The Opera Ball…does it get more Viennese than that? Today – the Thursday before Ash Wednesday – thousands of roses will be trucked in, a dance floor will be laid over the opera seats, and gowns and tails will swirl and twirl into the wee hours of the morning.
This is definitely the Ball of Balls – and probably one of the most magical nights I’ve been lucky enough to attend. It’s everything you think a Ball would be – lights, debutantes, flowers, champagne, waltzes, sparkles…Plus a few things you didn’t expect, like the organized chaos of the Midnight Quadrille, and the fact that the refueling snack of choice are two viennese weiners served with mustard and horseradish, eaten with your hands in white tie attire.
The transformation of the Opera House is amazing, the year we went the wall and statues were covered with thousands, if not tens of thousands, red and pink roses. I’ve put my photos in black and white since the colors, as I remember them, were so vivid, that my little camera, tucked into the pocket of my Oscar de la Renta dress, second in my heart only to my wedding dress, doesn’t do them nearly enough justice. There is nothing like hearing the official ball opening, Alles Walzer!, and hear a full orchestra lay it in with the Blue Danube, and there is nothing like hearing thousands of guests jump in unison at the end of the Quadrille (see the video at the bottom!). Our waltzing skills weren’t much but we did brave the dance floor and stayed until the wee hours of four or five in the morning. Those in the know wrap up with breakfast in their finery at the Hotel Sacher, but we trudged home enjoying the box of fresh krapfen and the morning papers featuring all of the Opera Ball photos that they hand you on your way out the door…I’ll be doing a little waltz in my kitchen tonight and hoping I get to, one day, get the chance to go again….
|On the outside looking in…|
|An interview with Austrian glitterati…|
|Entry on the Grand Staircase…|
|The opera stage turned dance floor…|
|Entering the Ball…|
|Japanese paper fans in the Champagne Bar…|
|And official sponsor…mmmm…|
|Luck be a lady tonight…|
|Observing the Quadrille from the rafters…|
|The full Quadrille few, all guests welcome…|
|Among the action…|
|All opera boxes were turned into table seating areas…|
|Entry of the debutantes…|
|Roses, roses, roses…|
|The Presidential Box…yes, he waltzes…|
And for those who know that photographs can’t capture everything, a little video of the Quadrille:
Photos by The New Diplomat’s Wife.