To this enchanted land where mega events such as the Palm Springs International Film Festival, the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, and the Indio International Tamale Festival reign supreme comes the latest entry to hit the Palm Springs Valley artistic social calendar, the Festival of the Desert. And this one, my dears, belongs to—and in—Rancho Mirage.
The one day affair—the brainchild of Paris National Opera music director/conductor Philippe Jordan and IMG Artists chairman Barrett Wissman—will be an ode to classical music, dance, and other fine arts that takes place on Wednesday, March 18 at both the McCallum Theatre and the Sunnylands Center and Gardens. Just some of the local philanthropists backing this extravaganza, which organizers hope will become a popular annual happening, include Regina and Gregory Annenberg Weingarten, Spencer’s Restaurant owner Harold Matzner, and the Marc and Eva Stern Foundation. Marc Stern is board chairman of the Los Angeles Opera.
Artists who will travel to the desert to appear at the fest include soprano Renée Fleming, dancer David Hallberg, and Grammy-winning record producer and musician Quincy Jones.
According to Mr. Wissman, whose IMG is the largest performing arts management company in the world, this year’s iteration is but an inaugural launch, with the whole enchilada coming in 2016.
I don’t know about you, but I’m willing to bet big on this one. After all, maestro Jordan is one of the most vibrantly talented conductors in the world—at a mere 38 years old! And Mr. Wissman has already produced successful lifestyle festivals such as this one in Napa Valley; Florence, Italy; Spain’s Andalucían region; Singapore; and Abu Dhabi.
Tickets for the events of the day—an 11:00 a.m. chamber music program at Sunnylands (curated by Jordan), a 1:00 p.m. luncheon in the Sunnylands gardens, a 2:15 p.m. lecture/discussion (“The Future of the Arts in America,” led by former president of the Kennedy Center for the Arts, Michael Kaiser), the 7:00 p.m. concert by Ms. Fleming (accompanied on piano by Mr. Jordan) at the McCallum, and the 9:30 p.m. gala reception back at Sunnylands (with musical performances curated by Jones, and dance performances curated by Hallberg) are available at http://www.festivalofthedesert.org/. That’s where you’ll find all the other relevant information about the organization and the event. You know how much I like being an early adopter—not to mention the one who spreads the good word high and far and wide. That’s why I am so there!