Updated March 1, 2019, at 06:53
This rarely happens in the Vienna Opera Ball: there were no scandals, accidents or excitement. But Lugner's "mortar" of his guest star went into ecstasy and a former chancellor dared a bit of dance early.
It is 11:37 pm when Richard "Mörtel" Lugner goes to the dance floor. He was not a good dancer, had two left feet and had announced the former master in the days leading up to the Vienna Opera Ball. And her invited star, the Australian model Elle Macpherson (54), did not really want to dance with him for fear of embarrassing the generous host.
But this year, the mood between Lugner and his guest was as harmonious as on Thursday until the dance floor was rocked. At least for a minute.
Lugner praises Macpherson
"She is a dream woman, she is beautiful, nice and punctual," Lugner said on the night of the ball on the model known as "The Body."
Macpherson, for his part, was very excited about the event itself. "What I liked most were the debut couples who danced the first waltz," Macpherson said. With the debutants in her white dresses and her Tiaren designed by Donatella Versace, she posed diligently for the photographers in the aisles in front of the boxes.
The great harmony between Lugner and O Corpo was a symbol of the whole ball, because the social spectacle was free of scandals, accidents or infestations. Therefore, some political messages were the focus of attention. The Austrian head of state, Alexander Van der Bellen, received the half-sister of former US President Barack Obama, Auma Obama.
Federal President's Political Message
The two met in the afternoon at the Hofburg in Vienna. Van der Bellen emphasized that he wanted to set the example by inviting the Kenyan to put the relationship with Africa on a new level.
Obama is involved with his Sauti Kuu foundation ("strong voice") for young people in Africa. "We have to do a bit more to understand what is happening in Africa," Van der Bellen said at night. "Mrs. Obama is doing exemplary work, especially in the youth field."
Viennese artist Tom Neuwirth (30), also known as Conchita, used the operatic ball to promote the upcoming EU election. "There are no excuses," Conchita said, urging voters to use their democratic rights.
Conchita was a guest in the box of the Austrian Minister of Justice, Josef Moser (ÖVP) and attracted – as on the weekend at the Grazer Tuntenball – with a bald head many points of view.
Sebastian Kurz next to DJ Ötzi
In addition, the ball was very political this year, at least with regard to the guest list. Austrian federal chancellor Sebastian Kurz (ÖVP) managed to gather almost all his mini-artists alongside DJ Ötzi (48), model Barbara Meier (32) and soprano Anna Netrebko.
Netrebko opened the operatic dance with her husband Yusif Eyvazov (41). The two sang together "O soave fanciulla" from "La Bohème" by Giacomo Puccini. Eyvazov also impressed audiences with his performance of "Nessun Dorma" from the opera "Turandot", also by Giacomo Puccini. Netrebko was very excited before his performance. "When it's over, I'm very happy," she told the Austrian news agency APA.
Chancellor Kurz was very impressed. "It was a great opening," he told the APA. In particular, he was delighted with Anna Netrebko, his partner Susanne Thier and their guests. Kurz had summoned the head of the Northern Macedonian government, Zoran Zaev, to the ball.
Gerhard Schröder dared to dance
After the opening dance of the 144 debutant couples, more than 5,000 guests danced. On the dance floor can also be discovered former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder (SPD), who was guest of the oil company OMV. He asked his wife Soyeon Kim for a dance earlier in the evening and rocked the dance floor with her.
It was not Schröder's first visit to the opera ball. In 1996, he was invited to Vienna by the then head of Volkswagen, Ferdinand Piëch. The then prime minister of Lower Saxony contributed many problems at home. Since Schröder now does not have a political position, but it is unlikely that a storm can stay away this time.
Then the Opera Ball 2019 is also in the sign of harmony. (Am / DPA)
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