Since the first Spoleto Festival in 1978, excitement builds in the city each spring as world class artists fill Charleston with inspiring, uplifting performances. For 17 days and nights, Spoleto Festival USA draws people from around the world to experience the light and beauty of the arts, with renowned artists and emerging performers in disciplines ranging from opera, theatre, music theatre, dance and chamber, symphonic, choral and jazz music, as well as the visual arts. Attendance each year runs between 70,000 and 80,000.

As it begins another season, Spoleto returns to the Gaillard Center with Tchaikovsky’s grand opera Eugene Onegin. Tchaikovsky’s full range of emotions is on display in Eugene Onegin — his grand opera based on Pushkin’s classic novel in verse. Russia’s wintery beauty expressed in both simple country life and the glittering aristocracy of St. Petersburg is the backdrop for this story about the tragedy of first love.

On May 25 and 26, Grammy winner and Jazz Master Dee Dee Bridgewater returns to the Festival with her latest contributions to the jazz vocal tradition. Few singers successfully carry the torch passed on by Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Carmen McRae, and Betty Carter. Dee Dee Bridgewater has earned this distinction, and three Grammy Awards, in part, by mastering the same qualities as her predecessors: thinking more like an instrumentalist than a vocalist, scatting well constructed yet improvised melodies, and interpreting songs in an original and personal way.

An annual favorite, the Westminster Choir will perform two concerts on May 29 and June 3 at the Cathedral Church of St. Luke and St. Paul.  Attendees will hear the pristine voices of the Festival’s acclaimed choir-in-residence soar in purity and bliss. Conducted by Joe Miller, the Festival’s director for choral activities, this esteemed ensemble offers selections from its rich and widely varied repertoire.

Always highly anticipated, the Spoleto Festival USA Finale will again be held at Middleton Place and feature The Revivalists, the next break out band from New Orleans. The group’s blend of soulful, syncopated rock and earnest songwriting comes to life through a meticulously crafted and ever-evolving live performance. Bring the family and a picnic to enjoy an all day celebration, with the band taking the stage at 8:30 pm. The gates open at 3:30 pm, with live music beginning at 4 pm, and the ticket price includes entrance to Middleton Place.