Viennese Opera Ball in New York

The Viennese Opera Ball[1] is an annual charity gala held annually under the auspices of the United States-Austrian Chamber of Commerce. The Ball is organized by Board of Directors, under President Silvia Frieser and Artistic Director Daniel Serafin.[2][3]

Dignitaries, Diplomats and Debutantes “Open” the international Ball, long regarded as one of New York City’s “greatest annual events,” garnering worldwide media coverage for over five decades. There is nothing formulaic about the event; with four generations of guests, the Ball reflects the universal appeal of Austria’s cultural and culinary treasures. The gala evening features Opera, Classical Music and Ballroom Dancing including, of course, Waltzing. One popular highlight is the Midnight Quadrille, conducted by a Viennese choreographer. Following an 8 p.m. champagne reception, the Ball runs from 9:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m., and includes a four-course dinner service. The “Tanz Bar” (post-Ball party) follows from 1:00 to 4:00 a.m. and includes a full buffet supper with the Viennese Opera Ball's Signature Goulash Soup, as well as multiple venues featuring: live dance music, a DJ and a Vienna Coffee House with Viennese pastries.

The Ball opens with the Grand March of Dignitaries and Diplomats. The ceremonial tone of the Ball Opening continues with the Presentation and Posting of the Flags by a West Point Color Guard. The Program continues with the Presentation of Debutantes (ages 16 to 26) and their dance Escorts (ages 18–28). A choreographed waltz routine by young ballroom dance couples is followed by a call for "Alles Walzer!" (Everyone Dance!) and guests join the dancers for the first official waltz of the Ball. A Viennese Orchestra plays continuous dance music throughout the Ball, stopping only for Program highlights or performances by the featured Opera singers.

History

The Viennese Opera Ball in New York takes its inspiration from the famous Vienna Opera Ball in Austria, but it is an American 501(c)(3) non-profit association, and independent from the Vienna Opera Ball. In February 2019 the ball celebrated its 64th Anniversary.[4]

The ball takes place in early February at Cipriani 42nd Street in Manhattan. [5] It is considered one of the few 'white-tie' balls still in existence in the United States, i.e. the gentlemen come attired in white tie and dress coats with decorations and the ladies wear long floor-length ball gowns with decorations and opera gloves.

Performances

Debutantes and their male partners (called Escorts) rehearse for one week prior to the ball, and they are generally selected by recommendation from Committee members each year. The choreographed Waltzers rehearse for three months prior to the ball, and they are selected from dance auditions held by the Choreographer each year. Opera singers come from the Metropolitan Opera, and ballet dancers are flown over from Vienna. The Debutante procession is typically led by either the reigning Miss USA or the reigning Miss Universe.

Annual Themes

Each year there is a different theme: 2005 -- 'Golden Jubilee' (in honor of the 50th anniversary of both the Ball and Free Austria); 2006 -- 'Mozart,' as the night of the ball fell on what would have been Mozart's 250th birthday; 2007 -- "Cinderella", complete with a ballet following the story of Cinderella and her night at "the ball" with Prince Charming; 2008 -- "Fairy Doll", inspired by composer Josef Bayer's children's tale; and, 2009 -- "Masked Night at the Opera", inspired by Strauss's "Prince Orlofsky's masked ball at his "villa" in "Die Fledermaus". Most recently in 2018, the 63rd Viennese Opera Ball commemorated the 100th anniversary of Gustav Klimt's legacy.

See also

References

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