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On 25th February 2012 the 63rd Opera Ball was held, which belongs to the top events of the Central European social season and the witness of which for the ninth time in a row was the Prague State Opera, which ensured refinement, elegance and style that indeed appertain to such event of the year.
The Ball visitors had a unique possibility to touch their dreams and to enjoy the gentle beauty of such extraordinary event, to enter the world where a completely unique experience plays the main role. As this year’s topic the Opera Ball chose the period of Rudolph II. A period, which became known for the development of science, education and creativity. A magical period shrouded in some mystery and alchemical deeds. A period of thirst for the revelation of unknown worlds, a period of art and science, a period, which for the first time ever brought Prague among the metropolises with a European significance. The year 2012 will celebrate 400 years from Rudolph II’s death. We recalled his significance at the Opera Ball.
Rudolph II was a great promoter of natural sciences and alchemy and liked to dedicate his time and financial resources to their development. At his court he surrounded himself with prominent European alchemists and scientists of his time. They strived to transfigure common metals to gold and to make an elixir of longevity. That should have been done with help of the legendary Philosopher’s Stone, which therefore became the main goal of all alchemic research and attempts.
Rudolph II also loved good food and drinks. Therefore we are going to organize a real Rudolph’s dinner in his honour during the Ball. A gastronomic experience, which will stay permanently preserved in the memory of each of our guests; a culinary dream, which would undoubtedly impressed the Emperor himself.
Rudolph II was a great patron. Just like him we would also like to help those in need. The Ball proceeds will be dedicated to charity and the children from the Children's Crisis Centre will benefit from the gifts. Everybody will be enabled to resemble to the Emperor’s generosity and to support a good thing.
Thanks to Rudolph II Prague became a European centre. Its slogan was “Fulget caesaris astrum” or “Let the Emperor’s star shine”. It is our goal that after four centuries the Opera Ball recalled its glory. At least for one night in 2012 all of the Opera Ball guests were touching the star.
Rudolph II thought very much about food and he did not even hesitate to elevate his favourite cooks to the peerage. People from the Rudolph’s court did not hesitate to enjoy delicacies, which at that time were really rare at our territory – figs, almonds, oranges. Rudolph II loved fruit cooked with sugar, which was imported from Italy. At that time sugar was a real rarity. As regards meat, gentry preferred venison, beef, mutton and veal meat. Meat hashed manually and therefore laboriously and tediously was considered as a real delicacy. Therefore food made of hash mat was often called “Princely” or “Royal”.
At midnight a surprise was waiting for the visitors – a midnight banquet – arranged by our company Sodexo.
“During the midnight banquet we will serve delicacies favoured by the Emperor Rudolph II himself. It will be for example a beef tongue in spicy pickle and with apple horseradish or dried apple slices in caramel malt. However, the Rudolph’s period was also a period of alchemy – therefore we prepared a show with demonstrations of the molecular kitchen,” says Martin Kudlík, director of technology and production at Sodexo.
The midnight banquet included the following enjoy meals:
– Horseradish snow, dust from Prague ham, pork skin
– Ice cream made of Jerusalem artichoke
– Dried apple slices, caramel malt
– Fumed beef tongue in spicy pickle and with apple horseradish
– Pickled pork flank in paprika, garlic and herbs
– Fish cracklings
– Pheasant breast with home bacon
– Slow roasted beef skirt with pepper jelly belly
– Goose liver bathed in grease
– Pickled mushrooms
– Sour fish eyes
– Pickled sausages
– Homemade bread pancakes with cracklings
– Bread pancakes
– Roast potatoes in lard and herbs
– Chocolate fountain with liquid gold
– Fresh fruits
– Caramelized balls with dried fruit
Charity collection was also present at the Ball.
In the last year’s charity collection we collected CZK 500,000, which was the highest amount of money ever collected in the history of the Opera Balls and which was only exceeded by the proceeds of this year’s Ball.
“The amount was higher mainly thanks to an auction, which we held together with the collection. Attractively of the auctioned paintings and the exclusive Chalbert vine together with an excellent performance of Marek Eben brought about the amount of CZK 260,000,” says Zuzana Vinzens, director of the Opera Ball.
“I am very pleased that this year the organizers and visitors of the Opera Ball remembered those who need our attention and help. The Endowment Fund shall divide the proceeds of CZK 642 thousands to support language education of the children living in children's homes and also the project called A Way Out of Hell of the Children’s Crisis Centre. I thank everybody who in such complicated times dedicated resources to a good thing,” said Tereza Maxová, patron and founder of the Endowment Fund.