Inside The 65th Viennese Opera Ball In NYC

Midnight QuadrillePhoto Credit: Guillermo MOGOLLAN / MOGOLLAN EMPIRE

On Friday, February 8th, 2020 the 65th Viennese Opera was held under the patronage of H.E. Alexander Van der Bellen, President of the Republic of Austria. 

The prestigious event was Led by Silvia Frieser, President and Executive Director. The Ball, which is one of the oldest white-tie charity galas in New York, was held to benefit the music therapy program at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center with support from Gabrielle’s Angel Foundation for Cancer Research. 

The 65th Viennese Opera Ball in New York City is an annual white-tie charity gala event, which aims to celebrate the long-standing cultural and economic relationships between Austria and America, connecting these two countries for one glamorous night. The Ball was founded by Austrians immigrating to the United States 65 years ago and is a tribute to both their former home-town, Vienna, and new home, New York. It is the American counterpart to the world-famous Vienna Opera Ball that has taken place annually in Austria since 1814. 

Alisa Roever
Alisa Roever

Photo Credit: Guillermo MOGOLLAN / MOGOLLAN EMPIRE

The Viennese Opera Ball itself is a debutante ball, with a great deal of ballroom dancing as well as musical performances by Metropolitan opera stars, orchestra, classical ballet, a midnight Quadrille, West Point color guard and late-night DJ until 4 a.m. 

This year, the Viennese opera ball was held at Cipriani 42 Street. Twelve young women made their “debut” at this year’s ball, including a real-life archduchess who is descended from Austrian royalty. After the opening rituals, including the playing of the Austrian and American national anthems, the ball was officially open and it was time for the debutante ball and waltz. The Debutantes & Escorts danced the Polonaise and Alles Walzer after which all the guests were invited to join the dance floor and enjoy the waltz. Following the VIP reception, guests sat at beautifully decorated tables featuring white rose centerpieces, and the West Point Cadet Color Guard marched and raised their flags before the National Anthems of the United States and Austria. A wonderful dinner was served with further music by operatic performers.

Kevin Richards, Janna Bullock, Peter Cervinka and Denise Rich
Kevin Richards, Janna Bullock, Peter Cervinka and Denise Rich

Photo Credit: Guillermo MOGOLLAN / MOGOLLAN EMPIRE

The Viennese Opera Ball is one of the most unique events of its type in America with traditions that come from the oldest Royal houses of Austria. This 2020, the master of ceremonies was Nathan Lee Graham and the musical program was led by Artistic Director Daniel Serafin. This year’s chairs of the ball included Elisabeth Muhr, Denise Rich and Jean Shafiroff. The Host Committee included Janna Bullock, Joanna Fisher, Ana Saucedo, and Marisa Rose van Bokhorst. Junior Chairs included Briana Lestage, Emily Mohr, Colgate Rumbough.

As is tradition, a Midnight Quadrille commenced as the clock struck midnight and all the attendees joined in on the famous dance. Around 1 a.m., the buffet was served, featuring traditional dishes such as German pretzel, goulash soup and spaetzle. More dancing followed till 4 a.m. with an amazing DJ.

The event hosted nearly 400 guests from Europe and America. Among the guest were Lucia Hwong Gordon, Sabine Ruglos, Michelle Herbert, Diandra Douglas, Star Jones, John Paulson and Nicole and Allen Salmassi and Stuart Sundlun. 

Jean Shafiroff
Jean Shafiroff

Photo Credit: Guillermo MOGOLLAN / MOGOLLAN EMPIRE

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