It is generally considered that the best balls in Vienna usually take place in January and February (during the Carnival Season). These are elegant events with live classical and contemporary music which normally require adherence to a strict dress code; usually floor length evening ball gowns for the ladies and tuxedos, tailcoats or uniform for men. (For some the dress code reflects a theme). Tickets tend to go on sale close to the event date and sell very quickly.
Many of the best balls are organised by professional guilds and associations e.g.
Confectioners’ Ball (11th January 2018), Zuckerbaeckerball website
Ball of The Coffee House Owners (18th January 2018) Kaffeesiederball website
Techniker Cercle Ball (20th January 2018 in Musikverein) Techniker Cercle website
Vienna Medical Doctor’s Ball (27th January 2018) www.aerzteball.at
Ball of the Viennese Industry (3rd February 2018) Hofburg ball website
Ball of Legal Professionals (10th February 2018) Juristenball website
The “New Year Concert” performed by the Vienna Philharmonic takes place each year on New Year’s morning and is probably the most important international program of Johann Strauss’ family and its contemporaries. With an audience of over 50 million people from around 90 countries the concert takes place in Musikverein, Vienna. In fact, these concerts are so popular worldwide that tickets are drawn by lot entered almost a year in advance. The concerts are available shortly afterwards on CD and DVD – we highly recommend these if you enjoy this kind of music. (The DVDs also include a recording of the fantastic dancing displayed).
The Vienna Philharmonic Ball (18th January 2018) is also held in Musikverein with music performed by the Vienna Philharmonic and hence a fantastic classical ball experience. wienerphilharmoniker ball website
The Vienna Opera Ball (8th February 2018) is the most famous of these events, with an attendance of around 5,000 it is held in the auditorium of the Vienna State Opera (converted for this event into a large ballroom – rows of seats are removed from the stalls and a new floor is built level with the stage). The grand opening ceremony, watched by millions of TV viewers, includes the introduction of @ 150 debutante couples whose last dance is always a Viennese waltz to the Blue Danube, after which the floor is opened to everyone until 6am. With stars from opera and ballet (including Vienna State Ballet) and orchestras of Wiener Staatsoper contributing to the opening this is a truly remarkable event. Vienna Opera Ball website
The Rudolfina Redoute (Masked Ball) (12th February 2018) normally signals that the Viennese Carnival season is coming to a close. There is a long tradition still upheld that all ladies (whether they have a partner or not) must wear a mask (covering the eyes in the style of the famous operetta “Die Fledermaus”) until midnight – up to this time in the night it’s “Ladies’ Choice”. When the midnight Quadrille is danced, ladies remove their masks and dancing continues till 5am, with both ladies and gentlemen inviting each other to dance. Rudolfina Redoute website
The Elmayer-Kränzchen (13th February 2018) is held at the Imperial Castle by the Elmayer Dance School. The school organises the introduction of debutantes at many of the ball opening ceremonies including the Vienna Philharmonic Ball discussed above. Their own event, which traditionally takes place on the last day of the ball season (Mardi gras) is attended by around 3000 guests and starts and finishes earlier than other balls. It includes the introduction of around 400 debutants and a dance show. Elmayer Kraenzchen website
There are literally hundreds of balls held in Vienna over this season but, if you can’t manage to visit Vienna during the Carnival Season, there are other grand Viennese Balls held later in the year such as the Concordia Ball (8th June 2018). Concordiaball website
and the Fête Impériale (29th June 2018) Fete imperiale website