The Arts

Charleston SC/Spoleto Festival USA – Pascal Dusapin's Faustus, The Last Night and Sekou Sundiata blessing the boats

Charleston SC/Spoleto Festival USA – Pascal Dusapin's Faustus, The Last Night and Sekou Sundiata blessing the boats featured image

by Paula Citron

Spoleto Festival USA is one of the most important mixed arts festivals in North America. Here one can always find the new and the different.

Pascal Dusapin’s opera Faustus, The Last Night premiered in Berlin in 2006 and was voted creation of the year. The music is relentlessly dissonant, but is so powerful and inventive in orchestration, it rivets the ear. The demanding vocal lines swing between dramatic singspiel and tortuous runs. Dusapin’s dense and philosophical libretto is part Beckett, part Sartre, and baritone John Hancock in the title role leads a very strong cast into a zeitgeist of nothingness.

One wouldn’t think you could make a play about a kidney transplant but poet/musician Sekou Sundiata’s one-man show, blessing the boats, does exactly that. Moving between elevated and colloquial language we hear a story of a trouble life with fascinating tangents into socio-political truths. Sundiata is a totally engaging performer.

Spoleto Festival USA continues until Jun. 10.

From Charleston, South Carolina, I’m Paula Citron, arts reviewer for CLASSICAL 96.3 FM.

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