The Annual Viennese Opera Ball Graced New York City For 66th Year


Photo Credit: Stefan Joham

The Viennese Opera held its 66th ball on Friday, May 13th, at Cipriani 42nd Street. Considered the most prestigious and oldest Viennese ball outside of Vienna, the white-tie gala was welcomed to NYC. 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.

Jean Shafiroff and Silvia Frieser

Photo Credit: Michael Ostuni/PMC/PMC


After a more than two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, the crowd celebrated the collaborative relationship between Vienna and the United States. The evening theme was “A Night of Love,” with Royal Flowers donating 20,000 red roses to celebrate. Gala chairs this year were Jean Shafiroff and Denise Rich.

The 66th Viennese Opera Ball in New York City is an annual white tie charity gala event that aims to celebrate the long-standing cultural and economic relationships between Austria and America connecting these two countries in one glamorous night. The Ball was founded by Austrians immigrating to the United States 66 years ago and is a tribute to both their former hometown Vienna and their 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. proceeds from the event went towards the musical therapy program at Memorial Sloan Kettering, with a table set up to raise money for Ukrainian refugees.

Iurii Samoilov

Photo Credit: Michael Ostuni/PMC

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 04:00 am.

This year the Viennese opera ball was held at Cipriani’s 42 street. Twelve young women make their “debut” at this year’s ball, including a real-life archduchess who is descended from Austrian royalty. After the opening rituals including 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.

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. Top opera stars Carolina López Moreno, Iurii Samoilov, Johanna Will, Matthew White, and Donata D’Annunzio Lombardi all performed at the event; with one of the most notable performances being by Ukrainian opera singer Lurii Samoilov. Samoilov presented an emotional performance in honor of his home country Ukraine, as he sang a folk song to remind those present of the ongoing situation in the country. 

Photo Credit: Patrick McMullan

As is tradition, a Midnight Quadrille commenced as the clock struck 12:00 and all the attendees joined in on the famous dance. Around 01:00 am the buffet was served featuring traditional dishes such as German pretzel, goulash soup, and spaetzle. More dancing followed till 04:00 am with an amazing DJ.

The event hosted nearly 400 guests from Europe and America. Among the guest were Janna Bullock, Lucia Gordon, Nicole Salmasi, Jean Shaffirof, Lieba Nieses, Luiza Petre, Maribelle Lieberman, Peter thomas Roth, and Consuella Vanderbild Costin.