New next season is "Behind the Garden Gate" in which the festival, working with local gardening societies, is offering tours of more than a half-dozen private gardens, a number of which have never been open to the public.
However, the festival is without one of its major venues for the new season.
Renovations began last August on the aging Gaillard Municipal Auditorium to create a new $142 million world-class performing arts center. The renovated Gaillard, scheduled to be completed at the end of 2014, will include a new performance hall, convention ballroom, banquet space, outdoor gardens and space for city offices.
In the meantime, the festival is moving its ticket office to the Charleston Visitor Center and will transform the College of Charleston's TD Arena basketball facility into a performance space for music and dance with a stage and theatrical lighting.
The Spoleto Festival USA was founded in 1977 by Menotti as a companion to his Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto, Italy. He left the Charleston festival in 1993 in a dispute over his successor and died five years ago at age 95.
The festival opens May 24 with the traditional brass fanfare, chiming church bells and speeches in front of City Hall. It concludes June 9 with the Red Stick Rambler performance followed by fireworks at Middletown Place plantation on the Ashley River outside Charleston.
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