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Opera Ball in Vienna: Happy Richard Lugner dances with Priscilla Presley

Photo: Eva Manhart / dpa

First for 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 her host Richard "Mörtel" Lugner: That's how Priscilla Presley's visit to the Vienna Opera Ball went.

»So beautiful here, somehow so emotional. We certainly don't have anything like that 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 beamed.

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 we still need the Opera Ball? Yes, of course you need it, because you need beautiful things.«

Most expensive box for 24,500 euros

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 around to it.”

Pocher had his ex-wife Sandy Meyer-Wölden by his side. The two were very amicable. 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.

In the neighboring box of building contractor Lugner, 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’s so strong,” said the entrepreneur, enthusiastic about the American. It was a short night for Presley. Similar to Pocher, she had to catch the plane to the USA at around 7 a.m.