Die V‹gel, an operatic adaption of Aristophanes' comedy, premiered successfully in Munich in 1920, but faded from the repertoire after it was banned by Nazi Germany. Jonathan Eaton, the artistic director of the Opera Theater of Pittsburgh, is the director; Julius Rudel conducts.
The festival, which runs though June 12, also includes two other new opera productions: Mozart's Don Giovanni, staged by G‹nter Kr‹mer in an innovative, in-the-round setting, and Respighi's La bella dormente nel bosco (Sleeping Beauty in the Woods), staged by puppet specialist Basil Twist.
Other highlights include a visit from Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, performances of Brahms' Ein Deutsches Requiem and Stravinsky's Rite of Spring, and a mini jazz festival featuring vocalist Shirley Horn.
Theater offerings include a staging by Lee Breuer's Mabou Mines of Ibsen's A Doll's House featuring male actors under four and a half feet tall opposite unusually tall women.
Spoleto USA was founded in 1977 by composer Gian Carlo Menotti as a sister festival to his Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto, Italy.