Benefits Music Therapy Program at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, with The Support From Gabrielle’s Angel Foundation For Cancer ResearchJean Shafiroff, Denise Rich, and Elisabeth Muhr chaired the 65th Viennese Opera Ball at Cipriani 42nd Street, New York City, under the patronage of The President of the Republic of Austria, H.E. Alexander Van der Bellen. Actor Nathan Lee Graham emceed the Ball, celebrating the cultural and economic relationships between Austria and America, connecting two continents, two cities and two centuries in one glamorous evening.
“There is nothing like this in America with pageantry that could only come from the Habsburg Royal Houses” said President and Executive Director Silvia Frieser, “Just as in Europe, the celebration began with our Debutantes, wearing beautiful tiaras donated by Austrian jewelry company Ciro and white gowns, dancing the Polonaise and Alles Walzer with their partners in white tie.” Artistic Director Daniel Serafin presented an operatic concert with Ewa Płonka, Limmie Pulliam, Michael Spyres and Corinne Winters performing alongside a full orchestra conducted by Matthias Fletzberger. At Midnight, a Quadrille that enlivened the dance floor until 4am.
The Viennese Opera Ball proudly supports charitable projects of New York and Vienna. This year, appropriately benefiting the musical therapy program at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center through Denise Rich’s Gabrielle’s Angel Foundation for Cancer Research. While the Viennese Opera Ball is inspired by the famous Vienna Opera Ball in Austria, it is older and its own American 501 (c)(3) not for profit foundation, held under the auspices of the U.S. Austrian Chamber of Commerce.
The Honorary Gala Chair was The Honorable Michael Ludwig, Governor and Mayor of Vienna. Notable guests included Host Committee members Janna Bullock, Joanna Fisher, Ana Saucedo, Randi Schatz, and Marisa Rose Van Bokhorst, Honorary Guests Florence Hvorostovsky and Ann Ziff, Junior Chairs Emily Mohr and Colgate Rumbough, Junior Vice Chair Briana Lestage, as well as Star Jones, Ricardo Lugo, John Paulson, Karlheinz Muhr, Martin Shafiroff and Stifel Investment Services, Hikmet Ersek (CEO of Western Union), Actress Samantha Mathis, Lukas Barwinski-Brown (CEO, Lang Lang International Music Foundation), Trisha Willis, John Willis, Diandra Douglas, Sandra Stockmayer (Viennese dancing school Svabek), Agnieszka and Witold Balaban, and U.S. Military Academy West Point Cadets who marched in with flags representing America, Austria, and the European Union before singing the three respective anthems.
Sponsors included The City of Vienna, Royal Flowers, A.E. Koechert, Aida, as well as a selection of donated Austrian wines and spirits by Schlumberger, Sonor Wines, Esterhazy, Rick Ginand Manufaktur Mueller, and Hallstein Water. The debutantes wore beautiful donated tiaras by Austrian jewelry company Ciro, and were exclusively styled, together with the opera singers, by The Salon at BG.
About Gabrielle’s Angel Foundation for Cancer Research
Gabrielle’s Angel Foundation for Cancer Research was created in 1996, when Grammy-nominated songwriter and philanthropist Denise Rich lost her daughter Gabrielle, a vibrant 27-year-old actress and Hodgkin’s lymphoma survivor, to acute myelogenous leukemia. Gabrielle’s mother and sisters, Daniella Rich Kilstock and Ilona Rich Schachter, believed the best way to honour Gabrielle’s memory was to create a Foundation that would fund the best and brightest scientific researchers with the hope that less toxic treatments, and ultimately a cure, might be discovered.
About Viennese Opera Ball
The Viennese Opera Ball, an annual white-tie charity gala celebrates the cultural and economic relationships between Austria and America, connecting two continents, two cities and two centuries in one glamorous night. It was founded by Austrians immigrating to the United States 65 years ago, and is a tribute to both their former home town Vienna and their host city, New York.
Considered the most prestigious and oldest Viennese ball outside of Vienna, the gala draws an international audience that includes diplomats and dignitaries, international corporations and professionals. Performances by Metropolitan opera singers, the Viennese Opera Ball orchestra, ballet performances, the West Point color guard, midnight Quadrille and many more surprises contribute to a glamorous and delightful night. For more information, please visit: vienneseoperaball.com.
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