Paolo Ventura uses memories, intricate miniature figures, and amazing dioramas to create “Winter Stories.” Pairing photographs of those scenes and the actual miniatures, the exhibit is filled with the sweet melancholy of 1930s Italy but remains timeless in its ability to resonate with contemporary audiences.
—Mark Sloan, director and senior curator, Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art
Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art:
May 26-July 15. Free
The Red Shoes
Kneehigh Theatre of Cornwall (Don John in 2009 and Tristan and Yseult in 2006) brings its unique theatrical style to this story of obsession based on the fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen. Directed by Emma Rice, joint artistic director and chief executive of Kneehigh, this rendition is dark, sexy, comic, intense, mischievous, and brilliantly visual. I expect it to be the most talked about production at this year’s festival. —Todd McNerney, associate professor and department chair, performance and voice
Memminger Auditorium: May 26-June 5. $60-$25
The Magic Flute
The Spoleto Festival USA’s history of daring Mozart opera productions (remember Don Giovanni at Memminger Auditorium—the pool, the bathing suits, etc.?) makes this year’s Magic Flute a must-see. This singspiel, Mozart’s last operatic work, has mesmerized audiences for 220 years. The Queen of the Night’s aria alone is worth the price of admission. —Edward Hart, associate professor, music theory and composition
Sottile Theatre at the College of Charleston: May 27-June 11. $130-$25
This year’s concert from the Spoleto orchestra, the Westminster Choir, and our own Charleston Symphony Orchestra Chorus features three magnificent, yet diverse, masterworks. From the 19th century, we have the serious, reverent Te Deum by Anton Bruckner and the sumptuous Alto Rhapsody by Johannes Brahms; and stepping into the 20th century, a wonderful change of pace via the dance rhythm-infused Chichester Psalms by modern-day classical music superstar Leonard Bernstein.— Robert Taylor, associate professor of music and director of choral activities
Gaillard Auditorium: June 6. $10-$65
The Gospel at Colonus
This most well-known work of Lee Breuer, founding co-artistic director of the New York-based Mabou Mines theater company, re-imagines Sophocles’ Oedipus at Colonus by staging it in a 21st-century African American Pentecostal church. Soul-shaking music performed by superior gospel singers make this Emmy-winning (and Tony- and Pulitzer-nominated) play more than just a not-to-be missed show; rather, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime event. —Todd McNerney, associate professor and department chair, performance and voice
Gaillard Auditorium: June 8-12. $85-$25
For more on Spoleto Festival USA, call (843) 579-3100 or visit www.spoletousa.org.