not only masters of classical ballet but also avant-garde modern dancers, in performances and in classes taught by company members, which Dakers included in this special with the Miami City Ballet at the Gaillard Auditorium. 

Spoleto Festival USA kicks off its 46th season on Friday, May 27.

To go behind the curtain of Spoleto in recent years, check out South Carolina Public Radio's limited series podcast Spoleto Backstage, which speaks to the artists and people who make Spoleto Festival USA happen in Charleston, SC.

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