AMERICAN singer Gloria Gaynor opened the Ninth Annual Ball in Bratislava’s Opera House by striking a festive gong on the evening of Saturday, January 10. More than 600 guests attended the event in the historical building, the TASR newswire wrote, while 140 cooks, waiters and bartenders served them. Almost 100 artists performed on the night. Among the musicians and dancers were Gaynor, the main star of the evening, Mário Radačovský, the head of the Slovak National Theatre’s (SND) ballet section, singer Beata Dubasová, the group Vidiek, and foreign guests such as Boney M.
“The Opera Ball opens the ball season … and I expect it to have a unique atmosphere this year as well,” Silvia Hroncová, the general director of the SND, said while welcoming guests at the beginning of the evening. The programme then began on the dance floor. The aria The Queen of the Night, from Mozart’s Magic Flute, was sung by soprano Martina Masaryková. Katarína Kaanová and Radačovský danced the duet Meeting the Swan from the ballet Swan Lake.
After midnight the night belonged to Gaynor, an American disco star in the 1970s, whose music was listened to - and danced to – by all the guests. Gaynor performed her most famous hits, including Never Can Say Goodbye, I Will Survive, Let Me Know and I Am What I Am.
There was much to be admired at the ball, from the ladies’ ball dresses, to the individual rooms’ decorations, and all the services on the night, including emergency medical cover provided by a senior hospital doctor, Juraj Pechan.
“By coincidence, I have been the ball’s doctor since the first year, thanks to me being friends with some of the organisers; and I can tell that they have been extraordinarily peaceful. I had no patients at this ball,” Pechan told TASR.
During each ball, there are normally two or three patients, but nothing serious has ever occurred. From broken heels among the ladies, to slipped discs, burns and glass cuts among the staff. On one or two occasions there has been a twisted ankle.
The idea of organising a ball at the Opera House came from PR manager Andrea Cocherová.
“I feel exceptionally good here, every year. I confess that for me, it is a great pleasure; that the work behind this event has brought these fruits and a wonderful result,” she told TASR.
Radačovský also found time to have fun during the night.
“I am having a great time, of course – it is easy; we had a great success, I was happy," TASR quoted Radačovský.
"The ball’s audience is quite different from the audience that comes to our theatre. I was positively shocked what a big success we had, so it was easier then to have fun.“
The director of the whole evening was Slovak choreographer Ján Ďurovčík, whose nerves were on edge as he watched all the performances.
“This requires strong nerves, as it has lasted a very long time," he said.
"Since seven o’clock, when people came, until three, and the last waltz, there have been several dozen performers in different categories, genres and types – so many things can go wrong, from the lighting of the theatre, to live statues, to the shining fountain, to Gloria Gaynor.”
19. Jan 2009 at 0:00 | Compiled by Michaela Stankoá from press reports