Sunday, December 7, 2003

Spoleto lands Baryshnikov

Operas, Ailey dancers will highlight music and art festival

By Bruce Smith
The Associated Press

Performances by legendary dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov and a production of the 18-hour Chinese opera The Peony Pavilion highlight the schedule for next year's Spoleto Festival USA.

For 17 days each spring, the festival features theater, music and dance on stages throughout this seaside city of Charleston, S.C. Spoleto runs from May 28 through June 13.

Other highlights include the Richard Strauss opera Ariadne auf Naxos, the return of the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater to Spoleto and performances by Nina Ananiashvili and the Moscow Ballet Theater.

The Peony Pavilion, written in 1598, will be performed in 55 acts on a stage featuring a pavilion atop an 1,800-gallon tank filled with plants, goldfish and ducks.

The 18-hour opera will be presented in six episodes and during the festival there will be two complete cycles of the opera.

Along with the Strauss opera, Spoleto will also present Vincenzo Bellini's 1830 opera, The Capulets and the Montagues, as well as a humorous take on opera in The Four Note Opera.

Baryshnikov will appear in The Doctor and the Patient, a work of oration and movement along with a score featuring various types of music, ranging from classical to tango to Georgian folk songs. The dance was conceived by Rezo Gabriadze, who also directs. Gabriadze presented The Battle of Stalingrad this year.

The festival will also present The Fula From America: An African Journey, by Charleston-born playwright Carlyle Brown.

Ananiashvili will appear with the Moscow Ballet Theater, a troupe created for the festival and featuring some of the leading soloists and dancers from the Bolshoi Ballet.

The jazz lineup includes Brazilian singer Renato Braz as well as the duo of trombonist Wycliffe Gordon and pianist Eric Reed.

The festival will close with its traditional outdoor orchestral concert followed by fireworks at Middleton Place Plantation.

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