Ballroom Dance News

The 66th Vienna Opera Ball Officially Opens

In a scenario as traditional as the event itself, the phrase “Alles Walzer” marked the opening of the dance floor to the public at this year’s Vienna Opera Ball. Preceding this ceremonial phrase was a vibrant cultural program set against a backdrop of hundreds of “Pink Floyd” roses.

The Opera Ball, a spectacle of the elite, continues to take place in the iconic Vienna Opera House. The event, under the stewardship of Opera Director Bogdan Roscic, remains a showcase for the operatic world, emphasizing its cultural significance during the musical opening.

The evening’s performances commenced with mezzo-soprano Elina Garanca and the young Spanish soprano Serena Saenz, delivering a stirring rendition of “Barcarolle” from Jacques Offenbach’s “The Tales of Hoffmann.” This was followed by solo pieces from Garanca and tenor Piotr Beczala, culminating in their duet of Agustin Lara’s “Granada.”

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Публикация от S E R E N A S Á E N Z (@serena_saenz)

A Gesture for Peace

The Vienna State Ballet’s performance, choreographed by Alexei Ratmansky, featured the waltz “La Separation” by Ukrainian composer Mykola Lysenko, symbolizing a message of peace amidst global tensions.

The evening also saw the entrance of 144 couples from the Young Ladies and Gentlemen’s Committee, who performed a choreography by Maria Angelini-Santner and Christoph Santner to Johann Strauss II’s “Pepita-Polka,” culminating with the hallmark “Alles Walzer,” inviting guests to the dance floor.

Red Carpet Revelations

Guests made their grand entrance over the red carpet into the opera house, a tradition detailed by ORF hosts Marion Benda and Andi Knoll, highlighting the evening’s elegance and complexity.

Distinguished guests included Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen, who was greeted by fanfares upon arrival, and a host of political figures alongside international attendees, symbolizing Austria’s global cultural outreach.

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Celebrity Sparkle and International Flair

The ball was graced by celebrities such as Priscilla Presley, who dazzled in a Nina Ricci sequined dress, and other notable figures from various sectors, all contributing to the night’s glamour.

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Security Measures and Peaceful Protests

With hundreds of police officers deployed around the opera house, the event was a significant security operation, ensuring the safety of the illustrious guests. Despite the heightened security, surrounding demonstrations, notably organized by the Communist Youth of Austria, proceeded without incident, underscoring societal contrasts.

The Vienna Opera Ball, alongside the Philharmonic Ball, is an annual social highlight of the ball season during the Viennese Carnival. It always takes place in the Vienna State Opera, typically on the last Thursday before Ash Wednesday.

The Opera Ball is the largest meeting place in Austria for individuals from the cultural, business, and political sectors, both domestically and internationally, with 5,150 guests attending. Including participants and employees of the opera house, approximately 7,000 people fill the venue on the evening of the ball. The event is inaugurated by 180 couples from both Austria and abroad.

The attendees of the ball and the promotional impact it has on Austrian tourism have become significant economic factors in Vienna.

The organizers of the Opera Ball for 2023–2024 include a committee composed of Nadja Swarovski (until 2023), Birgit Reitbauer, and Maryam Yeganehfar.

The individuals responsible for choreographing the opening polonaise for the years 2019–2020 and 2023–2024 are from the Santner Dance School in Upper Austria, specifically Maria Santner and Christoph Santner.

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