An era is passing in Charleston, today, Friday, May 22nd. Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr. is opening his last Spoleto Festival USA as mayor of Charleston.
Mayor Riley helped convince the late composer Gian Carlo Menotti to establish the festival in Charleston almost 40 years ago.
Riley has served as the mayor longer than anyone in Charleston’s 345-year history and he retires at the end of 2015.
The varied lineup for this year’s Spoleto includes, among other productions, the world premiere of the contemporary opera “Paradise Interrupted” as well as an Italian opera that hasn’t been staged in 350 years.
There’s a production of “Romeo and Juliet,” a ballet performance of Tennessee Williams’ “A Streetcar Named Desire” and a concert by Emmylou Harris and country artist Rodney Crowell.