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Review: Spoleto Festival USA 2015

Amid a potent lineup, triumphant Reeves stands out

Rita Marcotulli and Luciano Biondini. Spoleto Festival USA 2015
Carlos Aguirre, Spoleto USA Festival 2015
Madeleine Peyroux, Spoleto USA Festival 2015
Mônica Salmaso, Spoleto USA Festival 2015
Musica Nuda, Spoleto USA Festival 2015
Dianne Reeves, Spoleto USA Festival 2015

Keeping an international flavor at Spoleto Festival USA, jazz impresario Michael Grofsorean constantly makes sure that Europe and South America are represented at the annual 17-day revels alongside jazz artists from the home country, where the music was born. This year’s lineup was a mixture of the new, the familiar, and the unique. Three formidable vocalists represented the host country: Madeleine Peyroux, Kate Davis, and Dianne Reeves, who made her fourth appearance since 2002.

Brazilian diva Mônica Salmaso returned to Charleston for the first time since her festival debut in 2003, singing and playing in her trio at Cistern Yard just two days before Argentinian pianist-guitarist Carlos Aguirre arrived for a five-performance stand at the Simons Center Recital Hall. Europe was represented by two fascinating duos, Musica Nuda, who kicked off this year’s outdoor performances at Cistern Yard, and piano-accordion duo Rita Marcotulli and Luciano Biondini. The accordionist established a unique bond with Spoleto, for Biondini is a native of Spoleto, Italy, where Gian Carlo Menotti founded the Festival dei Due Mondi in 1958, 19 years before the opera composer fathered its New World sibling in Charleston.

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