[image-1]In my last post, I wrote about the last-minute addition, reported in The Post and Courier, of an opera to the Spoleto Festival line-up. It turns out there’s nothing to substantiate the report.

In the same post, I reported that Nigel Redden was not present during a meeting on Monday between city of Charleston, the city of Spoleto, Italy, and the new head of the Festival of Two Worlds, the sister festival of Spoleto.

The meeting was intended to boost commerce and tourism between the two cities and to “reunify,” according to the P&C, the two festivals, which have been estranged since 1993 after their founder, Gian Carlo Menotti, abandoned the American festival.

I’ve since learned that Redden’s absence was due to his being in India during the meeting. It was impossible for him to travel to Charleston. His trip had been planned for some time, but the visit by the Italian delegation was planned in a hurry.

I have also since learned that the summit, as it were, had been initiated by the Italians, not Charleston Mayor Joe Riley, though Riley has, since 1993, been open to renewed talks between the two cities despite a rift that was centered on Menotti’s son Francis “Chip” Menotti.

Since Menotti’s death early last year, there has been wide speculation that the two festivals — Spoleto Festival USA and the Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto, Italy — would once again come together, sharing directors, artists, resources, etc.

But a source inside Spoleto Festival USA told me today that it is unlikely that there will be a formal connection between the two festivals. Collaboration, yes. A merging of the two organizations, probably not.

In an interview today, Nigel Redden told me that the two festivals had never been united. So the idea of a reunification is something of a misnomer.

“There was always a question of unification, even from the beginning, because of issues of fund-raising and structuring of the organizations,” Redden said. “But they have always been quite different organizations.”

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