Festival Napa Valley (formerly Festival del Sole), one of America’s premiere summer destination events, presents its Eleventh Season, July 15-24, 2016. The ten-day fete features exclusive engagements by preeminent classical, opera, jazz and dance artists paired with intimate food and wine affairs hosted by the region’s top vintners and restaurateurs. Through its free programming and arts education initiatives, the festival seeks to bring the transformative power of the arts to all.

The 2016 festival is dedicated to founding board member and Napa Valley doyenne, Margrit Mondavi. “No one better represents and exemplifies the philanthropic spirit and the passion for art, music, food and wine that Margrit and the festival share,” stated Board Chairman Timothy Blackburn. Several special events in Margrit Mondavi’s honor will take place at Festival Napa Valley this summer.

Over the course of its ten-year history, the festival has made the arts accessible to all through the presentation of free performances and the donation of tickets to veterans, seniors and students. It has become a leading funder of arts education in Napa County schools. In 2015, Festival Napa Valley awarded $275,000 to community arts organizations, including a grant to underwrite the first-ever arts education master plan for Napa Valley Unified School District.

Emmy and Tony Award-winning and singer Kristin Chenoweth opens the season with an intimate recital at Castello di Amorosa, followed by Allegro After Party at Solage Calistoga with hors d’oeuvres, wines and live music under the stars.

The popular Bouchaine Young Artist Series at Jarvis Conservatory is a lively free concert series featuring performances by the next generation of great musicians. Sponsored by Bouchaine Vineyards, this series provides performance opportunities for promising young artists. Festival Napa Valley awards a generous monetary scholarship, underwritten by Tatiana and Gerret Copeland, to each participating artist.

The series begins with rising star Alexi Kenney, whom the The New York Times praised his “beautifully phrased and delicate playing.” Kenney is poised to release his first CD (on CAG Records), featuring works by Schumann, Westhoff and others that he showcased at his Carnegie recital debut. The series continues with Ukrainian-American soprano Yelena Dyachek. In 2016, Dyachek will perform with San Francisco Opera’s Merola Program, as well as in the role of Dominique de Menil in the world premiere of Some Light Emerges, and First Secretary in Nixon in China, with Houston Grand Opera. Finishing the series is 18 year old musician, Daniel Hsu. Hsu is one of two winners of this year’s prestigious Gilmore Young Artist Award, given every other year to the most promising American pianists under the age of 23. Among other ensembles, Hsu has played with the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra and Golden Gate Philharmonic, and has upcoming concerts at the Gilmore International Keyboard Festival at Carnegie Hall, and with the New Haven Symphony at Yale’s Woolsey Hall. All three Bouchaine Young Artist Series concerts are free but require tickets.

Other entertainment highlights include San Francisco Ballet and Orchestra, legendary soprano Kathleen Battle, jazz legend Sergio Mendes, an all-star ensemble of principal players from the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, the San Francisco Symphony and other leading orchestras and much more.

Special events include the Festival Gala at Meadowood with featured performers from Cirque du Soleil, American Spirituals at Mont Le Salle, and an admission-free community concert featuring Young People’s Chorus of New York City along with Napa Regional Dance Company.

The popular Taste of Napa will be held on the expansive grounds of Cairdean Estate, showcasing many of the Napa Valley’s finest wineries, restaurants, artisanal food purveyors and award-winning chefs.
International opera stars Isabel Leonard and Michael Fabiano headline the season finale Opera Gala, conducted by Carlo Ponti. Closing night dinner is at Robert Mondavi Winery with an elegant meal prepared by esteemed Executive Chef Jeff Mosher and paired with wines from Mondavi’s prized collection.

Festival Napa Valley offers several behind-the-velvet-rope events at the region’s finest wineries and estates. Enjoy a refreshing lunch on a private terrace overlooking a vineyard, dance beneath the stars to the sound of live gypsy music or brunch on a magnificent terrace overlooking unsurpassed views of the Napa Valley.

Options for Festival Napa Valley 2016 passes offer something for everyone from free performances to special rates for students to VIP patrons and all-access passes.

Visit festivalnapavalley.org to purchase tickets and season passes, and view the full schedule and detailed descriptions. NVL