Festival Napa Valley: A goers guide to ten days of performances

Festival Napa Valley (formerly Festival del Sole), July 15 - 24, is a ten-day celebration of art, music, dance, theater, wellness, cuisine and, of course, wine.

(Photographer: Robert McClenahan)

NAPA, CA, June 30, 2016 – Festival Napa Valley (formerly Festival del Sole) is a ten-day celebration of art, music, dance, theater, wellness, cuisine and, of course, wine.

This eleventh annual festival, taking place July 15-24, 2016, is truly a celebration of life, as the wine country lifestyle meets the big city arts scene with exclusive engagements by preeminent classical, opera, jazz and dance artists.

Festival del Sole 2014 Open Night at Castello di Amorosa
Festival del Sole
2014 Open Night at Castello di Amorosa

Napa Valley is the ideal backdrop to this fine fete. Guests will witness breathtaking musical performances, taste the finest cuisine at vintner luncheons and winemaker dinners, and rub elbows with Napa Valley winemaking elite. One thing is for sure: guests attending Festival Napa Valley will be treated to a spectacular experience that will tease and arouse all the senses.

With 10 glorious days of music and events to choose from, it can be overwhelming to know where to begin. Here are suggestions on what promises to be the best performances of the festival.

Opening Night with Kristin Chenoweth – Friday, July 15th, 6pm

The Emmy and Tony Award-winning actress and singer opens Festival Napa Valley with what promises to be an entertaining Broadway-like performance at the ever lovely Castello di Amorosa.

The acoustics in the Napa Valley castle will make your ears perk up and pay attention as the beautifully strung chords and stunning vocals dance around the expertly crafted stone walls that were perfectly constructed in proper medieval Tuscan fashion.

Flutist Maxim Rubtsov. (Photographer: Robert McClenahan)
Flutist Maxim Rubtsov. (Photographer: Robert McClenahan)

Rhapsody in blue at Lincoln Theatre – Saturday, July 16th, 5pm

Maestro Joel Revzen leads an ensemble comprising musicians from the New York Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, the San Francisco Symphony, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic in a tantalizing program.

The evening features two twentieth century masterpieces:  Copland’s stirring Lincoln Portrait and Gershwin’s jazz-fueled Rhapsody in Blue.

The concert also features two special guests: virtuoso Cuban pianist Aldo López-Gavilán who makes his US Orchestra debut, and renowned American soprano Kathleen Battle.

(Photographer: Paul E. Richardson)
(Photographer: Paul E. Richardson)

Superstar violinist Sarah Chang at Lincoln Theatre, Tuesday, July 19th, 6pm

This promises to be a thrilling concert that includes The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires by the late, great Argentinean “new tango” composer Astor Piazzolla.

Chang will perform the piece in an arrangement for solo violin and strings that quotes Vivaldi’s timeless Four Seasons. “Her gifts are at a level so removed from the rest of us that all we can do is feel the appropriate awe and then wonder on the mysteries of nature,” The New York Times wrote about Chang, who made her New York Philharmonic debut at the age of 8 and over the last 25 years has performed with the world’s greatest orchestras and conductors.

Kevin Spacey performs. (Photographer: Susana Bates)
Kevin Spacey performs. (Photographer: Susana Bates)

Jazz at the Castello with Sergio Mendes, Wednesday, July 20th, 6:30pm

Wednesday night brings us back to the very popular Castello di Amorosa for a toe-tapping evening of jazz with legendary Brazilian composer, keyboardist and singer Sergio Mendes who rose to international stardom with the sensuously supple and swinging music of his Brasil ’66.

Dance Gala with the San Francisco Ballet at Lincoln Theater, Friday, July 22nd, 6pm

America’s oldest professional ballet company, the San Francisco Ballet created the first American productions of Swan Lake and Nutcracker. This season’s Dance Gala revels in the magic of one of the world’s great dance companies.

The evening will flutter away with a mix of contemporary and classic works, performed with unbridled passion and grace. SF Ballet makes its Festival Napa Valley debut, accompanied by members of the SF Ballet Orchestra.

The mixed-repertory program features Tomasson’s The Fifth Season and Concerto Grosso in addition to other classical works.

(Photographer: Robert McClenahan)
(Photographer: Robert McClenahan)

Opera Gala at Lincoln Theatre, Saturday, July 24th, 5:30pm

The 2016 Festival Napa Valley will come to a magnificent close with an elegant performance by Renowned opera conductor Carlo Ponti who is joined by two up and coming powerhouse vocalists tenor Michael Fabiano and mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard – for an unforgettable night of arias and duets.

Fabiano, whom the San Francisco Chronicle called a singer “with a muscular and mellifluous tenor voice,” has earned rave reviews for his performances at the Met and the San Francisco Opera. Heralded by The New York Times for her “consistently gorgeous tone and elegant demeanor,” Isabel Leonard has wooed audiences from New York to Vienna.

Now it’s showtime! Visit the festival website for the full schedule and to purchase tickets.


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