A well deserved big hand for big André

Andre Rieu
Andre Rieu

In an André Rieu concert there can be as many as 60 musicians on stage, all clearly holding the maestro in high esteem because he is a perfectionist.

And this is what makes him so different, so special.

Who else do you know who can conduct his orchestra with an eyebrow?

How many times in one’s life does one see a true master at work?

Well, for ardent fans of this elegant Dutch violinist – who travels the world with his superb Johann Strauss Orchestra – they might believe they are buying a ticket for a once-in-a-lifetime concert.

But, and it is a very big BUT, having seen him once they tend to have to see him time and again, often travelling to venues the across the world.

Some of them are fortunate enough to see him in his hometown of Maastricht, where he conducts live annual concerts each year in the beautiful Vrijthof Square, surrounded by floodlit buildings and restaurants bulging with people who watch him on screens.

Last Sunday in Liverpool (his second visit in a week) was a typical success, with 12,000 adoring fans enthralled by both the music and the breathtaking computerised backdrops that changed with each piece.

André was a force to be reckoned with, as he led his orchestra into the stadium to the rousing 76 Trombones.

Once centre stage in his famous dark blue Regency-style tuxedo, he smiled over his violin as his entourage took their places – the men resplendent in white tie with black tails, the women in their impressive crinoline gowns.

Via the huge screens there was a Christmas message from Dame Vera Lynn following a very emotional White Cliffs of Dover, and pianist Carlos Buono joyfully danced his fingers over the keys.

The dramatic voices of the Platin Tenors (Gary Bennett, Thomas Greuel, Bela Mavrak) thundered through the arena and the beautiful soloists (Carmen Monarcha, Carla Maffioletti, Kimmy Skota) thrilled with their haunting songs.

Kimmy sang a moving tribute to the late Nelson Mandela, and there wasn’t a dry eye anywhere.

A wonderful start to the festive season – great spectacular fun.

Jenny Robson