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Nov 29, 2011

André Rieu 2011 Christmas Special

For Months In a Christmas Atmosphere
Chapeau Nov/Dec 2011: It's not that we wanted to be first, but I think this year we decorated the Christmas tree much earlier than the garden centers which they normally do fairly early ... And with us it was not only "the Christmas tree" itself, but almost an entire pine forest, a complete larger than life nativity, a church, a castle, gardens, terraces, just to name a few.
It has been Christmas time in and around our castle since this summer, and even a "White Christmas"! And all that because of a request by ZDF (German TV Channel) to produce a huge Christmas Concert for Christmas Eve. Well, we knew that! First we thought about doing recordings at only one single location; for example, in a large barn, or in the caves of Valkenburg. But by now you know that we do not do things half way, we always prefer to produce something very special. Marjorie and I came up with more and more ideas, and we could envision them all.
In addition, my record company wanted to have a DVD for the U.S. market, titled: "Home for Christmas". So we transformed the garden of our castle "De Torentjes" ("The little towers") into a magical winter scene, completely in a Christmas atmosphere. Especially for the American market, we recorded pieces like "Jingle Bells" and "Walking in a Winter Wonderland" at the Casino Slavante, which was transformed for this occasion into a Swiss chalet, and decorated according to American standards with very many lights and glitter. The last part of the Christmas special was recorded in the St. Peter's Church, opposite our house, with the men’s choir "Maastreechter Staar" and the children’s choir "Sjamaas". Days, evenings and nights long we recorded everything. Now I understand why shooting a big Hollywood movie takes so long! When you want one minute of good material, you are busy for hours.
And it even resembled a bit of Hollywood, with all the attributes and techniques we acquired. The snow machines for instance, came from Hollywood and provided complete snow carpets. The fall of 2011 which was so extremely hot, we played with the orchestra dressed in heavy sweaters and woolen hats. With temperatures of 27 degrees Celsius (81F) at night, it was almost unbearable! The audience too sat in winter coats and fur hats on the terrace of Slavante, with Christmas bread and hot mulled wine, while they would have preferred a cool rosé, or a nice refreshing cool beer! But everyone still enjoyed the great atmosphere, including us as well as the public.

As a television special, this one was the biggest we have produced up until now. In fact it was as large an operation as the reconstruction of Schnbrunn castle, but this time the bookkeeping turned out a lot better! All in all, we’ll look back with pleasure on all the preparations and recordings. And the result is fantastic! Marjorie thinks (and she thinks that every time) this was the best we have ever produced. And we are also very proud that we again have been able to create another wonderful product in our own city. The progress of Maastricht in DVD land is unstoppable. For those who would like to view this special: it will be broadcast by ZDF on December 24th at 8.15PM. (CET) ZDF Television show, a mammoth production.

The television directing was done by Limburger Lida Huver, who previously directed the wonderful special of the flower island Mainau for us. The production itself, we, Marjorie and I, do ourselves together with our own people. No, there is not a ZDF director, or someone from Hollywood involved. We do appreciate the fact that ZDF trusts us in that aspect, and by now we know so very well what we want, so that everything almost goes automatically. Well sort of, but all by itself? No, of course not ... it too was an incredible amount of work. Marjorie sighed: "I thought you wanted to take it a little easier, we have never been busier!"
And "In between" we also did, as it happened, our normal tours, such as to America and Mexico where the audience went crazy again. This year we will again go to America and will also do a few performances in the neighborhood, such as in Brussels, Hasselt and Arnhem. In the meantime we are also very busy with the preparation for the first performances in Brazil in May. The way it looks right now, it is going to explode there, since there seems to be so much interest there. It is possible that we might have to go back there again in the summer, so that for us will become a new and important destination ... But in the meantime our family and grandchildren will definitely take time to really celebrate Christmas, which I find every year for myself to be a wonderful time of relaxation and cozy togetherness. We do not need to put up the Christmas tree any more,  everything is ready and that does make a difference ... André Rieu

Thanks to Ineke and John for the Translation of this article

2 comments:

Val said...

What a lovely article about Andre and Marjorie's Christmas Special. Wish we could see it here in Australia. Having finally visited Maastricht and seeing Andre's home (October we were there), I can now picture it all, including the Church across the road! Thanks Sue, Ineke and Ruud for your efforts in keeping us in touch with all things "Andre". cheeRIEU, Val :)

Marianna Schoeman said...

Is it possible to get the new DVD: Home for Christmas in South Africa. I really do want it!

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Pierre and André September 30, 2016 Maastricht

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Photo Taken at Mexico City Concert ~ September 2013

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