Festival del Sole Opens in Napa Valley with von Stade, the Galways and Russian National Orchestra

Classic Arts News   Festival del Sole Opens in Napa Valley with von Stade, the Galways and Russian National Orchestra
The second annual Festival del Sole in California's Napa Valley — with a starry lineup, a new castle-like venue and John Corigliano as composer in residence — gets started tomorrow evening with a special opening gala featuring mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade and flutists Jeanne and James Galway with the Russian National Orchestra (the festival's resident band) under the baton of St_phane Denve.

The ten-day "lifestyle festival," running this year July 13-22, features daily concerts followed by meals prepared by celebrity chefs and served with fine Napa Valley wines.

Ten additional concerts will take place in venues ranging from the intimate turn-of-the-century Napa Opera House to the historic Lincoln Theater in Yountville to the "Castello di Amorosa" — a reproduction Italian Renaissance castle in Calistoga.

The first Castello concert, on July 14, features excerpts from Handel's Julius Caesar performed by San Francisco's Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra under its artistic director, Nicholas McGegan; countertenor David Daniels and soprano Danielle de Niese sing Caesar and Cleopatra.

The following day at the Lincoln, the University of Texas at Austin Wind Band will perform Stravinsky's Concerto for Piano and Wind Orchestra and Corigliano's Circus Maximus. Corigliano's music will also be spotlighted on July 17 at the Castello, where the Galways will be joined for a chamber music concert by cellist Nina Kotova — who is the festival's artistic director — soprano Lisa Delan and violinist Dmitry Sitkovetsky.

There are full symphonic concerts by the Russian National Orchestra every second day for much of the festival. On July 16, Carlo Ponti, Jr. (yes, he is the son of Carlo Ponti and Sophia Loren) conducts a suite from Corigliano's score for the film The Red Violin, with Sitkovetsky as soloist; the Mussorgsky/Ravel Pictures at an Exhibition; and Conrad Tao featured in Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No. 3. Nicola Luisotti, who in January was named San Francisco Opera's next music director, leads a July 18 concert featuring Prokofiev's Symphony no. 5, violinist Joshua Bell in Prokofiev's Violin Concerto No. 1 and Kotova performing Saint-SaêŠns's Cello Concerto. And on July 20, Denve returns to the podium to conduct suites from Faur_'s Pell_as et M_lisande and Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet, with Jean-Yves Thibaudet joining the RNO for Grieg's Piano Concerto.

The Napa Opera House will host a July 19 solo recital featuring pianist Christopher Taylor playing Liszt's Transcendental Etudes and Beethoven's final piano sonata. On the same stage on July 21 will be an all-star chamber music concert featuring DeNiese, Sitkovetsky, Kotova, pianist Orion Weiss and, also at the piano, Antonio Pappano, music director of the Royal Opera House in London.

Pappano takes up his baton, conducting the RNO in the festival's final concert on July 22, with violinist Nikolaj Znaider and pianist Piotr Anderszewski playing Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto and Bart‹k's Piano Concerto No. 3.

For more information visit: www.festivaldelsole.com.

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