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May 13, 2011

André Rieu Column Chapeau Magazine

Waltzing with Anthony Hopkins
André Rieu June/July Column for Limburg Chapeau Magazine
Music brings people from all over the world together. I say this very often during my performances, but sometimes it surprises me as to how this happens. You do not really think about it, but then it seems that a film greatness like Anthony Hopkins, whom I always found to be one of the best actors, happens to be a fan of my music. Something you normally do not hear. And did I know he was not only an actor, but also had long been involved in music. During the sixties he studied at the Academy of Music and Theater and was a musician/pianist. But he did not earn enough with that, so he tried earning a living as an actor. Well, you all know what became of that. About fifty years ago, he composed several music pieces which he just now placed in a row and put together as a waltz.
It appeared to be his great desire that this waltz was to be performed by me first, together with my Johann Strauss Orchestra. That request came to me via our New York office. A surprising request, naturally. First he sent us the notes and together with Frank Steijns, I made a complete orchestral arrangement from them. We sent him a tape and he reacted so enthusiastically that he immediately wanted to come to Maastricht. On a Sunday afternoon in April he visited our home, which in itself is a very special occasion. We had him and his wife take seats in the middle of our living room so that they could listen to the sound of the speakers coming from all sides when the tape started. "I'm in tears," he said.
When you have someone like him in your home it truly moves you. For him and his wife this was a very special moment and that you then share. It immediately creates a warm relationship. The next day he came to the studio to listen to how his waltz would sound live with the orchestra. I thought he would be there for about half hour or so but no, he remained there for the entire rehearsal from 9am to 2pm. He was totally absorbed by it.
"And The Waltz Goes On" is the title of the piece, which will also be the title for our new CD which will be released in the Fall. There will also be a new original composition which I've composed together with Frank Steijns. But the "World Premiere" of Anthony Hopkins’ waltz will be performed in July on the Vrijthof in Maastricht when we play it for the first time for the public. He is so interested that he and his wife will come to the concert, especially for the first evening and then perhaps again later. They have already confirmed their trip to Maastricht and already feel totally at home here. So again, it will be something very special on the Vrijthof, for which I am already greatly looking forward to. For the first time we will have two Gospel Choirs perform simultaneously, the Harlem Gospel Choir and the Soweto Gospel Choir.
Even though I said I'm going to take it a little easier, at least in my concepts, we still have our hands full. Our first major tour through Ireland and England is behind us and went fantastic. Sold out concerts everywhere, and the culminating point was the concert in the O2 in London for 16,000 people. The English have such a sense of humor. Each joke was a hit. We played our normal repertoire, except towards the end when we played "Home Sweet Home" and "We'll meet again". Also in Birmingham as well as other cities the atmosphere was great. The Irish in Dublin and Belfast put the frosting on the cake. This tour will definitely have a follow up.
Just barely back from England we departed for Australia, which is always quite a trip, but the public there is always very grateful. Especially for this tour "The Seekers" were reunited again after many years. After our return, we will record a new special in Vienna for ZDF, which will be broadcast on the 1st of October and is no less than two and half hours long. Pentecost weekend we will perform three concerts in the Amsterdam ArenA. Meanwhile we are busy preparing for our first tour to Brazil and for the first time we have Prague and Budapest included in our travel schedule. The interest keeps growing.
On Easter Monday the TROS aired our special of the flower island of Mainau, which produced 1.9 million viewers. We will also produce a special of the Vrijthof concerts for the TROS with lots of images of the city of Maastricht.
And afterwards, I will then finally take a vacation of a week or three. I solemnly promised that at home. Then I can enjoy a "Rieuke", since I have agreed to have my image displayed on a special glass of the "Brand" beer brewery. The proceeds of these glasses will go entirely for the renovation of the Museum at the Vrijthof. They should be available this summer. Cheers!! ... André Rieu
Thanks to Ineke for sending this and John for ©Translating it

3 comments:

Steph Padgett said...

God I am exhausted just reading it all. His uk tour did not culminate at the 02, that was his 2nd date so think he has got a bit confused with stuff there!Have to wonder if he will make it back here when you see all he is committed to.

Barbara said...

You are absolutely right Andre, music does bring people from all over the world together. Through your guestbook and also on face book i have spoken to fans in Australia- United Kingdom- Brazil, and it's just so nice to inter - act with other fans from all over the world who have one thing in common " YOU. " I would love to be in Maastricht when for the first time you play " And The Waltz Goes On " and i am sure that will be an emotional time for Anthony Hopkins and i am guessing for you as well when it is played for the first time for the public. You are a very caring and warm hearted person Andre, is it a wonder every body loves you. Love you Blue Eyes, Barb.

Chris T. said...

Thanks for the great update article. I look forward to hearing the Anthony Hopkins Waltz. I wonder if they'll be playing it on their U.S. tour?

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