Il Ballo del Doge
Il Ballo del Doge ("The Doge’s Ball") is a Venetian masquerade ball, one of the many events held annually during the Carnival of Venice. The ball itself is held in the 15th-century Venetian palace of Palazzo Pisani Moretta, situated on the Grand Canal in Venice. The ball's name derives from the title of the elected heads (Doge, "Duke" in English) who ruled Venice up until the fall of the Venetian republic in the 18th century. Every year the ball is attended by around four hundred guests dressed in period costume and masked.
The event is a reconstruction of an 18th-century masquerade ball and includes a meal of Venetian cuisine. Over the years the entertainment has included performances by opera singers, musicians, burlesque artists and characters from the Commedia dell'Arte.
Created in 1994 by BBC documentary producer/director Alan Ereira, the Ball was conceived by him as a poetic re-creation of the events of the Fourth Crusade. He directed and filmed it as part of the final episode of Terry Jones' award-winning BBC/History Channel series "Crusades". The sequence was largely financed by the paying guests. Antonia Sautter and other Venice creatives worked on the production, providing costumes, banquet, visual effects and entertainment. The production ended, Alan left, and they have kept the Ball going ever since. Il Ballo del Doge has been described by Vanity Fair as "one of the most exclusive parties in the world." Guests have included members of European, Middle Eastern and Asian royal families, celebrities, and leaders in international business and finance.
Each year the ball follows a different theme, such as "The Marvels of the Orient" (2006), "The Garden of Delights" (2008) and "Seven Dreams 7 Seven Sins" (2010).
Il Ballo del Doge has been covered by the international press for many years. TV programmes, newspapers and magazines from Italy, the US, the UK, Russia, Spain, France have all covered the event.
- Vanity Fair no. 11 of 11 March 2004 p. 65 "Il Ballo del Doge è una delle feste più esclusive del mondo... Spegnete il telefonino, respirate i profumi e socchiudete gli ochi, abbandonatevi alla notte più bella della vostra vita."
- Herald Tribune on Tuesday, February 12, 2002, Italian Living
- Life Magazine February 1997
- National Geographic January–February 1999, p 84-85
- Sunday Times Magazine on 11 July 1999 p.40
- Rich Style, Spring issue 2009 p.98-99
- Gala, 24 February 2004