“The World in Tune” was the theme of this year’s First Initiative Foundation (FIF) gala dinner, held this year at the InterContinental Hong Kong.

Fancl was the principal sponsor and charitable partner of the evening, which was aimed at celebrating and supporting music education, mentorship, and harnessing the power of music to unite and support the community at large.

The gala event launched FIF’s World In Tune Initiative, a series of invents including the Evening with Renée Fleming recital the previous evening; a Renée Fleming Masterclass, which benefitted over 200 of the FIF’s students and teachers, and a soon-to-be-released recording to benefit the FIF featuring Eason Chan, Renée Fleming and Lang Lang.

FIF chairwoman Michelle Ong-Cheung made a brief welcoming address to thank all those present for their ongoing support, while also outlining FIF’s progress to date.

Guests were in for a treat with a line-up of stellar performances. A high point of the night was when New Zealand songstress Hayley Westenra took to the stage to sing a rendition of Kiwi classic “Pokarekare Ana” with the help of renowned Chinese guitarist Yang Xuefei. Next up was a performance from Singaporean musician Hanjin Tan, who shared the stage with leading a cappella artists Metro Vocal Group.

In addition to the performances, guests enjoyed an indulgent meal courtesy of 8 ½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana’s Umberto Bombana, Robuchon Au Dôme’s Julien Tongourian, Bo Innovation’s Alvin Leung and Lung King Heen’s Cheung Yan-tak, each of whom created a sumptuous course for the evening. Each dish was paired with wines selected by Master Sommelier Yohann Jousselin, Director of Wine for the Shangri-La Hong Kong and Singapore.

The evening ended on a sweet note created by the InterContinental Hong Kong’s Executive Pastry Chef Cyril Dupuis: a coconut and passion fruit dessert with wild strawberries, and chocolate in the shape of musical notes—a tribute to the evening’s theme.

Also taking place on the night was a live auction, with Jin Ling of Christie’s acting as the evening’s energetic auctioneer. Notable lots that went for above estimate included a Jacob & Co. skeleton watch, which was snapped up by financier Liu Yang, and a collection of wines from Henry Tang’s cellar, which resulted in a minor bidding war—from which entrepreneur Maggie Xia emerged victorious.

Covered by: Christian Barlow