Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

The Music Man of the Napa Valley Opera House

With Peter Williams at the helm, the Napa Valley Opera House heats up.



COURTESY OF NAPA VALLEY OPERA HOUSE

On an October evening six years ago, Peter Williams and his wife, Chelsea Sammel, drove out to Napa from Oakland to see trumpeter Wynton Marsalis perform. Entering the historic Napa Valley Opera House for the first time, he said to his wife, “Oh my God, look at this room! I’d love to book a show here.”

That wish came true last year, as Williams assumed the role of executive and artistic director of the opera house venue. A lifelong music lover (“In high school, I was a guy with a big record collection”) with radio DJ and management experience, Williams spent 12 years booking shows for Oakland’s Yoshi’s nightclub. His enthusiasm—and Rolodex—helped fuel the opera house’s recent boom from 70 shows a year to 150-plus.

Williams booked A-listers Natalie Cole, Chris Botti, and George Benson—all opera house firsts. Local theater troupe Napa Valley Broadway Playhouse debuted with Cabaret. A documentary film series was added. And recently, Williams struck a deal to create Orchestra Napa Valley, to replace the shuttered Napa Valley Symphony.

It’s an exciting time for the opera house—and for downtown Napa, which is experiencing a cultural and culinary Renaissance. And Williams is clear on his goal: “I want the opera house to be the cultural hub of the county.”

On the horizon is an amped-up food program in the downstairs café theatre, for pre-show dinners and post show wine receptions. Williams also hopes the café theater will become a gathering place for the community, from local band concerts to art shows to salsa dancing nights. And he is considering broadcast events, such as election results or the Metropolitan Opera.

“The opera house is a great spot with a great sound and a supportive community,” says Williams. “In another few years, it will be just bustling around Napa, and we’ll be happy to be a part of it.”
 

MIKE ORIA
 


Napa Valley Opera House


Upcoming shows

November 7–11: Napa Valley Film Festival
November 16: Angelique Kidjo, African singer
November 17: MacHomer, twist on Shakespeare
November 29: Punch Brothers, bluegrass
December 9: Ballet Folklorico Costa de Oro
December 20: Windham Hill Winter Solstice

For a complete schedule of events, visit nvoh.org.

 

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Live In The Vineyard

Big-name celebrities, including Adam Lambert and A Great Big World, performed at the 16th installment of Live In The Vineyard

Play

Dive In

This summer, Bardessono is throwing a monthly afternoon party on the rooftop pool deck, and everyone is invited.

Designing Wine Country

A drive around Wine Country is a virtual tour of Howard J. Backen's portfolio. So what's the deal with this St. Helena--based architect who has influenced design around California and around the world?

Peter Michael Foundation Stars

The Peter Michael Foundation hosted Stars 2013

NS Cars and Celebrities

Estate of Grace

A breathtaking family estate in Petaluma celebrates the 25th anniversary of its vineyards.

Hamel Grand Opening

The Sonoma Valley got an impressive new addition when Hamel Family Wines opened this summer.

Robert Mondavi Winery 50th Anniversary Celebration

The renowned winery in Oakville celebrated its 50th anniversary with live music, wine seminars, wine tastings, cooking demonstrations with local chefs, and horse-and-buggy rides through the historic To Kalon Vineyard.

Jamming Along

Two Napa natives embrace simplicity to take the wine world by storm.

Safari West’s Meet Us at the Oasis

The Safari West Wildlife Foundation hosted a fundraiser at the Safari West wildlife preserve in Santa Rosa that included dinner, belly dancers, an auction, and live animals

Carneros Wine Alliance 30th Anniversary

Edit ModuleShow Tags