London's Royal Opera House played host to an glittering evening of artistry last night, as stars from the world of opera and wine came together to raise money for charity.
Following the success of the 2008 event, this year’s Wine Gala Dinner, organised by Decanter and the Royal Opera House, kicked off with a recital by the Royal Opera House chorus, directed by Renato Balsadonna, and featured internationally-acclaimed soloists Ekaterina Siurina, Christine Rice, Robert Murray and Mathew Rose.
Guests were treated to a six-course dinner, with each course matched to a wine donated by one of the six wine producers in attendance; a stellar line-up which included Dom Ruinart Champagne 1998, Louis Jadot Corton-Charlemagne 2006, Clos de Tart 2003, Ornellaia 2007, Chateau La Mission Haut-Brion 1990, Chateau Haut-Brion 1982, and Warre’s 1983.
Each wine was introduced by its maker and, one by one, a roll-call of some of the biggest names in wine took to the stage to present both the wines served with dinner, and the auction lots that were to follow, with speeches from Frederic Panaiotis (Ruinart), Pierre-Henry Gagey (Jadot), Giovanni Geddes de Filicaja (Ornellaia), Sylvain Pitiot (Clos de Tart), H.R.H. Prince Robert of Luxembourg (Haut-Brion and La Mission Haut-Brion) and Paul Symington (Warre’s).
The evening culminated with a 12-lot auction, directed by David Elswood and Anthony Hanson MW of Christie’s, which featured lots donated by the wineries and the Royal Opera House, ranging from large format bottles, exclusive tastings and vineyard stays to costumes, a private violin recital and the chance to sit in the orchestral pit during a performance at the Royal Opera House.
After several hard-fought bidding wars, the highest-grossing lot – comprised of imperiales of Chateau Haut-Brion 2009, Chateau La Mission Haut-Brion 2009, Le Clarence de Haut-Brion 2009 and La Chapelle de La Mission Haut-Brion 2009 – eventually sold for £21,000.
Sarah Kemp, Decanter publishing director, described the evening as ‘unbelievable.’
‘This year’s Wine Gala Dinner was the ultimate combination of world’s finest voices matched with the world’s finest wines. No wonder the Royal Opera House guests’ paddles were on fire. I’m so thrilled at the money we raised for this fantastic cause.‘
In total the event raised £87,000, with the proceeds going to the Royal Opera House foundation.
See pictures of the Wine Gala Dinner
Written by Decanter.com staff