The Budapest Opera Ball (Budapesti Operabál in Hungarian, Budapester Opernball in German) is an annual Hungarian society event taking place in the building of the Budapest Opera (Operaház) on the last Saturday of the carnival season, usually late February. On this occasion the stage and the auditorium of the Opera is transformed into a huge ballroom. The dress code is evening dress: white tie and tails for men; floor-length gowns for women. The ball is opened by more than a hundred debutante dancers after a show consisting of selected arias, followed by the 'Alles Walzer' with people dancing until dawn. Recent star guests include Montserrat Caballé, Ornella Muti, Yevgeny Nesterenko, Walter Berry, Heinz Zednik, Katia Ricciarelli, Patrizio Buanne, Catherine Deneuve, Katarina Witt, Gina Lollobrigida, Daryl Hannah and Guy de Rothschild. Besides international guests, the balls are highlighted by the most well known Hungarian opera singers.
The Opera Ball was first organised on March 2, 1886. Suspended in 1934, it was not revived until 1996. Representing a tradition rooted in 1880's era Austrian-Hungarian culture, the revival has become the most prestigious meeting point of the participants of the Hungarian public life, fully covered by national media.
In 2011, the Opera Ball was substituted with a charity Gala Concert as a gesture "of contribution to the work of the Government, the leading institutions and the citizens" to help those Hungarians afflicted by the ongoing financial crisis and the various natural disasters.