When someone talks about classical music and only dust and boredom comes to your mind, you are mistaken. The largest living proof of the opposite arrives to Budapest on 31 May: André Rieu.
The Dutch violinist and conductor always has something new to show. Maybe not as strange as my favourite Rieu moment, when someone dressed as a bull chased a red dressed woman during the show, but I’m sure it will be great. We can always expect something special from this unconventional virtuoso artist.
Rieu, who is known for the spectacular stage elements and his consumable performance comes from a family of musicians, grew up in a classical music surroundings. Learned to play the violin in the Conservatory of Liège, Maastricht and Brussels and also took private lessons from Herman Krebbers.
Nowadays he’s best known for his waltz-playing Johann Strauss Orchestra. They tour the world since the mid-90's with performances with the size and revenue which is only seen from pop and rock stars. Since the beginning they have turned classical music into a worldwide beloved music act, which attracts people who has never thought before that they are interested in classical music.
Thereby slowly Rieu became known as the "Waltz King". Once he answered a journalist's question, which asked why the waltz is his dearest musical genre, Rieu responded the Waltz for him is like a mirror of life that could be happy or sad.
The Johann Strauss Orchestra now performs with 50 - 60 musicians and it has become an integral concept with Rieu’s name. As the violinist stated: „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?”
Critics usually find fault with that style note that I (and millions of fans) love. They say Rieu performs music too popularly, but in fact this is exactly why tens of thousands are at every concert of his. These are special occasions when people are humming with the musicians and dancing in their seats. All the more so because in addition to the classics he usually plays pieces of popular music as well, like the Godfather’s theme song or Mary Poppins’.
For me Rieu is one of the greatest living artists, who has performed almost all over the world. He has won many awards including two World Music Awards, his recordings have gone gold and platinum in many countries and ranks high on Billboard's list of the Top 25 Tours all year. Rieu also received several state honors, like the “Knight of the Order of the Netherlands Lion” (Netherlands, 2002), „Honorary Medal of the Province of Limburg” (Netherlands, 2009) and „Knight of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres” (France, 2009)
If you don’t want to miss this amazing show (I wouldn’t), head to the Papp László Budapest Sportaréna on 31 May and enjoy!