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Parties: Shows of Support

by Catherine Bigelow | Photography by Drew Altizer

For 10 glorious summer days, music, dance and opera took center stage once again in Napa Valley — though, naturally, wine and food were also part of the festivities. With world-class performances, dinners honoring patrons and artists, and Vintner’s Luncheons at idyllic locales, the 2022 Festival Napa Valley drew 8,000 folks from near and far.

Among the familiar (and philanthropic-minded) faces throughout the multiday extravaganza: Maria Manetti Shrem, former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, current Mayor London Breed, Rick and Karen Walker, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Rich and Leslie Frank, and Gordon Getty.

While the festival’s 16th season officially kicked off on Friday, July 15, the Founders Dinner was held the previous night, with Claire and Steven Stull welcoming guests to their home, perched high above the Stags Leap District. In addition to magnificent valley vistas, attendees were treated to a tasting menu by La Saison, accompanied by wines from Darioush, QTR and The Napa Valley Reserve.

The opening concert on Friday at Charles Krug Winery was billed as a celebration of the sounds of America. Conductor Carlo Ponti got things off to an exuberant start, leading the Festival Orchestra Napa in Leonard Bernstein’s “Candide Overture.”

The next day’s highlights included a concert by New York City–based Young People’s Chorus, led by Francisco J. Núñez; the world premiere of “Polaris,” Nia Imani Franklin’s Juneteenth anthem; an arrangement of Getty’s choral work, Young America; and performances by soprano Mikayla Sager and tenor Mario Chang, winners of the 2022 Manetti Shrem Opera Prize.

The opening weekend fun continued at the lush grounds of Far Niente, which provided a magical backdrop for an alfresco lunch on Sunday that was a wonderful run-up to one of the festival’s marquee events: the Arts for All Gala (pictured on this page), headlined by three-time Grammy winner Trisha Yearwood. The 360 revelers also enjoyed dinner prepared by chef Tyler Florence, paired with Far Niente and Nickel & Nickel wines as well as Champagne courtesy of Be Bubbly. During a live auction that featured a number of luxury lots, “The Magic of Mustique” island getaway brought in $410,000 alone.

“This year’s Arts for All Gala raised a record-setting $3.75 million to support arts education in Napa County, free and affordable concerts, and the festival’s music academies and scholarship programs,” said Leslie Frank, festival board member and gala chair. “This surpassed our previous record by over $1 million! Thanks to the spirited generosity of our donors and sponsors, Festival Napa Valley is having a profound impact on the quality of life in Napa Valley and beyond.” NHG Sponsored

— Anh-Minh Le

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