Reviewed by Rama Gaind.
Cast: André Rieu, his 60-piece Johann Strauss Orchestra, world-class sopranos, Platin Tenors, special guests and over 100 dancers.
The stately waltz has been such an inspiration to André Rieu, so much so, that its 3/4 time beat, in many ways, has become intrinsic to his rhythm of life.
André Rieu’s 2019 Maastricht concert – showcased in Australian cinemas last month – was dedicated to the waltz with all the splendour and fashionable elegance, now a hallmark of his concerts that we’ve come to expect. This year’s concert was a treat with lilting melodies, compelling beats, engaging musical performances and enchanting dance numbers.
André Rieu returned to his hometown of Maastricht to play in the medieval surroundings of the Vrijthof, one of the most romantic squares in the Netherlands. The venue was transformed into a spectacular backdrop for another one of his unforgettable concerts. In his inimitable style, the King of Waltz performed to perfection, complemented by the Johann Strauss Orchestra, who he has travelled the world with for more than three decades, along with a cast of over 100 dancers. They again played the popular brand of accessible classical music, along with soloists and guest appearances. The party was on for one and all. Everyone enjoyed the irresistible waltzes, classical music, operetta and musicals. It was an evening filled with fun, infectious music, glorious dancing, dazzling light shows and spectacular fireworks.
His concerts are a real feast for the eyes and ears as it’s a real dress-up affair for the cast … tiaras, ball gowns, tuxedos, coat tails, bow ties … and lots of bling!
There was a moving tribute to the Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral in Paris where a structure fire had broken out beneath the roof in April this year. As images were projected onto the screens and before he spoke about Notre-Dame, André touched on how upset he had been as a young boy when a fire broke out in the church just next to the stage at Maastricht.
Everyone loved hearing Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah; the Platin Tenors, including Tasmanian Gary Bennett, sang with passion; Rieu engaged the audience when he told stories about his childhood, the orchestra – in at least three languages.
Described as a ‘musical millipede’ – because he plays quite a few instruments in the orchestra – violinist/carillon player Frank Steijns added zing with comical speed when he played in competition with the xylophone player, that ended up with smoking instruments!
It was easy to see soprano Donij van Doorn’s love of opera as she enchanted with her crystal clear voice!
The musical repertoire included Abe Holzmann’s Blaze Away; Seventy Six Trombones (M. Willson); Omenico Modugno-Franco Migliacci’s Volare; and the spirited Second Waltz. Composed by Dimitri Shostakovich, a staple in the waltz collection, the Second Waltz comprised poignant power and technical invention, marked by emotional extremes. More than 200 dancers waltzed for the performance, joined by the audience, who gathered together joining hands, dancing cheerfully according to the tempo. It was a powerful, evocative rendition that challenged anybody not to sing along.
Inventively supported by a resplendent entourage, Dutch violinist and conductor André Rieu is the maestro, composer and performer with a brilliant career!