-THE SPOLETO FESTIVAL USA, with performances of opera, concerts, dance, theater and visual arts exhibitions, will go on as scheduled next May and June in Charleston, S.C., despite the effects of Hurricane Hugo. City and festival officials have asserted that both Charleston and Spoleto will be ready to receive the thousands of festivalgoers on May 25, when Spoleto opens for its regular 17-day run.
The city's 300-year-old historic district, site of most of Spoleto's 100-plus performances, has remained largely intact, including the famous Battery mansions that face the harbor. Gian Carlo Menotti, founder and artistic director of the festival, said he plans to give a concert of thanksgiving for Charleston this fall or winter, and that the festival will open with a celebratory event to honor Charleston's survival.-MIKHAIL BARYSHNIKOV's abrupt departure from the American Ballet Theater has left the company without an artistic director in its 50th anniversary year. He was originally scheduled to step down in 1990.
At issue were his difficulties with Jane Hermann, ABT's newly appointed executive director, who asked his personal assistant, Charles France, to take a year's leave of absence with pay. ABT's executive committee backed Hermann, who is trying to cut ABT's budget of $23 million by $2 million. France is known for his love of extravagant productions.
Until a new artistic director is hired, ABT will be run by Hermann, along with Oliver Smith, who was co-director with Lucia Chase from 1945 to 1980, and John Taras, an artistic associate. No search committee has been established.
In practical terms, Baryshnikov's resignation will have little effect on ABT's coming season. He has spent little time with the company in the past several years, and last season did not dance with it.
This year, he had more outside commitments than before. Before quitting, he spent several weeks on the road promoting his new perfume, Misha. He performed with the Martha Graham Dance Company at a benefit last week, then flew to Belgium, where Mark Morris is creating a work for him.