André Rieu & his Johann Strauss Orchestra
Menora Mivtachim Arena, Tel Aviv
Dutch maestro André Rieu and his Johann Strauss Orchestra are in Israel for a series of three festive concerts at Tel Aviv’s Menorah Mivtachim Arena, where they had a packed stadium of almost 10,000 fans clapping, tapping and singing along with their energetic renditions of “Hevenu Shalom Aleichem,” “Hava Nagila” and classical favorites on Friday night.
“It’s fantastic for you to be together with us for a whole evening filled with music. I said deliberately ‘together with us,’ because that’s the beautiful thing about music, ladies and gentlemen. Music brings people together.”André Rieu
“It’s fantastic for you to be together with us for a whole evening filled with music. I said deliberately ‘together with us,’ because that’s the beautiful thing about music, ladies and gentlemen. Music brings people together,” Rieu remarked at the opening of the show, which started at exactly 8:30 p.m. He even rebuked a group of people walking in late, saying, “In Holland, we like to start on time.”
To warm applause from the crowd, Rieu said that after almost three years of COVID-19, it was now finally possible to enjoy music together again. Thanking his orchestra and everyone else who contributed to the success of the show, he noted that his musicians hail from 14 countries, including superb soloists – three male tenors and three female sopranos – from Tasmania, Hungary, Belgium, Germany, the US and the Netherlands.
“And where did we all come together tonight?” he asked. “In the center of the universe. Welcome to Tel Aviv!”
The King of the Waltz
Rieu, known to his millions of fans around the world as the “King of the Waltz” and the “King of Romance,” presents a spectacular show, chatting and joking with the audience as well as his musicians and singers, while adeptly playing his Stradivarius violin and conducting the 60-member ensemble that he created in 1987.
From the outset, when Rieu and his musicians wave as they walk through the aisles on their way to the stage, until the standing ovation at the end, they go hammer and tongs to entertain and amuse their audience. Their costumes and the stage set are colorful and extravagant, and as they woo you with famous arias and popular waltzes, singing and dancing, they also keep you on your toes with special effects, such as dropping snowflakes from the ceiling. It’s a genuine old-fashioned musical stage performance with a mixture of schmaltz and shticks.
Aged 73 (his birthday was on October 1), Rieu lives in his native Maastricht with his wife, Marjorie Kochmann, with whom he has two sons, Marc and Pierre.
After their run in Tel Aviv, Rieu and his orchestra are scheduled to perform in Lisbon, Vienna, Bratislava, Skopje, Belgrade, Zagreb, Ljubljana, Salzburg and Sofia in November, before returning to the Netherlands in December.
Rieu said that during their current global tour, they have received many letters of appreciation from all over the world, including from doctors, one of whom had been worked for 25 years at his hospital. “Then comes the head nurse and plays the DVD of your joyful orchestra, and suddenly my patients don’t need me anymore,” Rieu quoted the doctor as saying. “Apparently, there is a healing power in music,” Rieu added. “Nothing goes as deep into your soul as music. And I hope that I can go on making music together with my fantastic orchestra for the rest of my life!”