Even in the beginning one important aspect of SpoletoUSA has always been American young artists. Reddin said “It is very difficult for young American singers to get started. That is one of reasons why Spoleto has become so noted and exceptional. Menotti believed in the juxtaposition of dance, music, opera and ballet. It was thought that by coming to the Spoleto festival that someone in the audience could be uplifted by encountering the youthful spirit of all these various, unconnected forms. Spoleto is about addressing the human spirit in all of it’s forms. It only happens once a year and holds the human spirit in a very high state.”
There is still a festival in Spoleto, Italy although the two festivals with the same name are no longer really connected. SpoletoUSA has been extremely successful in its new venue. “It has had a major impact on the life of the city,” says Reddin. “We also produce our own operas. The current one, ‘Matsukze,’ has a Chinese director, singers from the US and Korea, an American set designer and props by a South African. When I say produce I mean we produce things from scratch and with an international group.”
Two performances of the most recent festival are to be noted. One was by the Westminster Choir the other was by Le Grand C. The Choir sang without accompaniment except for some piano and true to SpoletoUSA’s theme these are all singers in college in their early twenties. The singing was glorious and impeccable. They sang music from the renaissance to contemporary composer’s works. If you, the reader, ever have a chance to hear them you should not miss it.
Le Grand C is something else. It consists of a group of 17 young acrobats, who create an extraordinary circus theater show. They climb on the shoulders and stand on the heads and hands of their fellows. The audience sat in rapt attention silent at first, then ooing and ahing as the various feats were performed. It was mesmerizing and compelling. This is a group for which the word awesome was coined. This is the circus of imagination, discipline and commitment. Slightly bizarre, but, then again, it is a French group.
The SpoletoUSA Festival is wonderful and if you are looking for something to entertain and elevate your spirit you couldn’t find anything better.