Pictured: The St. Lawrence String Quartet plays Haydn’s “Emperor” quartet during the Bank of America Chamber Music series. Photo by William Struhs.
By Frank Dominguez
I didn’t travel to Europe for the first time until 2012, when I accompanied a group of WDAV supporters on a trip to Paris and Provence. Immersing myself in the history, food and culture of Europe was an experience that is still vivid in my mind.
Before that, I experienced that kind of euphoric heightening of the senses regularly without plane travel – in fact, just a few hours’ drive away – at the annual Spoleto Festival USA.
With Charleston, SC, providing the historic atmosphere and gourmet cuisine, the festival provided the cultural stimulation any arts lover covets, with a kaleidoscopic array of theater, dance and music of all types.
For me the highlight was always the incredible classical music, with performers from around the globe presenting chamber music concerts twice daily, rarely heard operas, and the types of orchestral programs that are simply not practical for our beloved regional orchestras to present most of the time.
The Spoleto Festival USA has been the site of some of the most intense memory making of my artistic life. So while the news of the festival’s cancellation this year because of the pandemic came as no surprise, it was nevertheless an intensely sad moment for me, and I expect for many of WDAV’s listeners who are also fans.
That’s why we’re bringing them highlights of past festival performances virtually, every Wednesday at 11 a.m. and Saturday at 2 p.m. through June 6th, to coincide with what would have been the festival’s run this year.
And for die hard festival lovers, the news is even better, as Spoleto at Home offers free digital programming for audiences to enjoy in lieu of the 2020 season.
Until we can again contemplate the prospect of crowds in Charleston’s French Quarter, these offerings provide a wonderful way to keep alive the spirit of one of the nation’s most distinctive cultural events.
Remember to tune in to WDAV Wednesdays at 11 a.m. and Saturdays at 2 p.m. through June 6th to hear highlights of past festival performances. Broadcast from the Spoleto Festival are made possible by DaisleyLegal.