Lugner has held true to his promise of avoiding scandal by inviting a woman with a more demure image than last year’s guest, Kim Kardashian, who made headlines after complaining that she experienced racism whilst in Vienna and called the whole trip a "nightmare".
Canalis, a 36-year-old Italian actress and model, has had roles in films such as Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo and Virgin Territory. She was linked with Hollywood star George Clooney from 2009 to 2011.
In Austria she is known as the face of Ferrero’s Giotto chocolates.
Lugner said that inviting Kim Kardashian last year had been a mistake as she had brought a TV crew with her to get footage for her show Keeping Up With The Kardashians, and was constantly stopping to film. “It was a mess,” he said.
She was confronted by an Austrian comedian in full 'blackface' during the ball, who pretended to be her husband, rapper Kanye West.
Lugner’s previous VIP guests to the Opera Ball have included Harry Belafonte, Joan Collins, Sophia Loren, Sarah Ferguson, Jacqueline Bisset, Pamela Anderson and Paris Hilton.