Spoleto honors Menotti's 100th birthday

 CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) - The Spoleto Festival USA opens its 35th season this week paying homage to festival founder Gian Carlo Menotti on the 100th anniversary of the composer's birth.

1 of 3 operas during the new season is Menotti's "The Medium." It's the first time the festival has staged a Menotti opera since the composer left 18 years ago in a dispute over his successor. He died in 2007 at age 95.

Menotti started the Charleston festival in 1977 as a companion to the arts festival he started in Spoleto, Italy, almost two decades earlier.

Menotti also changed Charleston. The festival sparked a rebirth of the arts in the city at the same time its downtown underwent a renaissance. A quiet street near the Spoleto headquarters is now named for the composer.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.