First for a small talk with Austria’s Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen in his box, then straight to the stage of the State Opera to dance with their host Richard “Mörtel” Lugner. For Priscilla Presley, attending the Vienna Opera Ball became contact with a distant world. “So beautiful here, somehow so emotional. We certainly don’t have anything like it in Los Angeles,” said the widow of rock’n’roll legend Elvis on ORF. At the end of the evening, the 78-year-old took a few slow laps with Lugner to the Sinatra evergreen “Strangers in the Night” in the photographers’ flashlights. The 91-year-old Lugner was beaming from ear to ear.
In a world in crisis, the 66th Vienna Opera Ball signaled once again: There is still the traditional and festive, the celebration of the rich and beautiful and those who consider themselves to be, and against this only a few demonstrators from the Communist Youth in front of the doors are peaceful protested. “It’s nice that this ball exists, especially now in difficult times. You have to concentrate on the beautiful in order to multiply the beautiful,” said fashion designer and Opera Ball regular Harald Glööckler on television. “The question is always: Do you still need the Opera Ball? Yes, of course you need it, because you need beautiful things.”
Vienna Opera Ball: Heino is reminiscent of Hannelore
This time the festival opened with, among other things, opera arias sung by the Latvian star mezzo-soprano Elina Garanca. The 5,150 guests, who paid 385 euros for an entry ticket and 24,500 euros for the most expensive box, listened reverently and were thrilled. Among the visitors were folk musician Heino and comedian Oliver Pocher as a guest of the entrepreneur Markus Deussl, who also invited the Italian cinema star Franco Nero (“Django”) to his box. The invitation to Heino was intended to be a distraction from the loss of his wife Hannelore, who died three months ago.
“Hannelore would be happy to see me here now. She would never have forbidden me. That’s why I went here with a good feeling,” said Heino on ORF. But the 85-year-old didn’t want to dance. He is one of the worst dancers. “I never danced because I always played music. I never got into it.”
Pocher had his ex-wife Sandy Meyer-Wölden by his side. The two were very amicable. Pocher, usually never at a loss for a bold saying, was extremely tame. Everything is wonderful. “No incidents, everyone is thrilled with me.” The comedian struggled with a very thick voice, especially before a very special trip: an appearance at the Hard Rock Café in Las Vegas was planned just 24 hours after the Opera Ball. “Today the Opera Ball, tomorrow Las Vegas, that’s how crazy my life is,” said the 45-year-old.
In Lugner’s neighboring box, top male model Papis Loveday attracted a lot of attention. The 47-year-old from Senegal wore an extremely eye-catching headdress that was reminiscent of a jeweled carnival mask.
From Lugner’s point of view, who has been inviting prominent guests to his box for an unknown sum for more than 30 years, Priscilla Presley was a direct hit. “A dream woman. She is so strong,” said the entrepreneur enthusiastically about the American, who, despite her rather reserved, almost frozen facial expressions, was able to radiate charm. It was a short night for Priscilla Presley. Similar to Pocher, she had to catch the plane to the USA at around 7 a.m. on Friday.