John Kennedy leads members of the Spoleto Festival USA Orchestra | Photo by William Struhs

Spoleto Festival USA rolls on into its final week and there are still plenty of exciting things to get out and see. The Woman in Black continues to run through June 13 at Festival Hall. Ephrat Asherie Dance opens on June 9 and runs through the end of the festival as well. And hey, if you can find someone who doesn’t want their ticket, you might even be able to get into the Chamber Music series at the Dock Street Theatre.

But what if you’re not ready to venture back out into crowds? What if you can’t get away from home for whatever reason? Well, Spoleto Festival USA has you covered. There are a handful of virtual options, more now than even when the festival began. And each of these unique experiences are, with one exception, completely free to enjoy from the comfort of your own couch.

That paid exception is The Journey, Scott Silven’s virtual illusionist show. Running June 8-13, audiences will be virtually transported into Silven’s home to enjoy his custom show, designed while Silven was living in his childhood home in Scotland during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Journey debuted in fall 2020 to rave reviews.

Spoleto at Home, as the virtual offerings are collectively known, is also giving audiences the chance to catch up on this year’s Chamber Music series. The perennial Dock Street event has been sold out since well before season 45 kicked off, but the Festival has not wanted anyone to feel left out. So elements of the series have been uploaded to the Spoleto YouTube channel. Audiences can watch excerpts of programs right now, for free, on any device where you can access YouTube. Excerpts vary in length, from 8 minutes to almost half an hour, and will be available for streaming until June 18. Or, if you’re hungry for the full show, you can listen to entire concerts on South Carolina Public Radio through their website. 

If you’re looking for something other than just performances, you can also get into the virtual profiles that Spoleto has developed for the at home project. Meet the Choir and Meet the Orchestra are both free and streaming, and both give you special behind-the-curtain glimpses into standard Spoleto programming. 

Meet the Choir features two digital showcases and five video profiles of master choristers. The first, profiling singer and conductor Andrew Cooper, was a pleasant watch. Cooper speaks about his history with the festival and previous works, before showing off several videos of him performing choral pieces. The editing is very creative as well, as Andrew makes up the entirety of a chorus, playing all the parts and several of the instruments as well. It’s a light and fun presentation of something that could potentially come off as stuffy.

Other streams include conductors Vinroy Brown and Jennah Delp, singers Kyle VanSchoonhoven and Madeline Healy, and two concerts: “Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis” by Herbert Howells and “My Shepherd Will Supply My Need” by Mack Wilberg.

The Spoleto Festival USA Orchestra was not allowed to stage a show during this year’s festival due to COVID-19 protocols, but it is represented in the virtual programming. John Kennedy, resident conductor and director of orchestral activities, has created a site-specific piece called Arden, which premiers online June 5. It is performed by mezzo-soprano Naomi Louisa O’Connell, accompanied by piano, violin, viola and cello, and features sounds and footage from the town of Ballyvaughan, Ireland. The rest of the Meet the Orchestra series features profiles of the members, telling you about their lives and showing small samples of their work. New programs are posted online every day at 5 p.m. until June 13.

So there’s plenty to do and get engaged in with Spoleto, whether you can’t make it out of the house or already have other tickets and want to soak up every bit of Spoleto Festival USA you can.

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