CHARLESTON — The new season of the Spoleto Festival USA features everything from acrobats and aerialists to opera and Irish theater.
Grammy award-winning musician Bela Fleck and his wife, Abigail Washburn, jazz and self-guided tours through private Charleston gardens are also on the schedule for the internationally known festival’s 38th season.
The festival founded by the late composer Gian Carlo Menotti will be staged at 13 venues throughout Charleston from May 23 through June 8, 2014. The schedule announced on Friday includes artists from 14 nations and across the United States in 152 performances.
The festival is staging three operas, including John Adams’ “El Nino,” telling the nativity story with a libretto based on European writings and sermons, passages from the Bible and Latin American poetry.
Composer Michael Nyman, who wrote the score for the film “The Piano,” has recomposed a large portion of the score for the American premiere of the opera “Facing Goya” which touches on everything from science fiction to conspiracy theory to ask questions about human relationships.
The theater offerings include Ireland’s Gate Theatre’s return to Spoleto with an adaptation of “My Cousin Rachel.” Finnish aerialist Ilona Jantti will perform, as will the Australian acrobat troupe Gravity & Other Myths.
Spoleto features four dance companies including the return to the festival of Hubbard Street Dance Chicago as well as South African choreographer Gregory Maqoma presenting a solo work. Jazz singer Rene Marie will also appear.
The festival also will include the popular chamber music concerts and orchestral concerts.
The finale at Middleton Place plantation will be a day-long event with a beer garden and regional bands playing throughout the afternoon. The lineup includes the Charleston country-folk husband and wife duo Shovels & Rope on the main stage.
Again this year, festivalgoers will be able to purchase tickets to visit the private gardens of the homes in Charleston’s historic district. Festival tickets go on sale online on Dec. 9.