Interview with Pierre, by The Telegraph/Privé, July 6th 2023.Duration: 3 minutes.
Interview with André on July 7th 2023, by the Telegraph/Privé.André reveals great news!!Duration 3 minutes.
RTL news. Source ANP.I've been following Max Verstappen for years and when I was asked to perform with my orchestra prior to the start of the Formula 1 car-race in Zandvoort (NL), on August 27 2023, I was immediately very enthusiastic. Also all the members in my orchestra! Together with DJ La Fuente, we are going to make it a dazzling show for TV viewers worldwide," says Rieu about the performance.La Fuente promises to "turn the whole circuit upside down" in Zandvoort, together with Rieu. "I am therefore very much looking forward to giving the world of F1 a happy touch in our own way."At the return of the Formula 1 race to Zandvoort two years ago, Davina Michelle and Armin van Buuren performed the national anthem. Last year, Floor Jansen and Afrojack had the honor.
July 6th, Interview with us, by the AD (Algemeen Dagblad newspaper) camera crew.Duration: 2 minutes
The André Rieu week, broadcast by Limburg TV channel L1.Maastricht's Vrijthof is once again completely devoted to André Rieu's traditional concerts.From 10 to 14 July, L1 presents a special program every day from the enchanting stage on the Vrijthof in Maastricht. We take a unique look behind the scenes of the annual spectacle. How does the concert series come about? Where do the visitors all come from? And what makes the Vrijthof so unique? In five episodes, presenters Fabienne Nijsten and Jo Cortenraedt discuss it with guests at the table and of course with André Rieu himself.Currently we have no time to translate and add subtitles since your translators are on holiday in Maastricht. So probably it will be added later… or never…It is the way it is!
First interview on July 10th 2023.André announces that Emma and Dorona are joining him on the next tour!
Second interview on July 11th 2023All about André’s physical health and the impact of music on the body and brain.
Third interview on July 12th 2023The economical impact of André’s concerts on Maastricht and the region around, as far as Belgium and Germany.
Fourth interview on July 13th 2023The guest artists Emma and Dorona and the love story of Frank and Madieke.New orchestra members Serena Vanheuverswijn (Be) and Justinas Kaunas (from Lithuania), who is speaking Dutch very well! (After 1,5 years joining the orchestra)
Fifth interview on July 14th 2023.Only father and son.
For the Dutch fans to read: It is about Dutch politics, only of interest by Dutch people (we think).July 8th 2023. Two days ago, the Dutch parliament resigned. Caroline van der Plas is the leader of the biggest political party (BBB), so after the elections of November 2023 she could be our new prime minister.She attended an André concert with her mother in the wheelchair.Caroline van der Plas, (leader of the BBB-Party), greeted warmly by the Rieu fans as “savior of the country”.Het komt niet vaak voor dat André Rieu tijdens zijn concertreeks op het Vrijthof concurrentie ondervindt op het gebied van populariteit. Zaterdagavond 8 juli 2023 vindt zo’n moment plaats op de hoek van de Grote Staat en het Vrijthof. Rond de klok van half negen arriveert een gezelschap gasten – onder leiding van de nieuwe burgemeester Wim Hillenaar – op het plein. Onder hen Caroline van der Plas. De politiek leider van de Boer Burger Beweging wordt al snel door het Nederlandse deel van het publiek herkend. Wie erbij is geweest, kan het beamen; ze wordt begroet, toegejuicht, toegezwaaid en benaderd als een wereldster. Of – wat korter bij huis en actueler na de val van kabinet Rutte IV – de redder des vaderlands. Stadsfotograaf Laurens Bouvrie doet verslag van haar eerste bezoek aan Maastricht en – wie weet – de eerste dag van haar route naar het Torentje in Den Haag.Buiten tropisch warm. Binnen de heerlijke koelte, gegeven door de eeuwenoude stenen van het stadhuis. De moeder van Caroline van der Plas vindt het prima. De geboren en getogen Ierse moeder van het politieke fenomeen is niet echt een fan van de hitte. Maar André Rieu zal ze niet aan zich voorbij laten gaan. Ze vertelt hoe ze Carolines vader heeft leren kennen. “Hij was mijn penvriend”, zegt ze met nog altijd een licht – maar vooral charmant – Engels accent. Via die liefde avant la lettre wordt Deventer de stad waar ze gaat wonen. Haar favoriete evenement in de stad van de vermaarde ontbijtkoek en het prachtige Charles Dickens evenement? Europa’s grootste boekenmarkt. Lezen is haar grote hobby.Mocht dat ook Caroline van der Plas’ favoriete vrijetijdsbesteding zijn, dan zal daar momenteel niet veel van terechtkomen. Wethouder Anita Bastiaans zegt even daarvoor tegen uw RTV Maastricht verslaggever: ‘Of ik veel lees? Ja, maar echt alleen maar stukken, stukken en nog eens stukken’. Als – nog – eenmansfractie in Den Haag zal het de inmiddels tot meest bekende en - niet onwaarschijnlijk- meest populaire politicus van Nederland niet anders vergaan. De status eenpitter zal in november – dan vindt waarschijnlijk de Tweede Kamerverkiezing plaats na de val Kabinet Rutte IV – wel eens drastisch kunnen wijzigen.Want Caroline van der Plas’ populariteit, zo blijkt zaterdagavond op het Maastrichtse Vrijthof, heeft inmiddels een cultstatus bereikt. Na het onder elkaar zijn in het Maastrichtse stadhuis, begeven de politici en andere vertegenwoordigers uit het sociaal-maatschappelijke leven zich richting het ‘André Rieu Plein’.Zelf lijkt ze er al heel erg aan gewend te zijn; in ieder geval ondergaat ze de adoraties die bij veel toeschouwers zicht- en hoorbaar loskomen bij het zien van de BBB-leider met gepaste vriendelijkheid. Maar ze raakt er niet van ondersteboven.Dan is er toch een moment dat ook de vrouw waar iedereen in Nederland het over heeft, toch echt even plaats moet maken. Neen, niet voor André Rieu. De Koninklijke Harmonie Sainte Cécile komt haar kant op. Het geeft Van der Plas en haar moeder even de tijd om te genieten van de eerste muziek die op Rieu-avonden te horen is.
Thursday evening July 6th 2023 André Rieu kicks off his seventeenth concert series at the Vrijthof. Although they no longer have to reinvent the wheel at André Rieu Productions, father and son Pierre still leave nothing to chance. Everything is thought of. “The word “budget” does not exist. Everything can be reduced, but that will also reduce the guest experience.” “If we had to realize this with a completely new crew, we would have needed seven days longer.” Pierre Rieu is pleased that his father has put so much energy into retaining all permanent employees of the Vrijthof concerts during the corona pandemic. “We even started creating work in our warehouse to keep them committed to us. We are now reaping the benefits of that. We don't have to reinvent the wheel. Everyone knows what to do.” The seventeenth series by André Rieu and his Johann Strauss Orchestra will start on Thursday evening in front of twelve thousand spectators on Maastricht's most famous square. A tradition that started in 2005, after the first open-air concert in the RODA Stadium in Kerkrade had taken place one year earlier. There were guest appearances by the German comedian Otto Waalkes and the then three-year-old violinist Akim Camara (DVD the Flying Dutchman). Allergy to horses “A performance from which we learned a lot. For instance: when you let a hundred horses show up, there is a chance that there will be people in the audience who are allergic to horses. And when you are moving lights which are not hung far enough under the cover of the grandstand, hundreds can die in a downpour. So, from that moment on we started with rain hoods for the lamps.” The first series of the Vrijthof concerts, (concerts that would never have happened without the former Maastricht mayor Mr. Gerd Leers, who thought in terms of possibilities instead of impossibilities), consisted of three performances. “We still doubted whether that was not too much, but we just needed that number to cover the costs. Dad, mom and I got goosebumps together in front of the TV that evening, when we saw on the news that people had been queuing up in front of the Theater on the Vrijthof since five o'clock in the morning to get tickets. Then you can get as many awards as you want, but when the residents of your own city embrace you like that, it touches you.” As a surprise, Benny Neijman made an appearance during the encore that year. “That was still possible then, a Maastricht artist. Now 80 percent of visitors would no longer understand it. Nevertheless, something special will be added to the concert again this year. “Not 150 dance couples, but 150 of something else. Is that necessary? No. Everything can be reduced, but then it will reduce the guest experience. And that's what our concerts are all about. Isn't it much nicer to be surrounded by dancers or musicians than just asphalt? We are therefore not familiar with the word “budget” at André Rieu Productions. Either we find something too expensive or it costs what it costs and then we do it. We will never economize on quality.”Hotel stays So, again this year almost seven hundred people are working to achieve that quality. From security guards to ushers and from video crew to catering staff. “Did you know that André Rieu Productions is booking 3100 hotel nights for orchestra and crew alone this month during the Vrijthof concerts? Then you are not talking about the more than 30,000 visitors who have booked a concert ticket with travel and accommodation through our travel agency André Rieu Travel.” Those 3100 hotel nights during the Vrijthof concerts, including set-up and break-down, are necessary because Rieu gathers the best people all over the world. Not only in the orchestra, but also around it. People who cross his path, seem to understand their profession well and also fit well in the group. For example, a clothing designer from Poland, a catering manager from Eastern Germany, and a swivel crane cameraman from Ireland. “Operating a slewing crane camera is a profession in its own. You can't let every cameraman do that. That also requires a lot of musicality. You have to feel when to pan and zoom in or out with that camera. So, this Irish cameraman is flown in every year.” Military precision André Rieu Productions works with two production teams. A preparatory and an executive team. “The preparatory team plans almost with military precision how many people from the executive team we need on what day and at what time. Hundreds of truck journeys are needed to get everything to the Vrijthof, but it makes no sense if twenty trucks are waiting in a traffic jam in front of the Vrijthof. We sometimes say to each other: ‘You can see what time it is by looking at the work.’” To see what can be done even better and more efficiently, we immediately put our heads together after the last Vrijthof concert. "Just to name a few: is it necessary to measure the square completely every year, while everything will be in exactly the same place, or can something be found that will save us a lot of time next time?" Silly The concert itself is also meticulously prepared. “Of course, that starts weeks in advance with rehearsals in the studio in Amby (district of Maastricht), to which the soloists are also invited. Then on Tuesday before the first concert there is the first light and fireworks walk-through. On Wednesday the sound check and then the dress rehearsal with a full walk-through. Because there is nothing as silly as an announced soloist who walks onto the stage from the wrong side. That just shouldn't happen.” Another mortal sin are technicians who walk through the screen at their leisure. “We regard the Vrijthof as an open-air concert hall and not as a festival site. If something needs to be fixed immediately, because it will otherwise disrupt the performance or the recording, they should run and preferably crouch. Otherwise, there will be no running at all during the concert. We also brief them. Otherwise, my father will go crazy. This also applies if guests in row 8 (VIP-row) arrive too late. Now that my father has been wearing contact lenses since last year, he not only sees that happening, but also who they are. Then he friendly reminds them afterwards - when they are complimenting him on the show. Reversing beeps Rieu is known for being alert on details. For example, to name just one random example: the light poles have changed. “We are now attaching the lamps in such a way that fewer cherry pickers are needed and therefore fewer reversing beeps sound for local residents. The lamps can then also be lowered immediately in case of a storm, which reduces the risk of a mast falling over.” Safety comes first. “Twenty years ago, no one took possible attacks into account. The municipality is now installing roadblocks in Bredestraat and Helmstraat so that no one can enter the terraces directly by car, we are creating free access routes for emergency services, we are deploying sniffer dogs at security and there are profilers who identify suspicious behavior and address people about it. As inconspicuous as possible so as not to create a feeling of insecurity, but rather of safety.” Gluten-free pastry Pierre Rieu repeats it once more: most important for the family business is guest experience. Whether it's a gluten-free pastry for that one and only fan who has booked a VIP package with 120 others, or the very elderly visitor they lend an arm at a drop-off. "For those people, so much courtesy is out of the world, but natural to us." Pierre Rieu: “The Vrijthof concerts remain a wonderful job for us.”PhotographyDo he and his father never think: pfff, what a lot of work? “No, not really,” assures Rieu junior. “The Vrijthof concerts remain a wonderful job for us. Although last year we overdid ourselves in the amount of work that the first concerts after corona entailed. Rebooking all those tickets that were ordered three years earlier. Especially when three weeks in advance it turned out that some hotels closed their restaurants due to a lack of staff, as a result of which 750 people were duped. So, we had to call all those people one by one to inform them and look for an alternative. So much work, no one was waiting for that. Then we also said: never again. Either we find extra people or we shrink. Fortunately, we have found extra people.”
The Limburger. By Ronald Colée. July 7th 2023.Looking back at the first Vrijthof concert on July 6, 2023.Translation Ineke, edited by Al Girard.André Rieu pulls out all the stops during the first Vrijthof concert, but he misses the best compliment: a marriage proposal in the aisle.The Voice Kids winner Emma Kok, the percussion brothers Falize, a fourteen-member gospel choir, one hundred and fifty bagpipers and, for the second year in a row, the Maastricht Gare du Nord singer Dorona Alberti as special guest. André Rieu and his Johann Strauss Orchestra pulled out all the stops on Thursday evening July 6th 2023 during Vrijthof concert 116 to please the twelve thousand spectators from more than a hundred countries, but the best compliment eluded him. Whether it was a coincidence? No idea. But a remarkable number of fans saw Rieu and his Strauss Orchestra live for the first time. Or live for the first time in his own city. Such as mother Turid Mørkestøl (79) and her daughter Lise Andersen (56) from Kristiansand, Norway; Gaby Messmer (66) and Monika Ernst (65) from Basel, Switzerland; and the Busch family from Pulsnitz, Germany. André Rieu welcomes his audience during his 116th Vrijthof concert. For example, father Dirk (47), mother Sandy (48) and son Cornelius Busch (10) sat in the middle of the front section in row 17. “We saw Rieu a while back late at night - by coincidence - on TV. We wanted to experience those goosebump moments live. We could also have waited for him to come to Leipzig (Germany). But that Vrijthof concert felt a bit like the original on TV. Very different from a concert hall. We had to be here once.” For the seasoned Vrijthof visitor, it seemed on Thursday that this seventeenth Vrijthof series had also opted for the old, familiar concept. As a tradition, Rieu entered the stage again with “The Entry of the Gladiators” by the Czech composer Julius Fučík and left the square more than three hours later to the sounds of “Adieu, mein kleiner Gardeoffizier” by the Austrian composer Robert Stolz, followed by “Marina” by the Belgian Rocco Granata for dessert. Yet Dirk Busch did not know what hit him. “One blast after another.” Whether it was the Neapolitan anthem Funiculi Funicilà or Volare by Domenico Modugno, everything was sung loudly. Sperm cells Kimberly Wijsman (26) from Born (village in Limburg) burst into laughter when Rieu shared his memory of Ballade pour Adeline, a song that made an indelible impression on the orchestra leader more than forty years ago. “Let's all re-enact that scene from then. Everyone is forty years younger,” Rieu said. “Ha, ha, then I have to play a few sperm cells,” Wijsman responded. The first standing ovation of the evening was reserved for Emma Kok for her performance of Voila. The fifteen-year-old girl from Kerkrade, winner of The Voice Kids and Ministars, sang Voila, the song with which the French Barbara Pravi became second in the Eurovision Song Contest two years ago.Rieu then hardly let the audience catch its breath and immediately after this first standing ovation he treated his fans to the sound of 150 bagpipe players, who performed three songs together with his orchestra. Especially in the chorus of Highland Cathedral, the audience was completely overwhelmed by this wall of sound. Tall hat Rieu also conjured up a few surprises from his tall hat after the break. To give the latecomers a chance to take their seats, the orchestra leader first inquired which nationalities were all present. After the most exotic destinations, the stand-alone violinist burst out laughing when a spectator from Schinnen (village in Limburg) called “Sjènne” as a forgotten country of origin. A prominent role was reserved for the gospel choir “The Golden Voices of Gospel”. Just like for the drumming brothers Glenn, Dean and Colin Falize. And this time too, “An der schönen blauen Donau” (The Blue Danube) was the starting signal for the older, ballroom dance-skilled spectators in particular to leave their seats and make a waltz in the aisles. Here and there leading to the astonishment of their children who had never - or very long ago - seen their parents in action. “We will use those images later for their 40th wedding anniversary.” Anthem As an unexpected bouncer, Rieu came up with a real premiere by choosing the same special guest for the second year in a row, for the first time in seventeen years: Gare du Nord singer Dorona Alberti. The Maastricht woman who now lives in Rotterdam, was allowed to take on three songs this time. Naturally, the Maastricht national anthem “Jao, diech höbs us aon 't hart gelege” and “Mestreech is neet breid meh Mestreech dat is lank” were not to be missed on the Vrijthof. As an official conclusion to the final, Rieu once again opted for “Adieu mein kleiner Gardeoffizier”, with Rocco Granata's “Marina” as dessert. But not before he once again brought the bagpipers up on stage to play “Amazing Grace”.Yet the highlight of the evening had already taken place more than half an hour earlier. “There are two things I love: love and music,” Rieu had confided to his audience earlier in the evening. “If they come together on an evening like this, I am very happy.” The orchestra leader could therefore not receive a greater compliment than the marriage proposal that took place in the left aisle in front of the stage during the Elvis Presley classic “Can't help falling in love”. The fact that this passed unnoticed by Rieu and his cameras and was therefore not widely reported on the giant video screens for the rest of the audience, made this moment of true love even more special!
Shownieuws, July 25, 2023. Duration 1 minute.Interview after the last 12th concert had taken place.
The Limburger, July 5th 2023. By Ronald Colée.Translated by Ineke, edited by Al Girard.Guests are spoilt at André Rieu's Vrijthof concerts: 'The word “budget” does not exist'.
Photo credits:The Limburger.
Video by RTV Maastricht, partly in English, recorded prior to the concert of July 22th. The 99-years old Brazilian lady had two wishes: A blessing by the pope and a picture with André Rieu. She was with her grandson and they had tickets for a concert. So they waited in front of the Theater steps and even managed to enter the theater. Their arrival and her wish was unannounced. André is always nervous prior to concerts. It is the worst time to ask him something! Security is there to protect him and they don’t want fans to enter the Theater! So to our opinion the solution they came up with was quite acceptable.
RTV Maastricht, July 25, 2023. Translation by Ineke, edited by Diana D. Le.99-year-old Brazilian lady travels to Maastricht for a photo with André Rieu and is sent away.99-year-old Maria Helena from Brazil had two dreams in her last years: a blessing from the Pope in Rome and a photo with her idol André Rieu. Her grandson Alexandre decided to make both dreams come true this summer.PopeSo, the two traveled to Europe, according to grandson Alexandre, a cost of about 30,000 euros all together. Three oxygen bottles also had to be taken on the plane. Such a long flight at that age is not without dangers. After a long
journey, the two arrived in Rome, where Mary received a blessing from the Pope himself. The next wish had to come true in Maastricht: a photo with André Rieu.Challenge Soon the two found out that a photo with Rieu would be a challenge. In the Theater on the Vrijthof, from where Rieu makes his appearance before the concert to go to the big stage, the two asked an employee if they were allowed to take a photo with Rieu. Rieu was standing inside the Theater, two meters away.In vain."André Rieu is not the pope, he does not want to be photographed and you have to go outside now," (note: So, they were already inside the Theater!) an employee, who later turned out to be Pierre Rieu, told the two. Son Pierre wanted to pose with Maria. When they then waited outside the theater, Pierre managed to take a photo with Alexandre’s cellphone, of the two behind the stanchions and André on the steps. Too far away and indistinctly in the background, was the grandson’s opinion.No way to start"There have been 12,500 people on the square every evening who would appreciate a photo. No one has been sent away, but people have been told that André does not take photos with people for the simple reason that there is no way to start. Mr. Alexandre looked very angry and disappointed when he heard this. That part is with him, not with us," said Pierre Rieu.Illusion Maria and Alexandre return to Brazil with a poorer illusion. "Rieu should show more appreciation for people who believe he is a good person. I am convinced of the opposite,” said the grandson.
Note by Ineke: It was amazing to read the amount of nasty comments (by Maastricht people??) against the Rieu family. Nicer were the comments by several fans and really important were the comments by some orchestra members who were there!Dennis Close: “Really, RTV Maastricht, what a mood maker. And given the reactions of people who express their distaste based on prejudice and your piece, it works out pretty well. You could also have indicated how often he does take pictures with fans, or how often the Wish Ambulance can come by. But that's probably not sensational enough. You must be proud...”Frank Steijns: “It is completely different from what is being portrayed here. The lady's grandson pretends he had nicely asked, but he was making quite a fuss at the security that his mother HAD TO be photographed with André. The Security certainly don't let such a person near André just prior to the concert. Not even when he should have a 200-year-old with him. Do you notice that he is the only one speaking? The reason why RTV Maastricht made an item about this, is still a mystery to me. But we’ll investigate everything”.Frank Steijns: “The poor woman didn't even know she was with Rieu or the Pope, she completely has dementia. That man travels halfway around the world with her (who would do that to a 99-year-old in such condition) and uses her to get close to celebrities. That's the story as it is. Not the other way around. The lady was beautiful in the picture and our security is praised that they didn't let that man come closer to André. RTV Maastricht, you can write anything, but this time you are completely wrong”.