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Grab your tux and gown for the Semper Opera Ball

Germany's most prestigious ball at the Semper Opera in Dresden is famous for its debutantes and high-caliber musical performances. As the party goes down on February 3, here's a look at Europe's other top balls.

The Semper Opera Ball is not just for socialites. While 2,500 guests enjoy the black tie cultural event inside the Dresden opera house, another 15,000 watch the live steam from the square outside the hall and millions watch in front of their televisions at home.

This year, Dutch violinist André Rieu and his Johann Strauss Orchestra are the headline act. But drag artist Conchita Wurst, who won the Eurovision Song Contest for Austria in 2014, is also on the program.

The event kicks off with the traditional entrance of 100 debutante couples, who, dressed in tuxedos and white gowns, present a 10-minute choreographed waltz that harkens back to a bygone era.

Each year the St. George Medal is awarded to individuals who overcome hardship to bring good to the world. Olympic gymnast Fabian Hambüchen is among this year's recipients, as is German singer Peter Maffay.

The Semper Opera Ball falls in the middle of the European ball season. Click through the gallery above for a look at other significant ball events in Germany and Austria. In the gallery below, discover more about the history of the Semper Opera.

kbm/eg (with dpa)

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