The Viennese Opera Ball has taken place in New York since 1955. The Plaza Hotel hosted the grand charity event for the first time, and the atmosphere for the Cocktail Reception was absolutely stunning! Every guest was dressed beautifully in classy gloves, headpieces, and jewelry. The woman elegantly wore long sparkly gowns and the men wore classy tuxedos, as they escorted their dates. The evening started on the second floor of The Plaza. and featured beautifully engraved golden frames on the ceilings, timeless hanging chandeliers, exquisite artistic murals, and even a white wall fountain.
Guests mingled and took photographs in front of the carpet’s background, as the dresses and jewelry dazzled even more under the lights and the camera’s flash. On the red carpet, American-born, Austrian Singer-Songwriter, Philanthropist, and Political Fundraiser, Denise Rich explains passionately, what keeps her going, pertaining to the Annual Ball. She says, “My daughter, who’s up there, Gabrielle, because she said, ‘if I live, it’s gonna be my life’s work.’ So she said, ‘Promise me, that you’ll do it.’ I was like ‘Oh gosh, the world doesn’t need another foundation.’ She said, ‘Mama I’ll help you from the other side,’ and she has helped me from the other side. We’ve grown so much.”
After the Cocktail Reception concluded, an announcement was made for the guests to please continue their evening upstairs in The Plaza’s ballroom. The grand ballroom was beautifully covered in gold and powder-pink hues. The orange and fuchsia roses were the gorgeous centerpieces, created by the talented Sahola Flowers team. The golden chairs and plate chargers perfectly and glamorously matched the continued golden engravings and chandeliers in the ballroom, which overlooked 400 guests. The Debutants and their dates were standing gracefully in formation, waiting for their grand entrance and dance, as the guests were getting seating. The atmosphere transported us back in time to Vienna, as the dancers floated in glamorous dresses and luxurious gloves, as they swung their fans alongside their dancing partners.
The timeless and elegant evening was organized by the “U.S. Austrian Chamber of Commerce and Executive Director, Silvia Frieser, and The Event Atelier. The Gala chairs for the evening were philanthropist Jean Shafiroff, who was also honored, and Denise Rich. This gala benefitted Gabrielle’s Angel Foundation for Cancer Research and was “A Night inspired by ‘Carmen’”, from the opera Carmen by Bizet led under the artistic direction of Daniel Serafin with Austrian conductor, Maestro Vinicius Kattah.”
“The vice chairs were Sylvia Hemingway and Peter Thomas Roth. Top opera stars performed arias from the opera Carmen by Bizet including Stephen Costello who sings in leading roles at the Metropolitan Opera and George Gagnidze, both in leading roles at the Metropolitan Opera, internationally accomplished opera singers Joyce El-Khoury (Soprano), Nathalie Peña Comas (Soprano) and opera star George Gagnidze, who attended as an Honorary guest.”