Local Customs

February 2016

Vienna Opera Ball

11.02.16
Opera House, Vienna

The Opera Ball, together with the New Year Concert, is one of the highlights of the Viennese carnival season.

The annual Wiener Opernball takes place in the grand auditorium of the Vienna State Opera House on the Thursday preceding Ash Wednesday. This glamorous occasion, first inaugurated in 1854, has its roots in the dance evenings held in Vienna's aristocratic palaces during the late 18th century.

With its dazzling mix of ballet, polonaise and waltz, the Opera Ball is redolent of the grandeur of the Hapsburg Empire. It has become one of the biggest, most romantic middle-European society events of the year, attended by an eclectic array of aristocrats, bourgeoisie and bohemians.

It is advisable to book early. Boxes, tables and spectator tickets must be bought in addition to admission tickets. The opening ceremony begins at 10pm with the entrance of the City's debutantes and their partners. The best vantage spot is from a box as table views are limited. Spectator and standing tickets are also available.

Dancing opens with a formal polonaise, a showcase for Austrian high society, and socialising continues until 5am. Expect the romantic waltzes of Johann Strauss, Joseph Lanner and Carl Michael Ziehrer, as well as some swing and foxtrot. If formal dancing is beyond you, the Opera Ball Disco in the basement may be a better option. 2016 date is provisional.

Dress Code

White tie and tails for men. Long evening dresses or floor-length ball gowns for women.

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