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Napa Valley Festival del Sole – best summer performing arts celebration in town

The Napa Valley Festival del Sole returns for its ninth season, from July 11 to July 20, 2014. Napa Valley will be, once more, the perfect backdrop for one of the country’s most compelling summer celebrations, the ten-day festival featuring world-class classical music, jazz, opera and ballet along with curated culinary, wine and wellness adventures that celebrate the art of life.

Polina Semionova
Polina Semionova
Courtesy of Festival del Sole- Photo Credit Rosalie O'Connor
NapaValley Festival del Sole Logo
Courtesy of Napa Valley Festival del Sole

For ten days Napa Valley Wineries will transform to host world guests, and to show them why this world renowned wine producing region is not only known for their wines, but also for performing arts, its hospitality and cuisine.

Since 2006, Festival del Sole has presented more than 300 artists and ensembles in venues throughout Napa Valley and partnered with more than 200 wineries, hotels and local businesses, and has attracted nearly 10,000 audience members and visitors each season.

One of the festival’s missions is to enrich Napa Valley's cultural and economic vitality by presenting performances of the highest international quality, and innovative programs that celebrate the art of life. The festival also nurtures young artistic talent and supports art education.

Some of this year’s festival highlights are:

  • Sophia Loren tribute evening at Far Niente, featuring her son, the conductor Carlo Ponti, who will debut his new LA Virtuosi chamber orchestra. Whoopi Goldberg will serve as Master Ceremony for the evening as stars of screen and stage, including Robert Redford, pay tribute to Ms. Loren and her life’s work. Star Chef Michael Chiarello will create a special Italian menu with Piero Selvaggio that honors the Ponti family’s Italian roots.
  • The “A Taste of Napa” showcase features about 70 Napa Valley wineries, food artisans and chefs. New for this year are live cooking demonstrations, BBQ artisans and Napa craft breweries including Carneros Brewing Company and Napa Point Brewing, plus a wellness conversation by Dr. Melina Jampolis called “Spice and Supernutrients” where she will discuss how to incorporate the power of food as medicine into delicious and healthy meals. Chef Tiffany Derry, a Top Chef alum who currently stars in the new Spike TV series Hungry Investors, will lead an engaging and informative cooking demonstration where she will whip up a few delectable recipes.
  • Grammy Award-winning violinist Joshua Bell kicks off Opening Night with an intimate performance of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons in the courtyard of the Tuscan-inspired castle winery, Castello di Amorosa.
  • The Wellness Conversations series at eco-chic Bardessono resort includes talks from national health/nutrition experts, a welcome wellness drink and a tour of the resort’s private garden with Executive Chef Victor Scargle, while the rejuvenating “Yoga in the Vineyard” at The Harvest Inn pairs inspired vineyard yoga led by instructor Courtney Willis and complimentary KIND yoga mats that participants take home with a wine tasting and healthy food pairings from Kind Healthy Snacks.
  • The Dance Gala features ballet sensation Polina Semionova performing with an all-star cast of principal dancers from American Ballet Theatre, StaatsBallett Berlin, Stuttgart Ballet and National Ballet of Canada.
  • Cuban jazz legend and 10-time Grammy Award Winner Arturo Sandoval headlines the Annual Gala at Meadowood Napa Valley, which this year has a dreamy “enchanted garden” theme. The gala will include a lively reception overlooking the resort’s croquet green, gourmet cuisine and live jazz beneath the stars, a live auction featuring famed auctioneer Fritz Hatton that supports local arts education programs and the festival. Keeping with the theme, a pied piper will lead guests from the reception through a magical door to the enchanted garden dinner setting with lush flowers, wooden stumps, fairy jars, hanging lights and crystal chandeliers, rustic wood frames hanging from trees and even a photo booth. Sponsors for the evening are Meadowood Napa Valley, Boisset Family Estates and Gallo Signature Series, among others.
  • A patron dinner at HALL St. Helena takes place at this newly reimagined St. Helena winery estate from celebrated winemakers Craig and Kathryn Hall. The evening begins with a welcoming reception in the winery’s modern, sophisticated new tasting room that embraces visitors with an exquisite light installation by artist Graham Caldwell, hanging Chihuly glass sculptures and dramatic tapestry. Dinner follows on the lawn overlooking the Mayacamas to the west and a video projection by artist Shahzia Sikander on the restored 1885 stone Bergfield building. The evening ends on an unforgettable note –when opera stars Maria Agresta and Matthew Polenzani perform a moonlight serenade from the windows of the historic building.
  • The Sphinx Symphony Orchestra, the world’s only all Black and Latino professional orchestra comprised of top musicians from around the country, plays its first West Coast performances as the festival’s orchestra-in-residence.
  • Trouble in Tahiti, a Chamber Opera - Leonard Bernstein's candid portrait of marriage in the suburbs, directed by his daughter, Jamie Bernstein.
  • A picturesque concert at the world famous Opus One Winery featuring all-stars from past seasons of the Bouchaine Young Artist Series under the baton of guest conductor Dmitry Sitkovetsky.
  • Sun-dappled Vintner’s Luncheons and enchanting Patron Dinners each day at more than 20 of Napa Valley’s top wineries, estates and resorts – including Alpha Omega, Auberge du Soleil, Beaulieu Vineyard’s Rutherford House, Castello di Amorosa, Chimney Rock, Far Niente, Ehlers Estate, Gargiulo Vineyards, Grgich Hills Estate, HALL St. Helena, Jaffe Estate, Keller Estate, Martin Estate, Meadowood Napa Valley, Robert Mondavi Winery, The Hess Collection, Vineyard 29.

For 2014 season schedule, event program, and fabulous auction items visit the Napa Valley Festival del Sole website. Also visit the website to acquire individual tickets, Allegro Passes, VIP Passes and free performance tickets.

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