FAJO Magazine breaks down its coverage into two main sections – take a look at what happened at the ball this year!
Before the big night
By Katherine Ellis
Photography by James Park
The Viennese Opera Ball hosted its first-ever trunk show in the event’s 16-year-history on Sunday, Dec.18, 2011 at the Fred Astaire Studio in Ottawa. Fifteen debutantes explored the different options provided by McCaffrey Haute Couture, Mia Bridal Co. and Dominique Levesque Bridal.
The dresses, ranging from $200 to $800, were long and white, but did not have trains nor did they limit the debutantes’ movements. Details included simple folds and pleats in the lace and/or silk dresses, and hints of sparkle in bustles and corsets. Sterling silver and Swarovski crystals adorned the jewelry from Young Design Bridal Collection, found exclusively at McCaffrey Haute Couture on display at the event.
A representative from E.R. Fisher showcased the different types of tuxedos available in a pamphlet for the 15 male escorts, ranging from $99 to $150, and discussed cufflinks, cummerbund, shirt, and pants and blazers.
The ball: an enchanted evening
By Sarah Dion-Marquis
Photography by Maximillian Engel
The Viennese Opera Ball dazzled its guests with incredible music, a menu that stayed true to Viennese cuisine and a night filled with dancing – all with a Canadian twist.
The Ambassador of Austria, Werner Brandstetter, gathered an impressive crowd for the 16th annual ball on Feb.4, 2012, with a guest list that included Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin, Ottawa socialite Mimi Surada and Chief of Defence Staff General Walter Natynczyk, as well as fellow ambassadors.
“Natynczyk was at my residence about half an hour ago,” said Brandstetter as the guests were arriving into the Great Hall of the National Gallery of Canada. ”He seems to like Austria and he likes to dance!” he added. ”It’s going to be a good evening.”
Another high-profile guest was former ballet dancer Veronica Tennant, who wore an immaculate Rosemarie Umetsu dress. Tennant said it was her first time at the ball, and would ”certainly not [be] the last.”
The Viennese Ball began with a trumpet fanfare call to dinner, featuring two children from the National Capital region. For the rest of the evening, the Thirteen Strings Chamber Orchestra delighted guests with Viennese music.
The highlight of the evening was the traditional demonstration of the Polonaise by the Debutantes and Cavaliers. Thirty young dancers from nine different schools had been practicing for months, selecting dresses and tuxes, and perfecting their footwork. They also performed a new choreography to Johann Strauss’s Wine, Women and Song. Guests were then treated to a performance by dancers Dan Labelle and Elizabeth Manley who did a reprisal of their 2011 winning performance from the Dancing with the Stars competition. Mezzo-soprano Arminè Kassabian and tenor David Lafleur also performed duets from Verdi’s La Traviata and Johann Strauss’s Wiener Blut.
The dinner was a celebration of Viennese food and wine, according to the master of ceremony, former CBC radio host Rob Clipperton.
The Debutantes and Cavaliers made a final appearance at 11 p.m. to perform Wein, Weib und Gesang by Strauss. A live auction to raise funds for local charities also took place at the event.