Australian soprano experiencing nationwide premiere of her second solo show in Maastricht
"My Favorite Things"
Mirusia, the muse of André Rieu
By Peter van de Berg: Eventually a day will come when André Rieu and his violin will be the special guest in her program. At least in Mirusia Louwerse’s dreams. It is a fervent wish of the Australian soprano who has Dutch roots. "I would really truly love to see that", she says with a smile. "André means so much to me. He is my mentor, a father figure. I always call him "Uncle André" and I am very thankful to him. He often gives me advice. When I am on stage with him, I am never nervous. Then I know everything is going to be alright."
Rieu’s muse, as she is described on billboards, does not hide the fact of her admiration for the orchestra leader. From 2007 until 2012 she toured with Rieu and his Johann Strauss orchestra all over the world. Currently Mirusia Louwerse (29) performs on her own and is no longer present at every Rieu concert. She again resides in Australia, where she is a world star, but also maintains a residence in Maastricht, where tomorrow the second national premiere of her solo show "My Favorite Things" will take place. "I enjoy coming to Maastricht. I can easily walk along and shop here without being pestered. I like that. I totally feel at home here."
Mirusia’s parents immigrated in 1980 to Brisbane. She was born in Australia and followed courses in classical singing at the Brisbane Conservatory. Through her Aunt Els from Vlissingen, the city where the family Louwerse originally hailed from, she became part of André Rieu’s organization. "My aunt had heard that André was looking for a soloist so she sent him an e-mail with my website. One day later in Australia, our phone rang; André Rieu wanted to speak with me. It was a complete surprise as I did not know anything about my aunt’s actions. Could I come to Maastricht? Which of course I did. We immediately clicked. A week later I returned to Australia with a Rieu contract in my pocket."
Mirusia Louwerse told me the story with sparkling eyes and an English accent. Even though she grew up "Down Under", she speaks very good Dutch. "My entire life I have been surrounded by people who speak Dutch. I learned English through music. As a toddler I came in contact with Australian children’s songs." Since her first performance with the world famous violinist’s orchestra, she speaks to the imagination of the fans. Mirusia Louwerse was immediately christened as "Rieu’s Angel." Her version of "Ave Maria" during the 2008 Vrijthof concerts has been viewed more than five million times on YouTube. She is quite impressed. "It seems like a fairy tale. I could never have dreamed that when I started singing - It is wonderful."
Her singing career started during her fourteenth year with country songs. They formed the basis for her current existence as a classical songstress. "I want to touch people with my songs, that is my goal. Talent shows have taught me how to stand on stage. My parents never forced me to choose music, I wanted that. I can still remember how often my Mom would have to call me for dinner when I was in my bedroom rehearsing songs."
British songstress Sarah Brightman is an inspiration. She combines pop songs tinged with operatic arias. Popera as Mirusia likes to call that. "Admittedly I am a soprano, but I do not like to sing opera pieces the entire evening. I find that boring. My show will have some pop music in its musical repertoire, a nice variation. I composed one song myself called "Journey", that is about sailing. On the water you are free. You can sing as loud as you like. Anyway, I love sailing, and in Brisbane I can do that to my heart’s content.Totally being yourself."
The youngest winner of the prestigious Dame Joan Sutherland Award (2006) will perform her second solo show accompanied by an orchestra and an Australian choir. "I am looking forward to the premiere. It is going to be a wonderful evening and I am very proud that I have been afforded this opportunity."
Translation by John