One of the great luxuries of our Kelowna summers must be going to see a show in the romantic setting of our verdant vineyards. This summer, a number of wineries in Kelowna have special events taking place on their magnificent grounds, spanning the disciplines of theatre, music, and art. Here are some ideas to fill your calendar with cultural happenings among the vines.
Shakespeare at the Villa:
The beautiful backdrop of the Okanagan Villa and Vibrant Vines winery are once again home to Shakespeare Kelowna as they launch their third season of Shakespeare at the Villa with performances of Much Ado About Nothing on the nights of July 16 to 20 and July 23 through 27, starting at 7 p.m. The East Kelowna winery’s stunning grounds and manicured gardens will set the stage for an evening of comedic courtship, Shakespeare-style. Plan to arrive early to check out the 3-D Vibrant Vines tasting room, taste their wines, and enjoy some Bellissimo Pizza, for sale in the wine shop, before the play starts.
Tickets for Shakespeare Kelowna’s production of “Much Ado About Nothing” presented by Castanet are on sale now for $25 at www.selectyourtickets.com. Tickets will also be available at the door on performance nights at Okanagan Villa Estate Winery located at 3240 Pooley Rd.
Encounters with Iceland at Mission Hill:
This spectacular West Kelowna winery is a hub of culture this summer, with sold-out performances by the Gypsy Kings and the iconic Tony Bennett throughout August, as well as an intriguing sculpture exhibit all around the winery’s grounds on now through October. I went to the opening of this sculpture exhibit, and it really is an incredible addition to the winery’s cultural offerings. Works by the Icelandic artist Steinunn Thórarinsdóttir are placed in well-considered spots around the winery, each one offering visitors a sense of surprise akin to a scavenger hunt. The sculptures use a variety of materials, from aluminum to clay to bronze, each chosen to convey a specific relationship with the natural environment of Iceland, and yet each one also working in perfect stride with the pieces’ new home at Mission Hill winery. To see the full exhibit, be sure to book a tour at Mission Hill next time you go since there are some pieces placed in the winery’s cellar that you won’t want to miss.
Wines and Tunes:
For those of us who love live music, the summer offers a special treat in that a number of wineries will bring the concerts outdoors among the vines. You’ll find all kinds of music in vineyard settings, from jazz or rock (like the weekend concerts at Vibrant Vines winery or CedarCreek’s sold out Chantal Kreviatzuk concert on July 17, and their sold-out Barenaked Ladies concert on September 5) to classical as I’ll explain next.
At Quails’ Gate Estate Winery on August 15, 16, and 17, audiences will be treated to a momentous production of The Lake opera. There will be only three performances of this historically significant opera, and tickets are still available through Quails’ Gate’s website, so be sure to secure your tickets. The significance of this performance is that 60 years after its debut, Barbara Pentland’s historic opera is “going home” to its actual setting, the 1873 home of British settlers Susan and John Allisons, “Sunnyside Ranch,” now Quails’ Gate Winery in West Kelowna. It promises to be an unforgettable evening of aural history based on the true life story of pioneer Susan Allison’s sighting of the creature of the lake and the vibrant contemporary culture of the Westbank First Nation set in the vineyards of Quails’ Gate Winery. The evening will feature soprano Heather Pawsey as Susan Allison and Turning Point Ensemble.
Tickets are $45 for adults, $25 for students, or a packaged reception & performance ticket for $90. There are also dinner and performance tickets available for Friday (August 15) and Saturday (August 16) evenings starting at 6 p.m. with the show time at 8 p.m. for $135. And on Sunday (August 17), a packaged ticket for brunch and the performance (starting at noon, and the show time is at 2 p.m.) for $135. Additionally, there is a Wine Dinner & Show option for $175 at which audience members can enjoy a sophisticated 3-course dinner with wine pairings at Quails Gate’s Old Vines Restaurant, which includes access to the original 1873 Allison House and VIP show seating.
Every Sunday morning (9 a.m. -- 11:30 a.m.) through August 31 at CedarCreek Estate Winery, come out and enjoy an hour long yoga class from an instructor of Oranj Fitness, followed by brunch in their Vineyard Pavilion. For more information, please visit CedarCreek’s website or call the winery.