Viennese Opera Ball in New York
The Viennese Opera Ball in New York is an annual charity gala held annually under the auspices of the United States-Austrian Chamber of Commerce.
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: a Jazz Band, Dance Band, DJ, Vienna Coffee House with Viennese pastries, and Casino.
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 25) and their dance Escorts (ages 18–30). A choreographed waltz routine by young ballroom dance couples (ages 18–30) is followed by a call for "Alles Walzer!" (Everyone Dance!) and guests join the dancers for the first official waltz of the Ball. Peter Duchin and his Orchestra play continuous dance music throughout the Ball, stopping only for Program highlights or performances by the featured Opera singers.
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.
The ball normally takes place in late January or early February at the The Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in Manhattan. It is considered one of the few 'white-tie' Balls still in existence, i.e. the gentlemen come attired in white tie and tailcoats with decorations and the ladies wear long floor-length ball gowns and opera gloves.
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.
Each year there is a different theme, most recently: 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