Redden at a 1996 rehearsal with Steven Sloane, who served as the festival’s music director from 1996 to 1999, and returned most recently in 2019 to conduct the opera Salome
Redden, who developed a love of opera as a young boy in Italy, has encouraged bold and often edgy productions, including Don Giovanni (pictured here in 2006), starring (left) Andrey Telegin and Nmon Ford.
Redden, in his Spoleto headquarters office, is credited with both saving and growing the festival, leaving it in healthy stead as he passes the baton to the next visionary.
The festival’s annual opening ceremonies draw fans to a free kickoff at the Four Corners of Law.
Spoleto’s 2008 American premiere of Monkey: Journey to the West by Chinese actor and director Chen Shi-Zheng, featured a pop and classic opera blend, complete with acrobats and a giant Buddha custom created for the Sottile stage.
A dilapidated Memminger Auditorium.
Redden’s desire has been that the backdrop of Charleston would “inspire and shape the festival” but during his tenure, the opposite has also been true. Redden has left an indelible mark on the city’s arts landscape, including completely renovating a formerly dilapidated Memminger Auditorium into a gleaming, versatile Festival Hall (here shown before opening in 2008).
Among the numerous festival productions Redden has guided over the years: the 1991 “Places With a Past” site-specific installations, including House of the Future by David Hammons.
2016’s Afram ou La Belle Swita, for which a team reconstructed the unfinished circa-1924 operetta by Charleston-born composer Edmund Thornton Jenkins.
The Peony Pavilion, an 18½-hour-long opera sung entirely in Chinese.
Redden (above, right) with Spoleto Festival USA founder Gian Carlo Menotti (center) in 1986.
Redden first met Menotti at the Festival Dei Due Mondi in Spoleto, Italy, in 1969.
When the new Gaillard Center debuted with Spoleto’s 2016 production of Porgy and Bess, Redden tapped Charleston artist Jonathan Green to oversee the design, expanding his idea for a Philip Simmon’s gate to be a full-stage show stealer.
Redden extended Green’s African-inspired design motifs into the community, denoting significant African American historical properties.
The 2015 production of Jennifer Wen Ma’s Paradise Interrupted.
Redden socializing with Pat Prioleau at the Mary Ramsay Civic Award Luncheon for honorees Peter and Patti McGee in 2017
Board chair Bill Medich and Michele Seekings.
Board president Alicia Gregory at the 2019 auction.
The Spoleto lineup include productions of The Woman in Black.
The Journey interactive virtual event.
Ephrat Asherie Dance.
After canceling last year’s festival due to the pandemic and postponing Omar, the festival’s world premiere opera by Rhiannon Giddens, Spoleto returns with indoor and outdoor performances at limited capacity, as well as virtual programming. Omar is now slated to open the 2022 festival.
Redden never misses a Dock Street Chamber Music concert, which used to unnerve the series director Geoff Nutall. “But then I realized he’s there not because he’s critiquing me or feels like he has to be, but because he wants to be,” says Nutall.
Redden pictured in the gardens outside Spoleto headquarters at 14 George Street. “The festival is a vision that renews itself from year to year,” he says.
Learn about the impact he’s made on the arts in Charleston, and around the world