BRATISLAVA’S traditional ball held in the Slovak National Theatre’s opera house opened the season of balls, masquerades and ballroom dancing. US musician Suzanne Vega was selected to open the 24th edition, which took place on January 11, for which she struck the ceremonial gong.

The ball is a charity event, with the proceeds supporting premature babies treated at six perinatology centres around the country.

Vega said, as quoted by the TASR newswire, that there can be no better cause to participate in than a charity that helps children. She returned to Slovakia after 16 years to perform popular hits like Luka, Marleen on the Wall and Solitude Standing.

Unlike previous opening ceremonies, this one tied classical ballet with operatic arias sung by renowned artists, Ľubica Vargicová and Tomáš Juhás. Other musicians who performed were Czechs Boom!Band Orchestra and Marie Rottrová, and Slovaks Nela Pocisková, Marián Čekovský and Cigánski Diabli.

Another ball taking place in Bratislava is the Bratislavský Bál on February 22, as well as a host of smaller, specialised balls.