Strip star to grace highbrow Vienna Opera Ball

Wed Jan 16, 2008 1:47pm EST
 
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VIENNA (Reuters) - Strip star Dita von Teese will appear at Vienna's Opera Ball on January 31, the latest guest to ruffle the annual highlight of staid Austrian high society.

She will be the guest of eccentric socialite Richard Lugner, who has invited a foreign celebrity to each ball since 1992.

Past dates include hotel heiress Paris Hilton in 2007; former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell, British royal Sarah Ferguson, ex-Playboy model and "Baywatch" star Pamela Anderson, and actresses Sophia Loren and Andie MacDowell.

Lugner said burlesque queen Teese, 35, former wife of shock rocker Marilyn Manson, would perform her best known 1940s-style strip a day before the ball in a huge cocktail glass filled with water, champagne and hard liquor.

"Women like to show themselves naked. I myself bathe only in water, because to do it every time with champagne would be pretty expensive," Lugner, 75, told a news conference.

His annual guests, who came along with his wife before their divorce last year, have sometimes irked the conservative upper crust crowd who predominate at Vienna balls. They are concerned not to "lower the standards" of the traditional event.

The Opera Ball is held at Vienna's 19th-century Staatsoper (State Opera). Prices range from 230 euros ($340) for a basic ticket to 17,000 euros for a box.

Reuters

 
<p>Dita Von Teese poses during a photcall to promote her new book "Burlesque and the Art of Teese" in London November 22, 2007. Teese will appear at Vienna's Opera Ball on January 31, the latest guest to ruffle the annual highlight of staid Austrian high society. REUTERS/Anthony Harvey</p>