Wednesday, July 9, 2008

San Francisco Social Diary

A wedding feast at Bouchaine Winery where Frenchman Stéphane Denève and his Swedish fiancé Asa Masters chose to exchange their vows.
Russian National Orchestra at Le Club
by Jeanne Lawrence

John Traina and Karen and Rick Walker feted the Russian National Orchestra’s (RNO) return to Davies Symphony Hall with a private dinner at Nob Hill’s newest hot spot, Le Club.

Guests were among the first to enjoy the private supper club even before its official opening. Could it be that John has some clout, what with his son film maker Todd Traina being one of the owners?

Andre Ruzhnikov with co-host John Traina
You must have heard of entertainment attorney Rick Walker, who is also President of the Russian Arts Foundation, and co-founder of Napa Valley’s Festival del Sole held every summer.

Naturally, he made sure that Vladimir Jurowski, RNO principal guest conductor, Andre Ruzhnikov, the Russian art dealer who brokered the Forbes Faberge egg collection sales with Russian businessman Viktor Vekselberg, were among the honored guests.

Other music lovers at the intimate dinner: Athena Troxel Blackburn and Timothy Blackburn, Austin Hills, Austin Hills, Jr., Peter Paul, Jude Blake, Michael Polenske, Kim Wilsey, Judith and John Renard, Martha Bredon, Alice Corning, Richard Massey, Laney and Pasha Thornton and Gary Ross.

Take a look at the wines served, which alone was worth spending hours a la table: 2000 Launois Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne; 1989 Batard-Monrachet, Grand Cru, Louis Jado; 1985 Mazis-Chambertin, Grand Cru, Louis Latour; 1998 Domino Pingus and 2000 Chateau d’Yquem Premier Grand Cru, Sauternes.
Athena Blackburn and Vladimir Jurowski, RNO principal guest conductor
Martha Bredon and Richard Massey
John Harrington and Dr. Alexander Paret
Laney and Pasha Thornton with Dr. Alan Malouf
Timothy Blackburn and John with Judith Renard
Pat Harrison and Alice Corning
Napa Valley’s Festival del Sole – Review and Preview
by Jeanne Lawrence

Speaking of the Russian National Orchestra last summer they headlined ten glorious days of world-class classical music at the second annual Festival del Sole.

a glance back at the 2007 Napa Valley Festival de Sole.
The spectacular celebration brings in an international roster of stars of the music world, such as Irish flute duo partners Sir James and Lady Galway, mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade, sopranos Melody Moore and Marnie Breckenridge, pianist Piotr Anderszewski, violinist Joshua Bell, composer John Corigliano, Soprano Danielle de Niese, and conductors Carlo Ponti, Jr. and Antonio Pappano, the latter of London’s Royal Opera House.

As mentioned, Rick Walker co-founded the Festival del Sole with hedge fund manager Barrett Wissman and, as his passion is music, he’s also chairman of the performing arts agency IMG Artists.

Wissman is married to one of the performers, the beautiful Russian-born cellist and composer Nina Kotova who also serves as the festival’s artistic director. Music brought the couple together. When he saw her perform in London he was smitten and when you see her perform you’ll understand.

The Festival del Sole’s founding council members are a high-powered group and include the likes of Ann and Gordon Getty, Tatiana and Gerret Copeland, Athena and Timothy Blackburn, Lori and George Hall, Peter Paul, and Dede Wilsey.

The Copelands (he’s a DuPont) own Bouchaine Winery in Napa’s Carneros District. Of interest is Tatiana’s great-uncle, the legendary composer and pianist, Sergei Rachmaninoff, so you’ll see the origins of their involvement.
Napa Valley Sunflowers.
Somehow this festival creates a family-like feeling, so much so that Frenchman Stéphane Denève (conductor of the Scottish National Orchestra) and his Swedish fiancé Asa Masters chose the Bouchaine Winery to exchange their vows. By all accounts, it was an intimate fairy-tale wedding.

Many local vintners opened their estates with a dizzying array of fabulous luncheons and dinners featuring the cuisine of celebrity chefs like Food Network’s Iron Chef Cat Cora, Shahpar and Darioush Khaledi’s Persian-themed Darioush Winery, Ann Colgin and husband Joe Wender of Colgin Winery, and various performances at Daryl Sattui’s Tuscan inspired castle named Castello di Amorosa Winery.
Darioush Winery reflects Persepolis, the ancient capital of Persia
This year’s roster is no less ambitious. Violinist Joshua Bell, Dmitry Sitkovetsky, French pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet, and 13-year-old piano prodigy Conrad Tao will make return appearances.

The festival welcomes newcomers: Andre Watts, Simone Dinnerstein, and opera stars Measha Brueggergosman and Jill Grove in their festival debuts, as well as the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.
Festival del Sole performance at Lincoln Theater
Conductor Carols Ponti, son of Sophia Loren, with 13-year-old Conrad Tao
Russian National Orchestra performs at Lincoln Theater in Yountville
Frenchman Stephane Deneve of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Violinist Dmitry Sitkovesky
Featured new this year was a July 4 outdoor concert with Tao and the Napa Valley Symphony, performing George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, culminating with a dazzling fireworks display.

This year the visual arts will also be represented by the works of Henri Matisse and the high priest of Pop, Andy Warhol. A very special treat will be a tour of Norah and Norman Stone’s art cave at Stonescape.

What a delight to wine, dine and indulge the senses with world class music and art in the glorious Napa countryside. The Festival will be held from July 12-20. You shouldn’t miss it - see you there!
Andrew, Patrick, Rick, and Karen Walker
Gordon Getty and artist Donna Long
Patron Michael Polenske and Kim Wilsey with Conductor Carlo Ponti, Jr.
Supporters Clark and Elizabeth Swanson of Swanson Winery
Shahpar and Dariosh Khaledi at their Winery
Jeanne Lawrence explores the winery
Darioush Winery and music in the ampitheater
Delicious Persian food
Founder Barrett Wissman, Asa Masters with fiance Conductor Stephane Deneve
Private access to incredible wine cellars
Colgin Winery and Vineyards
Food Network's Iron Chef Cat Corra cooks at Colgin Winery
Al Fresco lunch hosted by Athena and Timothy Blackburn at their St. Helena home
Soprano Danielle de Niese
CEO & President of Mont Blanc Jan Patrick Schmitz with Marsha Monroe Wright and John Wright
Lunch with vinter Ann Colgin and husband Joe Wender
Artist Donna Long (center)
Gerret Copeland with Timothy, Athena, and Tatiana Copeland, great niece of Sergei Rachmaninoff
Barrett Wissman and Maria Manetti Farrow with acclaimed Chef Gary Danko
Greg Lopez helps Gary Danko in Maria's kitchen
Pianist Jean Thibaudet at Maria Manetti Farrow's luncheon at Villa Mille Rose
Italian Conductor Nicola Luisotti with Maria Manetti Farrow at her Italian villa
Concert at Daryl Sattui's Castello de Amorosa Winery — a Tuscan Fantasy
Locals Sally and Gordon Taubenheim
Rick and Karen Walker with son Patrick
Athena and Timothy Blackburn relax at the Castello
Barrett Wissman, Lisa Delan, Gordon Getty, and Rick Walker
Linda Kemper and David Glockley, Director of SF Opera
Wedding of Asa Masters and Stephane Deneve
Cutting the Cake

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