On Friday February 2nd, the Viennese Opera Ball held their 63rd edition in New York City at the Ziegfeld Ballroom under the gracious patronage of H.E. Alexander Van der Bellen, President of the Republic of Austria, and The Honorable Michael Häupl, Governor and Mayor of Vienna. The Ball, which is the oldest white tie charity gala in New York, benefitted the music therapy program at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center with support from Gabrielle’s Angel Foundation for Cancer Research.
Led by Silvia Frieser, President and Executive Director, and Daniel Serafin, Artistic Director, with the support of platinum sponsor Silhouette, an Austrian eyewear company, the ball celebrated 12 debutantes and their escorts including Archduchess Isabella von Habsburg of Austria, escorted by Daniel Bak, Eugenia Bullock of New York escorted by Ryan Thomas Roth, son of skin care mogul Peter Thomas Roth, Meredith Baker Schott of New York, escorted by Gerard William Ford III, grandson of Eileen Ford, as they made their formal debut to international society. Miss Bullock wore a Peter Thomas Roth tiara with diamonds from William Goldberg, and a custom gown by Nicole Miller, while Miss Schott wore a tiara by JFINE Diamonds and a gown by Maggie Norris, and Archduchess von Habsburg wore an heirloom gown and tiara.
The event hosted nearly 400 guests including Prince Dimitri of Yugoslavia, Peter Thomas Roth, CEO, Peter Thomas Roth Clinical Skin Care, Nicole Miller, Atıl Kutoğlu, The Official Fashion Designer of the 63rd Viennese Opera Ball, A.E. Köechert, the event’s fine jewelry sponsor, Orange Is the New Black’s Selenis Leyva, Nick Burch, son of Tory Burch, Emma Waldron, Miss Ireland 2010, Janna Bullock, Jean Shafiroff, Christine Schott, Laine Siklos and Emir Bahadir.
Following the VIP reception, guests headed to the Grand Ballroom where the West Point Cadet Color Guard marched and rose their flags before the National Anthems of the United States and Austria were sung by attendees. Mr. Serafin then welcomed and thanked the debutantes, escorts and guests, before ballet dancers entered and performed accompanied by the orchestra, Divertimento Viennese. René Pape, operatic Bass and two-time Grammy Award Winner, then performed Le veau d’or from Faust by Gounod. The Debutantes and Escorts then made their entrance, led by Choreographer Sandra Stockmayer, who also acts as choreographer for the Vienna Opera Ball and performed the Alles Waltzer before sitting down to enjoy a four-course dinner featuring Austrian specialties.
A series of performances from stars of the Metropolitan Opera included Luca Pisaroni’s rendition of Lolita, Ildar Abdrazakov performing Occhi di fata, George Gagnidze performing Nemico della patria and Angela Meade performing Io son l’umile anciella, before world-renowned conductor Marco Armiliato led the singers through a group performance of La di darem.
Guests were then guided through the Midnight Quadrille by Ms. Stockmayer, before continuing to dance into the early hours of the morning to music by Bellatonic, featuring award-winning saxophonist Brent Birckhead and DJ Christophe Lacroix, known for regular appearances at Zuma and Bagatelle in New York.
Event sponsor Tesla provided transportation to the red carpet and VIP reception for Guest of Honor René Pape, Selenis Leyva and Metropolitan opera singer Ildar Abdrazakov. The silent auction included pieces from fine jewelry sponsor A.E. Köechert, pieces from Aquazzura and artwork from Camillo Stepanek.
The evenings Honorary Committee consisted of Mr. Dieter Beintrexler & Mrs. Elisabeth Hirst von Neckersthal, The Honorable Helmut Boeck & Mrs. Barbara Boehm-Boeck, The Honorable Renate Brauner, Ms. Helene von Damm, The Honorable Thomas Drozda, Mr. Gerald Fiala, Mr. Michael Friedl & Mrs. Amel Derragui-Friedl, Mrs. Silvia Frieser, The Honorable Johann Gudenus, Dr. Sabine Haag, H.I.R.H. Archduke Géza von Habsburg & Archduchess Elizabeth von Habsburg, Dr. Johannes Hofer, The Honorable Irena M. Holiat, The Honorable Sophie Karmasin, H.E. Jan Kickert & Mrs. Latica Tomasic-Kickert, The Honorable Sebastian Kurz, Dr. Christine Moser, Prof. Dr. Ewald Nowotny, Mr. Michael Otter, Ms. Sandra Peterson, Dr. Andreas Mailath-Pokorny, Mr. Christian Pöttler & Mrs. Ursula Pöttler-Fellner, Ms. Renée Price, The Honorable Erwin Pröll, Ms. Denise Rich, Ms. Martha Schultz, Dr. Christian Strasser, Mr. Max & Mrs. Sissy Strauss, H.E. Franz Vranitzky, H.E. Wolfgang A. Waldner & Mrs. Gudrun Faudon-Waldner.
Since 1955, the Viennese Opera Ball in New York has been a representative of Vienna’s cultural legacy, elegance, and glamour in the Big Apple. The Ball operates as a cultural platform and builds bridges to connect present day New York City with 19th Century Vienna, and people of varying heritages, continents and generations, to bring traditional glamour to the city that never sleeps.