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Jan 7, 2012

ANDRÉ RIEU On His Love of Butterflies

ANDRÉ RIEU On His Love of Butterflies
Jan.1, 2011: The violinist and conductor has sold more then 30 millions albums and has been responsible for a revival of the waltz. He lives in a castle in Maastricht, in the Netherlands where he has created his own butterfly house.
I am in love with butterflies. There is something romantic about their short beautiful lives. I have been interested in nature from as early as I can remember. I always loved flowers and birds and nature and butterflies. I took in sick pigeons and would aide them in my room without telling my mother. I also had a snake and frogs. The first time I was in a butterfly garden one stopped on my shoulder. It was amazing, I felt touched by beauty.  
People always ask how many Ferraris I have or how many swimming pools, but I only had one dream and that was to have an orangery with beautiful butterflies in it and now I have it. 
We have about 200 to 250 butterflies of about 15 to 20 different kinds in the orangery. We buy the cocoons in Costa Rica and support the community there. They are sent to us and we then put them in a warm place in the orangery for them to hatch.  
My favorite butterfly is the Blue Morpho butterfly. They are an exquisite blue, but they are naughty, because they always close their wings when I want to photograph them. Photographing the butterflies and the wildlife is one way I wind down from a tour and relax.  
We had one butterfly, an Attacus Atlas, which was huge. They can have a wing span of 25cm. I didn't think it would live long enough for me to see it as I was on tour in America when it hatched. When I came home there it was, it had held on and I was so moved.  
After a tour I cannot wait to visit the orangery. Once inside you walk into another life, another atmosphere, another dimension. When I have had a hectic day I go in there. In winter is is very fantastic as it is so hot. In there it is my time. It is where I relax, unwind, sit and contemplate. Inspiration comes like lightning in the orangery.  
It took four years to build because it is all handmade by a blacksmith. It is ornate and Gothic, which I designed, but it was also a family project, we all got involved. We started to build it eight years ago. I went to an antique shop and bought old stones and statues. It started out costing 200,000 Euros, but I am not going to say how much it cost in the end. I didn't get any planning permission so it is on the blacklist by the local authorities as they saw it on television and they want to demolish it. In Holland they are terrible when it comes to planning, but they will demolish it over my dead body.  
As well as butterflies I have fish in the orangery and birds that don't make noise. I have a separate aviary for those. We have finches and I love to take photographs of the birds. We have four gardens and three gardeners. The head gardener has been with us for 10 years and he looks after the butterflies as I am on tour a lot. Work has already started on a monastery garden. Making a garden is fantastic. I love creating them and thinking about how they will look 10 years further. A good garden takes 40 years. I always have to have projects. When one is finished I must have another one.  
I am a big fan of David Attenborough, but I have never met him. I am interested in green issues, but I use my brain as well as my heart. I am pragmatic. My wife Marjorie and myself plant trees in Burkina Faso in Africa in a little place called Niu. We have been doing that for 30 years and now it is a small wood. We try to help the people with not just money, but also with education. However sometimes I feel some groups don't like me interfering in environmental matters. They say I should stick to playing the violin as it is not my territory.  
My love of butterflies is apt given that live musical performances are intensely beautiful, but fleeting. The butterfly's life is short, only three weeks and I suppose it is likea metaphor for my musical life.

From The Saturday Express by Jane Clinton
And Thank You to Patricia Smith for Scanning and sending this to us!

8 comments:

Margaret S said...

Thanks Patricia and Sue!

Rose Gregg said...

Ah, Andre - the planning authorities seem to like to make life difficult for many people - not just in Holland. Instead of appreciating the beauty they are spoiled sports. I love your orangerie and hope that they never have the opportunity to knock it down.

Alice said...

You could imagine how excited he was when he posted in Tweeter a picture of his butterfly opening its wings for him the first time. I've always enjoyed the things and pics that Andre shared with us. The garden, the dogs, the food, the grandbabies, just like what a family would share! LOVE that guy!

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful interview! I have not seen it before! I really enjoyed it very much! Thanks Patricia.
Ineke.

Patricia said...

I'm glad everyone loved the interview as much as I did. I can't take the credit for finding it though, it was given to me by my friend Jill. I have all my friends well-trained to send me ANYTHING they find on Andre.

Rhonda said...

go for it Andre,its beautiful,stand your grounds,we too have bullies when it comes for building, if they don't like it,they will not pass it,creatures too need a safe haven to live,even if its a short life.

Val said...

A lovely article to read. We were at the Melbourne Zoo a few days ago with our grandchildren, and I thought of Andre and his butterflies as we walked through the beautiful Butterfly area at the Zoo. It was very peaceful and I totally understand why Andre loves being amongst them.Thanks to all concerned for posting. cheeRIEU, Val, Melbourne :)

Patricia said...

I have always adored butterflies since I was a child. Where I live in Portsmouth one of our local museums has a butterfly house and I have spent many happy times in there. It is warm and the butterflies fly around your head, as Andre says it is very relaxing to just sit there. Patricia

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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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"Hello to all my fans on The Harmony Parlor!"

Soundcheck in Maastricht 2013 (RTL Photo)

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