Papillon IX was a wondrous night that brought together good music, great wines, fabulous food in a luxury atmosphere.
It was only appropriate for Papillon IX to be staged at the First Lady of Singapore hotels—Raffles Hotel. After all, Mrs Margrit Mondavi, who hosted the event, is practically the First Lady of wine, fine food and arts in Napa Valley.
Papillon IX was a night of vintages—quality wines paired beautifully with fine food and desserts created by Michelin-winning chef Alvin Leung and Robert Mondavi winery chef Jeff Mosher, topped off by a crowd-winning performance by Emil Chau Wakin.
Set in the indoor and al fresco areas at the Bar & Billard Room, the guests were given opportunity to mingle and taste the food at their own leisure during the food and wine pairing session. Wines were also recommended at each station, for ideal pairing with each food item, such as the offering of the Fume Blanc to accompany a citrus-cured salmon with pickled vegetable salad and lime crème fraiche.
Guests were then directed to the Jubilee Hall where they waited with much anticipation for the performance of the night by Chau and the band Timeless Fusion Party. The band quickly won over the crowd with a jazz classic. Their second number, “Between The Breath”, which was composed by the wife of the saxophonist Tony was a smooth jazz number that lulled the audience into a relaxed mood.
As the band segued into “Fly Me To The Moon”, Chau entered to great applause. Witty and chatty, he showed off his bilingual chops as he easily switched from English to Mandarin in his banter with the crowd. Resplendent in his white suit, against his band all decked out in black, Chau performed with an ease that showed his years of experience and confidence.
He performed “Mona Lisa”, before moving into his famous Chinese numbers such as “Flower Heart”, “Unstoppable Wind and Rain” and “Let Me Be Happy, Let Me Be Sad”, obviously familiar with the audience as they started singing along. Easily a decade old, the songs were given a fresh feel by the band’s rendition, making them a pleasure for the ears.
The highlight and heart of the performance came when Chau introduced 83-year-old Mrs. Margrit Mondavi. He dedicated the next song to her, and launched into a soulful rendition of “You Are So Beautiful” as a video tribute of Robert Mondavi played behind him. The moment the song ended, the crowd gave a standing ovation to the memory of the man who was famous for championing wine, food and the arts in California. As the camera zoomed into Mrs. Mondavi, the audience was able to see that she was very much surprised and visibly touched.
Chau then ended his set with another Chinese favorite, “Tomorrow I’m Marrying You.” The audience however, would not let him go as they continued applauding until he had reappeared for his encore. He then returned with “What A Wonderful World” before inviting Chef Alvin Leung on stage with him.
Leung and Chau turned their one song into an amusing plug for the Robert Mondavi wines, as both of them downed glasses of the wine during their performance of “Always On My Mind”. Leung then compliment Chau by saying that although Mrs .Mondavi could not understand a single word of Chau’s Chinese songs, she’s nevertheless full of admiration for Chau as he is full of passion, just like her husband. Likewise, satisfied guests Tony and Lynn Tonsberg said, “The music was good, the food was great. I didn’t understand most of what the singer was saying, but he had passion. I would absolutely come back again.”
|PHOTO: Yu Jianxiong|
The performance then came to an end as Chau sang a rousing version of his hit song “Friends”. The singer shared that even though he is not Singaporean, he had always loved this place, and from the moment he stepped into the auditorium, he had felt that he was in the company of friends.
The satisfied crowd moved out to the foyer where they were served dessert items such as lemongrass ice cream accompanied by the light and sweet moscato.
Singaporean actress Koh Chieng Mun aptly put it, “It’s so rare to enjoy being so close to Emil Chau in such a wonderful atmosphere. The whole concept is great, because I think in a big concert, you don’t get to enjoy it so much. This was so memorable and personal.”