The Viennese Opera Ball is a nonprofit association under Section 501(c)(3). Each year, it supports charitable projects that are connected to communities in New York or Vienna.

The proceeds of the 62nd Viennese Opera Ball benefit
a project of the Jewish Museum in cooperation with
the U.S. Friends of the Jewish Museum of Vienna.

Leonard Bernstein – A New Yorker in Vienna

On August 25, 2018, Leonard Bernstein would have been 100 years old. To mark this anniversary, the Jewish Museum Vienna is organizing an exhibition dedicated to this great New York artist in his Viennese world. Although he appeared at the Volksoper in the 1950s with Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess and as the composer of Wonderful Town, it was his work with the Vienna State Opera and the Vienna Philharmonic that made him a favorite. His Falstaff premiere in 1966 was followed by an hour and a half of applause, and people started to talk of a Bernstein wave. He wrote to his parents, twenty years after the end of World War II: ““I am enjoying Vienna enormously—as much as a Jew can … What they call ‘the Bernstein wave’ that has swept Vienna has produced some strange results, all of a sudden it’s fashionable to be Jewish…”

Bernstein went on the offensive during his Vienna years, acquiring a Trachtenjanker (typical Austrian jacket) as an “antidote to German nationalism,” bringing Gustav Mahler back to Vienna, and even interfering with Austrian domestic politics—not always successfully. He failed in his attempt to bring Federal Chancellor Bruno Kreisky and his former crown prince Finance Minister Hannes Androsch together for a reconciliatory dinner on the occasion of a Jewish High Holiday. The two politicians, who were each unaware that the other had been invited, were still unwilling to talk to one other.

The exhibition will look at the phenomenon of Bernstein, who uniquely managed to communicate classical music in both the USA and Europe to all classes of society, exploring sensory and musical aspects as well as notions of identity. It will show how Bernstein restored to the Viennese, as Michael Steinberg puts it, “the aura of a vanished past” characterized by “cosmopolitanism and sensuousness, humor and passion.”

Past beneficiaries include:

2016               The Ronald McDonald House
2015               AIMS (American Institute of Musical Studies)
2014               Carnegie Hall
2013               Carnegie Hall
2012               FEED Foundation
2011                FEED Foundation
2010               UN Foundation
2009               SOS Children’s Villages
2008               CARE
2007               SOS Children’s Villages
2006               Special Olympics
2005               Special Olympics
2004               Central Park Conservancy
2003               Tri-lateral Cultural Alliance
2002               Tri-lateral Cultural Alliance  – Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna,
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York 
State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg