On Saturday, November 21st, 2015, the French-Lithuanian Chamber of Commercel opened the Christmas season at the Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania with a luxurious business dinner – “Diner de Gala avec Martell”. For the second year in a row the Gala Dinner wasl held for the pleasure of CCFL guests including top French and Lithuanian corporate executives, business partners, entrepreneurs of the two countries and the heads of public Institutions.
The project initiated by the French-Lithuanian Chamber of Commerce was organized in cooperation with the Embassy of France and the Ministry of Culture and aimed to promote the culture of Lithuania’s estates, to preserve cultural heritage and to strengthen ties between France and Lithuania.
It was hosted in three languages – French, Lithuanian and English – by well-known actress Jurgita Jurkutė-Širvaitė and celebrated writer and francophone Eugenijus Skerstonas.
The guests were treated to some of the favorite dishes that the Lithuanian nobility traditionally served on Christmas Eve, Christmas and New Year, whereas desert was dedicated to the Epiphany. Lithuanian noble estates cuisine was paired with the pride of France – its wine, “G. H. Mumm Cordon Rouge Brut” and “G. H. Mumm Le Rose” champagne and “Martell V. S. O. P.” cognac.
One part of the evening music – while guests were arriving on the red carpet – was dedicated to honor the duke of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, statesman, politician, diplomat, minister, patron and composer Mykolas Kleopas Oginskis. This year Lithuania is celebrating the 250th anniversary of his birth. The biggest part of M.K. Oginiskis’s works is made up of piano pieces: polonaises, mazurkas, marches, minuets, waltzes as well as romances for voice and for the piano. His works were performed and played in Warsaw, Paris, Leipzig, Milan, St. Petersburg and other cities.
Enough money were raised at last year’s business and charity dinner “Diner de Gala avec Martell” and during this year to achieve the first of the project’s funding goals – a canopy frieze for the Baroque Hall of audiences, also known as Throne Hall, on the third floor of the Palace of the Grand Dukes. The new canopy frieze is decorated with heraldic symbols based on a preserved authentic heraldic band from the beginning of the 17th century. It is decorated with the coats of arms of the Vasa dynasty, the Kingdom of Poland, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, the Kingdom of Sweden, and the Tsardom of Muscovy. The canopy frieze was designed by one of the most famous and productive creators of modern Lithuanian heraldry, a longtime member of the Lithuanian Heraldry Commission and a laureate of Lithuanian National prize, the artist Arvydas Každailis. It was produced by the famous Lithuanian artist and textile worker Regina Každailienė.
Like last year, the charity dinner at the Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania was followed by a gala ball, which this year was held in historical buildings dating from 15th-16th century which served at various times in the past as the mansions and palaces of several dynasties of Lithuanian nobility. These premises have now been combined to make the luxurious Hotel Narutis.