Sensational atmosphere on Saturday evening in Bucharest’s Constitution Square, where over 12,000 fans were fascinated by the high-quality music and brilliant show offered by André Rieu. A year after the series of successful concerts in Romania, the famous Dutch violinist and conductor, accompanied by the Johann Strauss Orchestra, returned to Bucharest in order to make sure the stage built in front of the Palace of Parliament resounds with the sound of exceptionally interpreted waltzes, famous arias of operas and operettas and traditional songs.
“Music brings people together. Wherever you are from, we gathered here tonight with a single purpose. To enjoy the music. This evening, ladies and gentlemen, we will warm your hearts with beautiful music, brilliant soloists and, of course, waltz. It’s extraordinary to be back in Bucharest,” André Rieu said at the opening of the concert. “It’s wonderful you all came here to spend together an evening full of music.”
The artist went on stage, alongside his musicians, after a march through the sitting spectators. The stage especially transported for the two concerts – on Saturday and Sunday – illustrated a Pantheon, hosting on one side a small tower with bells, especially prepared for a moment in the show.
In a great mood, the Maestro saluted the public in Romanian and showed once more that he is in love with our country, stating that he thought about Romania every day of the year that has passed, wherever he was in the world.
“We have traveled the world, and yet each and every night, after the show, we have the same habit: we go to the hotel, put our pyjamas, get into our beds and think of Bucharest,” said Rieu, with humour.
“This night, we are in Bucharest, with the best public ever,” he added.
And the fans rewarded him with applause and many smiles. Just like they rewarded with unending applause each song in the three-hour concert.
Images with well-known places of Bucharest – the Atheneum, the Stavropoleos Church, the People’s House a.k.a. the Parliament Palace – were displayed at the beginning of the concert on the huge screen behind the band.
Dutch sounds gave the start to the show. Then, Andre Rieu, who stated on several occasions during the show that he is proud to be Dutch and to live in Maastricht, changed the rhythm and repertoire, his magical violin giving life to famous waltzes and opera arias.
The public became a part of the show when André Rieu has divided the spectators into several small choirs and made them sing, on his command.
“I’ll call you the ‘Choir of nuns in Bucharest’, he said, warning his fansthat the show is recorded and that the best moments of his concerts around the world will be included on a separate CD.
During the three-hour show, there was no moment in which the great artist did not interact with the audience, and the fans present in Constitution Square lived up to the occasion.
During the three-hour concert, André Rieu played several roles: he was host, instrumentalist, conductor of his musicians and also of the ad-hoc choir formed from spectators and even ‘controller’ of the belated spectators.
Fascinated with the show, with the quality of the music, created by the Maestro’s fiddlestick and magical conductor’s baton, those present applauded, sang along with the orchestra made up of 60 persons from 10 countries, and danced on the rhythms of the famous “Blue Danube” waltz.
The evening programme included the amusing ‘The Skater’s Waltz’, an aria from ‘The Pearl Fishers’ by Georges Bizet, a fragment of ‘Scheherazade’ by N. Rimsky-Korsakov, and a virtuoso demonstration of the bells in the tower especially built on the stage.
One by one or jointly, complementing each other in an impeccable way, the three superb sopranos (two from the Netherlands and one from Brazil) and the three tenors (one from Tasmania, one from Hungary and one from France) made Constitution Square vibrate with their wonderful voices in the rhythm of famous arias such as Ave Maria, Halleluiah, Madam Butterfly, Phantom of the Opera.
And since Andre Rieu could not have come to Bucharest without surprises in store for the audience that he loves so much and that loves him so much in turn, at one point the stage resounded with the rhythm of a famous Romanian novelette – “Ciobanas cu trei sute de oi (Shepherd with 300 sheep)” – after which, close to the end of the show, the atmosphere became scintillating, with all 12,000 fans singing, with one voice, “Hop s-asa s-asa,” the lyrics of a famous Romanian song (“Ciuleandra”).
“We are practically married, my orchestra and me. I can’t do without them, and they can’t do without me. When we travel, we really have an incredible amount of fun together. In addition to the professional way we work together, this capacity to have fun is exceptionally important to me. After all, if you can’t live together in joy and harmony, how can you expect to give beautiful concerts?” Andre Rieu stated about his orchestra, which he praised for professionalism.
“I have the most beautiful job in the world and I’m proud of it,” Rieu said on Saturday evening, verbally confirming what he conveys so well on the stage where he is always in perfect symbiosis and cohesion with all members of the orchestra, who have in common with him not only the enormous passion for high-quality music but also small complicities “for fun,” which thrill the audience.
“Superb! We will definitely come back next year too,” one fan seated behind me said after André Rieu suggested Bucharest will be on his permanent concert tour map.
Many foreigners who came to Romania especially for this concert were in the audience. When asked by Rieu from how many corners of the world did fans come to the concert, cameras spotted the flags of Israel, Bulgaria, Canada, Macedonia and the UK waved by fans.
There were also fans that went to other shows too. Right next to me there was someone who told me she will come back again. “I too will definitely come back,” I told her. “I’m thrilled for being able to make it here now, last year I couldn’t come, however this year I was lucky. Besides, I was able to make this a special surprise for my mother, who reached a beautiful age today. By bringing her to the concert I gave her a memorable, unforgettable gift.” “That’s beautiful, congratulations for the idea and all the best to your mother. I believe she liked this a lot, look how thrilled she is.”
Indeed, my mother was very thrilled and there was no other option, considering that André Rieu’s music and concerts touch the soul irrespective of age groups.
Our dialogue took place during the last part of the show, when for several dozen minutes nobody sat down. Everyone was giving standing ovations.
Finally, the confetti cannons and a brief fireworks display marked the end of a sensational show and evening on the sounds of the ‘Radetzky March’. While I was heading toward the point of exit from the concert area, I was thinking how right André Rieu was a bit earlier when stating on the stage that his music creates friendships, so that people who never met before interact at his concerts as if they knew each other forever. That had just happened to me.
To briefly sum up my experience at André Rieu’ concert on Saturday, I can only state: “I spent great quality time in a company of great quality.”
There were three hours of high-quality music, brilliantly interpreted, a scintillating atmosphere, lots of vivaciousness and fun skilfully kept alive by André Rieu during his monologues, good sound and organisation.
In other words, everything was in the superlative, an impression I am sure was shared by each of the 12,500 fans present at Constitution Square on Saturday evening, at the first André Rieu concert that was sold out in the very first weeks.
As a sign of gratitude for giving a concert in Romania once again, the image of André Rieu was projected on the façade of a famous building in Bucharest, with the message: “Thank you for loving Romania, André!”
Photos : Dana Purgaru