Spoleto Festival USA Announces 2024 Festival Season

Yo Yo Ma

Groundbreaking world premiere opera Ruinous Gods debuts opening weekend 

Illustrious cellist and globetrotting humanitarian Yo-Yo Ma returns in a never-seen program  

Jason Isbell closes the 17-day event with two intimate concerts in the Cistern Yard 

Spoleto Festival USA, the country’s premier performing arts festival, has announced a star-studded lineup for 2024 including more than one hundred performances across the Holy City for 17 days and nights, May 24-June 9, 2024. Charleston’s historic theaters, churches, and outdoor spaces will be enlivened by performances from celebrated artists at the forefront of their craft. Tickets are available for purchase beginning Jan. 26 at 10:00 am EST, with prices starting as low as $25, at spoletousa.org or by calling 843.579.3100. 

Spoleto Festival USA’s ambitious 2024 program includes the world premiere of a commissioned original opera Ruinous Gods, the return of cellist Yo-Yo Ma to the Festival in a new program conceived by the iconic musician, the world premiere of the original play The Song of Rome by Denis O’Hare and Lisa Peterson (co-authors of 2023’s An Iliad), Benjamin Millepied and L.A. Dance Project’s inventive multimedia interpretation of Prokofiev’s ballet Romeo & Juliet performed for the first time with live orchestra, and performances by nationally touring acts: Jason Isbell, Old Crow Medicine Show, Sasha Velour, plus much more. 

“Art is the connective tissue of our society,” says Spoleto Festival USA’s General Director and CEO, Mena Mark Hanna. “By coming together to experience the 48th Spoleto, we have a rich opportunity to explore our shared humanity as we contemplate challenges to our very social framework, including immigration, democracy, and basic human rights.” 

The Festival will commence with the world premiere of Spoleto’s full-length original chamber opera, Ruinous Gods. Composed by Layale Chaker with a libretto by Lisa Schlesinger, Ruinous Gods examines the traumatic impact of displacement on refugees. The groundbreaking opera pushes the boundaries of form and structure with sung and spoken-word sections and a genre-defying score that weaves Arabic Maqam and Western classical music traditions with diverse Middle Eastern influences, jazz, and improvisation. Four performances (May 24, 27, 29, June 1) will take place in the College of Charleston’s Sottile Theatre. 

The Festival’s opening weekend also features two performances by Old Crow Medicine Show (May 24 & 25), the Grammy Award-winning six-piece American roots revival band who celebrated their 25th anniversary in 2023. This performance under the stars, in the College of Charleston’s Cistern Yard, will kick off the Festival’s Front Row Series which also includes multi-instrumentalist Trombone Shorty (May 27), gold-certified artist Amos Lee (May 28), and Billboard chart-topping duo Watchhouse (June 5). Also on the series: Aoife O’Donovan (member of the folk-roots trio I’m With Her) performs a solo show of selections from her upcoming album All My Friends, in the Sottile Theatre on June 7 accompanied by the Spoleto Festival USA Orchestra, and four-time Grammy Award-winner and rock and roll icon Jason Isbell (June 8 & 9) will wrap up the Festival in two nights of intimate acoustic performances.  

One of the best-known cellists of his generation, Yo-Yo Ma returns to Spoleto for his sixth Festival appearance, and first since 1986. Performing works inspired by a five-year, six-continent journey, paired with stimulating conversation, Ma will take the stage at the Charleston Gaillard Center May 30 with a performance that asks audience members to consider the great questions of life and art: What has brought us here? And where will we choose to go next? 

More information about these performances and Spoleto Festival USA can be found at https://spoletousa.org/