On February 10th, the 62nd Viennese Opera Ball in New York City was held at the Waldorf Astoria in the Grand Ballroom under the auspices of the U.S. Austrian Chamber of Commerce. The Ball, which is the oldest white tie charity gala in New York, celebrated the 150th anniversary of Austria’s unofficial national anthem, Johann Strauss’ Blue Danube Waltz and benefitted ‘Leonard Bernstein — A New Yorker in Vienna,’ a project of the Jewish Museum in cooperation with the U.S. Friends of the Jewish Museum of Vienna.
Led by Silvia Frieser – Executive Director, President and Co-Chair, Michael Pecnik, Co-Chair, Director and Treasurer, Eva Chickering – Director and Board Secretary, and Dr. Stefan Eder – Co-Chair with Artistic Director Daniel Serafin, 16 debutantes including Miss Kiera Rumbough from New York, Miss Marie-Sophie Höfer from Austria, Miss Zhiqiao Cui and Miss Emily Christina Mohr from China, and Miss Milana Guseinzade from Russia made their formal presentation to international society. They were accompanied by their white tie and tail clad escorts.
Nearly 500 guests including the Austrian Ambassador to the United States Wolfgang Waldner and the Former U.S. Ambassador to Austria H.E. Alexa L. Wesner attended along with Kiera Chaplin – Granddaughter of Charlie Chaplin, Former Today Show anchor Tamron Hall, Michelle Obama’s Hairstylist Johnny Wright, Jean Shafiroff, Gary Keszler, Carl and Renee Landegger, Ursula Stenzl, Dr. Christine Frissora, Harald & Inge Serafin, Guenther Greiner, Albert & Judy Kurpis, Irena Holiat, Jane Scher, and R. Couri Hay were also in attendance.
Following the receptions in the Louise XVI Suite and the Jade Salon headed to the Grand Ballroom where a horse and carriage brought International Committee Member Laine Siklos and her two children Henry Alex Siklos and Anabelle Gray Siklos to the ball and delivered them to their table. The Westpoint Cadet Color Guards then marched and rose their flags before the National Anthem’s to the United States and Austria were sung by attendees. The Debutantes and their Escorts then made their entrance led by Choreographer Heinz Heidenreich and performed the Opening ‘Polonaise’ Dance, before Mr. Serafin thanked the Debutantes, Escorts and attendees. A four-course dinner featuring Austrian specialties was served courtesy of Michelin Star Chef Wolfgang Ban and the raffle was announced with prizes including a bracelet by Frey Wille.
A series of operatic performances then began with La donna e mobile performed by Stephen Costello, Core’ n grato by Massimo Giordano, Quando me’n vo’ by Sarah Joy Miller, Summertime by Kristen Lewis, and Dein ist mein ganzes Herz by Stephen Costello before guests were led on a Midnight Quadrille by Choreographer Thomas Kraml. Guests then continued to dance through to the early hours of the morning before leaving the historic hotel as the sun began to rise.
The evenings Honorary Committee consists of Mr. Dieter Beintrexler and Mrs. Elisabeth Hirst von Neckersthal, The Honorable Renate Brauner, H.E. Thomas Drozda, Mr. Gerald Fiala, Mrs. Silvia Frieser, The Honorable Johann Gudenus, Dr. Sabine Haag, The Honorable Michael Häupl, The Honorable Georg Heindl & Mrs. Neline Heindl-Koornneef, Mr. Eric Hübscher, Dr. Johannes Hofer, The Honorable Irena M. Holiat, H.E. Sophie Karmasin, H.E. Jan Kickert and Mrs. Latica Tomasic-Kickert, Mag. Dr. Walter Koren, The Honorable Albert J. Kurpis and Mrs. Judy Kurpis, Dr. Andreas Mailath-Pokorny, Mr. Martin Mendelsohn, The Honorable Christine Moser, Professor Dr. Ewald Nowotny, Mr. Andreas Pawlitschek & Mrs. Brigitte Pawlitschek, Mr. Christian Pöttler and Mrs. Ursula Pöttler-Fellner, Ms. Renée Price, The Honorable Erwin Pröll, Dr. Danielle Spera, Ms. Martha Schultz, Mr. Max Strauss and Mrs. Sissy Strauss, H.R.H. Princess Marina Sturdza of Romania, H.E. Franz Vranitzky, H.E. Wolfgang A. Waldner & Mrs. Gudrun Faudon-Waldner, and H.E. Alexa L. Wesner and Mr. Blaine Wesner.