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Glamour, elegance, and tradition

Linda Fargo, James Aguiar
Midnight Quadrille at the 57th annual Viennese Opera Ball.
For decades, the much-anticipated Viennese Opera Ball charity gala has delivered glamour, elegance, and tradition along with a carriage-load of fun! This year, the 57th Consecutive annual Ball doubled the pleasure: not one horse-drawn carriage but TWO drove into the Waldorf’s Grand Ballroom. Also: not one fabulous soprano but two -- Dueling Divas -- competing to star in Mozart's opera, “The Impresario.”

The February 3rd white-tie gala at the Waldorf=Astoria was also awash with Diplomats, Dignitaries and 20 Snow-White-gowned debutantes. The co-hosts for the evening included the red-hot dance czars from ABC-TV's hit show “Dancing With The Stars": brothers Maksim and  Val Chmerkovskiy and their co-star from the dance show phenomenon, Tony Dovolani.
Linda Fargo, James Aguiar
2012 Viennese Opera Ball Debutantes and Escorts
For a great party you start with the basics: Peter Duchin and his Orchestra; Metropolitan Opera Artists like Cyndia Sieden and Amy Shoremount-Obra; a Color Guard from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point; a touch of the titles in the persons of Baroness Gabriela von Langendorff and Sheik Abdul Rahman Thuraya; the wines from the Royal Esterházy Estate Winery; and a great charity – for the 2nd year in a row -- Lauren Bush Lauren’s FEED Foundation, which is committed to helping ensure that people everywhere do not go hungry and have access to healthy nutritious food by working and supporting NGO partners around the world and in America. 

Waltzing next to Lauren Bush Lauren and her husband David Lauren were her Mother, Sharon Bush with Dr. Jeffrey Moses, who took several turns on the floor -- as did Ambassador Carl Spielvogel with wife and force-of-nature, Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel.
Linda Fargo, James Aguiar
West Point Cadet Color Guard
Making it a family affair, Ashley Bush joined Lili Thomas Buffett (grand-daughter in-law of Warren), whose sister, Lynn Thomas, was one of the Debutantes being presented.  Fresh from television appearances as a Project Runway” All-Star, Austin Scarlett created an original gown for his debutante, Jillian Hetsko inspired by Austria's beloved 19th century Empress Elisabeth

The emcee throughout the evening was Mike Woods of Fox 5's Good Day New York. And those of you who have been to the Ball in the past decade know it moves like an Austrian clock leaving no detail to chance, thanks to the Ball's creative Executive Director, Marcie Rudell. It has to -- the Ball's festivities continue until 4 in the morning and even at that hour it is packed with revelers.
Linda Fargo, James Aguiar
2012 Viennese Opera Ball Debutantes and Escorts
Linda Fargo, James Aguiar
Todd Wilander, tenor; Amy Shoremount-Obra; and Christopher Job, bass baritone, perform in "The Impressario"
We started out the story saying the Ball had doubled their fun, but actually in one case it tripled! Donald Trump’s Miss Universe Organization sent all three of its titleholders: the reigning Miss Universe, Leila Lopes, Miss USA Alyssa Campanella and Miss Teen USA Danielle Doty. It is rare indeed that these three beauties are ever in the same town at the same time, let alone at the same event.  The trio led the presentation of the 2012 Viennese Opera Ball Debutantes into the Ballroom.

If you missed the Ball, you can still help FEED Foundations important work. The Ball hosts an on-line auction at www.charitybuzz.com/Viennese2012 with a deluxe visit to the Esterházy Palace outside of Vienna, Yankee Game Day tickets for 4, plus many more things money can’t usually buy. 
Linda Fargo, James Aguiar
Leena and Dr. Mel Sturman
Linda Fargo, James Aguiar
Michelle and Dan Heidt
Linda Fargo, James Aguiar
Dancing stars Tony Dovolani, Val and Maksim Chmerkovskiy break the red carpet routine with reigning Miss Universe Leila Lopes
Linda Fargo, James Aguiar
Shermane Billingsley, daughter of Stork Club creator Sherman Billingsley
Linda Fargo, James Aguiar
Austrian Ambassador to the U.S. Hans Peter Manz and Vienna Vice Mayor and Vice Governor Renate Brauner
Linda Fargo, James Aguiar
Ambassador Carl and Mrs. Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel
Linda Fargo, James Aguiar
Katharina Manz with her father, Austria's Ambassador the U.S. Hans Peter Manz
Linda Fargo, James Aguiar
Jean McCabe and Joseph Missbrenner
Linda Fargo, James Aguiar
Tony and Lina Dovolani, Maksim Chmerkovskiy, Nicole Volynets, and Val Chmerkovskiy
Linda Fargo, James Aguiar
Mr. and Mrs. Siamak B. Samii, parents of VOB Debutante Leila Samii, with their daughter Safiyeh
Linda Fargo, James Aguiar
Sheikh Abdullah Rahman Thuraya and Baroness Gabriella von Langendorff
Linda Fargo, James Aguiar
Austrian UN Ambassador Martin Sajdik, Barbara Werewka and Austrian Counsel General Ernst-Peter Brezovsky
Linda Fargo, James Aguiar
Dr. Marijana Feder and Dr. Theodore Feder, President of the Artists Rights Group, parents of Viennese Opera Ball Debutante Katarina Feder
Linda Fargo, James Aguiar
Jane and John Sullivan
Linda Fargo, James Aguiar
William Kane; H.E. Mr. Nestor Osorio, U.N. Ambassador to Colombia; Mrs. Angela Kane, U.N. Under-Secretary General for Management; Ambassador Thomas Mayr-Harting, Head of the European Union Delegation to the UN; Elisabeth Mayr-Harting; H.E. Mr. Herman Schaper, U.N. Ambassador Netherlands
Linda Fargo, James Aguiar
Sharon Bush and Dr. Jeffrey Moses
Linda Fargo, James Aguiar
Tony Dovolani and Nicole Volynets
Linda Fargo, James Aguiar
Austin Scarlett and Viennese Opera Ball Debutante Jillian Hetsko
Linda Fargo, James Aguiar
Reigning Miss USA Alyssa Campanella, reigning Miss Teen USA Danielle Doty, reigning Miss Universe Leila Lopes
Linda Fargo, James Aguiar
FEED Foundation founder Lauren Bush Lauren
Linda Fargo, James Aguiar
Stephanie Nass and Harrison Monsky
Linda Fargo, James Aguiar
Nicole Volynets, Maksim Chmerkovskiy, Austrian Ambassador to the U.S. Hans Peter Manz and Vienna Vice Mayor and Vice Governor Renate Brauner, Val Chmerkovskiy, Lina Dovolani, and Tony Dovolani
Linda Fargo, James Aguiar
Austrian Counsel General Ernst-Peter Brezovsky and Barbara Werewka
This past Wednesday night a Cipriani Wall Street, AmFAR held its annual benefit black tie gala with Sarah Jessica Parker as host. Big turn out, big names: Woody Allen, Jennifer Hudson, Lindsay Lohan (uh-huh), Molly Sims, Stanley Tucci, Roberto Cavalli (who was being honored), Cindy Crawford, Elizabeth Hurley, Karolina Kurkova, Erin Heatherton, Heidi Klum.

Mr. Cavalli’s voice was a little on the scratchy side. “I will give my speech with this voice,” he told a reporter. “It’s more sexy.”

There was a video tribute to Elizabeth Taylor who was AmFar’s Founding International Chairman.
Cindy Crawford and Kenneth Cole
Dr. Mathilde Krim
Jennifer Hudson and Roberto Cavalli
Karolina Kurkova
Ilona Saic
Carol Alt
Caroline Gruosi-Scheufele
Lindsay Lohan
Heidi Klum and friends
Leila Lopes
Michelle Harper
Maggio Cipriani and friends
Shane Warne and Elizabeth Hurley
Sarah Jessica Parker
Joan Smalls
Janelle Monae
Lynn Collins
Hofit Golan and Michael Lillelund
Andrew Saffir and Daniel Benedict
Natalia Andrade and Chloe Bello
Julie Henderson
Erin Heatherton
Rose Byrne
Jessica White
Nicky Hilton
David Furnish
Erin Heatherton
Julianne Moore
Leigh Lezark
Carine Roitfeld
Padma Lakshmi
Fabiola Beracasa
Robert Konjic and Julia Restoin-Roitfeld
Leighton Meester
Kenneth Cole and Paula Zahn
?, Deborah Harry
Linda Evangelista and Stephen Gan
Rachel Roy
Elisa Sednaoui
Lorraine Schwartz
Allegra Carpenter
Liya Kebede
Felicity Blunt and Stanley Tucci
Denise Rich
On Saturday, February 4, Peter Brown, Yoko Ono Lennon and Craig and Deborah Cogut hosted an intimate reception and performance featuring young Israeli musicians from The Polyphony Ensemble performing alongside star mezzo-soprano Waltraud Meier and renowned-pianist Saleem Abboud-Ashkar.

The Polyphony Ensemble is an effort of the Polyphony Foundation, which seeks to create channels for dialogue between Arab and Jewish youth communities in Israel via music education and other innovative educational programs. It currently serves nearly 1,500 students and with the enormous success of the program, hopes to expand to include 3,000 students by 2015. Polyphony was founded in 2011 by Craig and Deborah Cogut; renowned concert violinist Nabeel Abboud-Ashkar and
Cher.
Linda Fargo, James Aguiar
14-year-old violinist Yamen Saadi acknowledges the audience's enthusiastic ovation
Linda Fargo, James Aguiar
Majd Machour of Nazareth and Uri Tibon of Tel Aviv play Mozart
Waltraud Meier treated guests to a stunning performance of the last three songs of Wagner's Wesendonck Lieder with Abboud-Ashkar on piano. Meier was recently
awarded the "Medal of the Palau de la Música de Valencia 2011" for her extraordinary artistic achievement, and is currently featured in the Metropolitan Opera's new production of Götterdämmerung directed by Robert Lepage.

From The Polyphony Ensemble, 14-year-old Yamen Saadi opened on violin playing a Hungarian Dance of Brahms arranged by Kreisler and accompanied on piano by Saleem Abboud-Ashkar. Polyphony's Majd Machour and Uri Tibon played a Mozart Four Hands Sonata, which was especially poignant since Machour hails from Nazareth and Tibon from Tel Aviv. Their collaboration epitomizes the way music has brought diverse Israeli communities together through music. The program closed with a riveting Mendelssohn's Piano Trio No. 1 played by brothers Nabeel and Saleem Abboud-Ashkar and Yutam Baruch.

More than 50 guests attended this special event held at the home of Polyphony Foundation co-founders, Craig and Deborah Cogut.
Linda Fargo, James Aguiar
Saleem Abboud Ashkar, Craig Cogut, Waltraud Meier, Deborah Cogut, and Nabeel Abboud Ashkar
Linda Fargo, James Aguiar
Yoko Ono, Peter Brown, Nabeel Abboud Ashkar, HRH Princess Firyal of Jordan, Gil Shiva, and Deborah Cogut
Linda Fargo, James Aguiar
Susan Calhoun Moss and Charlie Moss
Linda Fargo, James Aguiar
Imogen Lloyd Webber and Michael Kaplan
Linda Fargo, James Aguiar
Olivia Hoge and Eden Collinsworth
Linda Fargo, James Aguiar
Craig Cogut with Joan and George Hornig
Linda Fargo, James Aguiar
Nona Hendryx and Yoko Ono
Linda Fargo, James Aguiar
Majd Machour, Yamen Saadi, and Waltraud Meier
Linda Fargo, James Aguiar
Saleem Abboud Ashkar and Waltraud Meier
Linda Fargo, James Aguiar
Debbie Dunn and Martin Dunn
Linda Fargo, James Aguiar
Yoko Ono and Barry Tucker
Linda Fargo, James Aguiar
Nabeel Abboud Ashkar, Yoko Ono, and Peter Brown
Linda Fargo, James Aguiar
Graham Bowley, Vera Haller, and Chrystia Freeland
Linda Fargo, James Aguiar
Amy Lipton with Amir and Dafna Meitar-Nehmad
Also, this past Wednesday night at the Hammerstein Ballroom, they held the the Heart Truth’s Red Dress Collection 2012 fashion show. The annual event has been created to raise awareness about women and heart disease. The participants are a host of actresses, singers, celebrities, all turned out on the runway looking stunning in red.

Among those participating were Chaka Khan, LaLa Anthony, Vivica A. Fox, Phylicia Rashad, B. Smith, Aisha Taylor.

The Collection was created by Million Hearts, a U. S. Department of Health and Human Services initiative working to prevent one million heart attacks and strokes by 2017.  According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, heart disease is the number one killer of women in the United States, and for African-American women the risk of heart disease is especially great.

To learn more, click here.
Linda Fargo, James Aguiar
Bobbi Brown
Linda Fargo, James Aguiar
Chaka Khan
Linda Fargo, James Aguiar
Giselle Blondet
Linda Fargo, James Aguiar
Cindi Leive
Linda Fargo, James Aguiar
Patti Stanger, Marc Bouwer
Linda Fargo, James Aguiar
Rebecca Romijn
Linda Fargo, James Aguiar
Debbie Phelps, Michael Phelps
Linda Fargo, James Aguiar
Gloria Estefan
Linda Fargo, James Aguiar
LaLa Anthony
Linda Fargo, James Aguiar
Aisha Tyler
Linda Fargo, James Aguiar
Jeannette Torres-Alvarez
Linda Fargo, James Aguiar
Christie Brinkley, Elisabeth Rohm
Linda Fargo, James Aguiar
Jenna Elfman
Linda Fargo, James Aguiar
Jennifer Nettles
Linda Fargo, James Aguiar
Philip Bloch
Linda Fargo, James Aguiar
Minka Kelly
Linda Fargo, James Aguiar
Linda Evans
Linda Fargo, James Aguiar
Rose McGowan
Linda Fargo, James Aguiar

Photographs by Annie Watt.com (Polyphony); PatrickMcMullan.com (Amfar, Heart Truth).
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