Cate Blanchett, Jean Reno, Matthew Modine, Ronan Keating, Hany Salama & Zidane at gala event

Published May 17th, 2007 - 01:21 GMT

Luxury Swiss watch manufacturer, IWC Schaffhausen, celebrated the new watches in its Da Vinci range with a glamorous event in front of an audience of illustrious international guests. The high point of the gala evening on the occasion of the SIHH Watch Fair in Geneva was provided by Academy Award-winning actor Kevin Spacey, who appeared as a star guest in a self-produced stage play. The short film of this performance will have its own online world premiere on 16 May.

Although the launch of the latest Da Vinci watches was the incentive for the magnificent "Serata di Leonardo" from IWC, stars of an entirely different kind were in the spotlight at the start of this glittering event. Oscar winner Cate Blanchett and the actors Jean Reno and Matthew Modine headed the cohort of actors on the red carpet, flanked by Asian stars Sanada Hiroyuki and Chang Cheng while Egyptian super star Hany Salama represented the Middle East at the event. The singer Ronan Keating and world-class foot-baller Zinédine Zidane posed before the photographers, and Laureus sporting legends like Boris Becker and Alberto Tomba graced the "Serata die Leonardo" with their presence.

The invited guests in Palexpo Hall 1 were expecting to experience the Renaissance in a perfectly staged setting. Approximately 1,300 friends of IWC gathered together in a glamorous Florentine palazzo, which represented the classical style of the Medici. Even the inspired culinary highlights under the super-vision of the premium event caterer "Käfer" were presented with historical flair. Against this authentic backdrop, the watches of the new Da Vinci range celebrated a magnificent premiere. Host and IWC CEO Georges Kern and presenter Tanja Bülter opened the evening with the lavishly animated film portraying the fascination of the new Da Vinci model on the big screen.

The real high point of the evening was the stage play, "Leo and Lisa", produced especially for IWC and exclusively for this event by Oscar winner Kevin Spacey. In spite of his current guest appearance on Broadway in Eugene O’Neill's "A Moon for the Misbegotten", Spacey also took it upon himself to play the leading role in this first performance.

As a dominant, boorish and autocratic inquisitor, he addressed the question of Mona Lisa's smile. Thandie Newton, already well known from "Mission: Impossible 2” was out-standing in the leading female role of Lisa. Elliot Cowan, who played the role of Leo, appeared in Oliver Stone's historical epic, "Alexander". The play ran for around 15-minutes, and the guests were invited into an amphitheatre built especially for this event, where "Leo and Lisa" had its celebrated premiere.

Spacey's theatre performance on this evening was recorded by a top-class film crew. To make this world premiere accessible to a wide public, the lavish production will go online as a short film on the IWC Web site on 16 May 2007. An additional making-of shows not only clips from the rehearsals and a look behind the scenes, but also a good-humoured Kevin Spacey, who is truly in his element on the stage. Spacey, who caused a stir as a consummate character actor in cinema classics such as "Seven", "The Usual Suspects", "L.A. Confidential" and "American Beauty", took over in 2003 as Artistic Director of the Old Vic, one of the oldest theatres in London.

The live appearance by disco icons Chic, who achieved worldwide fame with their hit "Le Freak" in the 1970s, set an exuberant party mood. Another friend of IWC, John Helliwell, the former saxophonist with Super-tramp, also rekindled some memories with a special jam session. "We attended a superb event with wonderful guests and a fantastic atmosphere," is how a happy Georges Kern describes the "Serata di Leonardo".

 


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