The 42nd annual Spoleto Festival USA is almost here. For 17 days and nights—May 25 to June 10, 2018—artists from around the world will fill Charleston’s theaters, churches and outdoor spaces. The Festival’s general director, Nigel Redden, says, “This year we’re offering a mix of productions that will welcome, delight, enchant and, in some ways, challenge audience members.”
A special night of classical ballet will open the Festival. Miami City Ballet artistic director Lourdes Lopez will bring to the stage The Art of the Pas de Deux. It will commemorate Jerome Robbins’ centenary and highlight three of the American choreographer’s greatest works.
Other performances are sure to draw crowds. The U.S. premiere of Donizetti’s opera Pia de’ Tolomei, based on an episode from Dante’s Purgatorio, is set in pre-World War II Tuscany and features beautiful sets and costumes as well as gorgeous arias. Two jazz performances at the Gaillard Center also promise to be exciting: Trio 3 plus Vijay Iyer brings together on one stage some of New York’s best jazz instrumentalists, including Reggie Workman, who played with John Coltrane and Art Blakey, and Vijay Iyer, one of today’s most celebrated jazz pianists. The second features award-winning Jazzmeia Horn, known for her breakout debut album, A Social Call. She was nominated for Best Jazz Vocals Album at the 2018 Grammy Awards. These and many other performances—including orchestra concerts, theater and dance productions, and films— will be a feast for the senses. 843-579-3100, spoletousa.org
A WINDOW ON HISTORY
The Charleston Library Society serves its members, the Lowcountry community and scholars by providing access to a rich collection of books, manuscripts and archival materials as well as programs that promote education and discussion. Established in 1748, the Society is the oldest cultural institution in the South and the second-oldest distributing library in the United States (the circulating collection numbers some 15,000 volumes). Its thriving community of approximately 3,000 members is now celebrating the Society’s 270th year.
To this day, the Society remains actively involved in conserving, exhibiting, sharing and expanding the library’s resources. Its staff organizes some 200 events annually, ranging from lectures, concerts and film screenings to book club meetings and summer camps. Its speaker series has included, for example, Pulitzer Prize winners such as Jon Meacham and David McCullough, among many others.
To fully take advantage of all that the Society offers, it’s necessary to become a member. There are numerous membership and benefit levels. Members receive discounted rates to events as well as access to all circulating materials and online collections. They also have access to the organization’s vast research facilities. Nonmembers are welcome to enjoy the main reading room and rotating displays of various historical materials.
Why not join and check out, for starters, the upcoming lunch series, beginning April 24? The series will cover a range of topics, from wines and historic monuments to civil rights. 843-723-9912, charlestonlibrary society.org
During a recent trip to Miami, we stopped by the Four Seasons Hotel at The Surf Club, an elegant boutique property, which opened in March 2017 on Miami’s waterfront.
The original Surf Club debuted on New Year’s Eve 1930 and was the brainchild of tycoon Harvey Firestone and his friends. Over the years, guests included the likes of Winston Churchill (he enjoyed painting there in his cabana), Noël Coward, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Elizabeth Taylor, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, and many other luminaries.
Now, the Four Seasons has elevated the club and hotel to a new era of beachfront glamour with the help of architect Richard Meier, designer Joseph Dirand and Antonio Sersale, scion of an Italian noble family. Sersale’s involvement here, his first venture outside Italy, includes the hotel’s palm-filled Champagne Bar and adjoining restaurant, which is considered one of the most beautiful in the United States.
This exclusive 9-acre waterfront oasis has lovely public spaces (with much of the original art deco architecture preserved), 77 guest rooms, three pools, a first-rate spa and beachfront cabanas. Only minutes from the shops in Bal Harbour and Miami Beach, there’s plenty to do (if chilling out in luxury isn’t enough!). 305-381-3333, fourseasons.com/surfside
SPICE OF LIFE
Some people recoil at the idea of repeating themselves. They demand a new hairstyle every two months and a different vacation spot every year. For these folks, Tu restaurant, with its creative, globally inspired flavor combinations, is destined to become a restaurant of choice.
Duolan Walker-Li (business manager), Josh Walker (Duolan’s husband and executive chef) and Joey Ryan (mixologist) opened Tu at the corner of Meeting and Woolfe streets at the end of 2017. Xiao Bao Biscuit was their first Charleston restaurant, which continues to draw lovers of Asian cuisine. (Duolan and Josh traveled all through Asia on their honeymoon.) Now, with Tu, the partners have opened the door to flavors from all over the world. The name is appropriate: Tu is a Chinese word for “everything under heaven.”
Sampling a meal here is like unraveling a surprise ball. Small plates are the rule. On a recent visit we sampled a version of their signature crudo—cubes of cool mackerel and guava topped with shaved manchego “ice.” Eggplant, prepared moussaka-style, resembled a little cupcake—a panko-crusted slice of eggplant topped with Lebanese-spiced ground beef and an icing of toasted yogurt.
Tu’s interiors, designed by Walker and his wife, offer diners a choice of moods. The renovated old house is dark and subdued, while the new addition is bright and bustling with regulars discussing—and sharing tastes of—their new culinary finds. tu-charleston.com