Try to visit Vienna for the Vienna Opera Ball

About Culture & History

It’s enough to make your head spin and spin and spin. In the city of music and romance, the ball of all annual balls, the Vienna Opera Ball, sparkles with chandeliers, music, celebrities, politicians, and beautiful dancers, transforming the Vienna State Opera into the world’s most shining example of life as art.

The waltz twirls to life when the State Opera orchestra strikes its first chord and 180 white-gloved debutante couples execute a perfect quadrille across the 160-foot ballroom floor. Cinderella fantasies become reality when the words Alles Walzer beckon 5,000 paying guests, dressed in long gowns and white ties, to begin whirling in three-quarter time.

Though the waltz is the ball’s raison d’être, various floors of the Opera pulsate with live disco, jazz, and country music. Roulette wheels roll in the casino. Champagne, wine, and buffets serving international cuisine nourish the dancers.

On the main floor, two orchestras alternate all evening. One plays waltzes and polkas, the other swing music. The evening concludes at 5 a.m., when the orchestra plays Strauss’ “Blue Danube” and 20,000 pink carnations rain slowly on the remaining couples. Party survivors welcome the day with a traditional breakfast of goulash at nearby restaurants.

The ball season in Vienna begins in November, followed by a cluster of events during the weeks before Ash Wednesday that includes The Magician’s Ball, Bonbon Ball, and Ball of the Viennese Coffee House Owners. Of the 300 or so balls, though, the only rival to the Opera Ball is the Imperial Ball on New Year’s Eve.

Set in the heart of Europe, the Austrian capital (with about 2 million residents) entices visitors with world-famous pastries, Bohemian cuisine, palatial buildings, century-old coffeehouses, and new restaurants. This imperial city is a world center of culture, art, and politics, but it’s the Opera Ball, with its magical pomp and circumstance, that compels lovers of class and culture to return year after year.

For a complete package, call Diane Ross at (813) 972-3400