When André Rieu comes to delight his north-east fans with his spectacular show at P&J Live he might – just might – be wearing a kilt.
“Yes, why not… I’ll do that,” said the King Of The Waltz in response to a slightly cheeky question on whether working Scottish musical themes into his Aberdeen show might extend to a touch of Highland wear for himself.
But kilt or not, one thing is sure… thousands will flock to see the maestro when he appears at P&J Live next April, along with his Johan Strauss Orchestra and ensemble in lavish costumes, spectacular setting, and classic music creating an unforgettable experience.
His previous north-east concert, at the AECC for Christmas in 2015, sold out almost instantly, packed the arena with fans and created a real buzz of excitement in Aberdeen.
It’s an experience violinist and conductor Andréis keen to have again.
Chance to see André Rieu on the big screen
“You have a new home (P&J Live), so I’m really looking forward to coming back to Aberdeen,” said the Dutch musical maestro, who was speaking from his home in Maastricht.
“I love the Scottish audience, and I don’t say that, just because I’m speaking to you. When we are in Glasgow or Aberdeen people love us and we love the Scots people. It clicks and you feel that from the moment you enter the hall.”
Which is why André always works some Scottish music into his show when he’s here – “They think, hey, he’s playing our music” – which is where the question about the kilt came in.
April might be a few months off, but fans will have a chance to see André performing sooner than that. His new film, Together Again, will be in cinemas for two nights on August 28 and 29.
It’s a taster for André’s long-awaited return to touring and performing around the world again. The movie features some of his favourite performances and shows from Sydney to New York, Bucharest to Mexico City, with his favourite show tunes, operatic arias and dance numbers.
André said: “It’s a substitute for being really in Aberdeen on stage, but at least we can be in the cinemas.
“Due to this terrible pandemic we had to postpone our concert again, so we’ve made a beautiful compilation.
Biggest classical music artist in the world
“It was rather difficult and beautiful to put this film together because we have so much material. My wife (Marjorie) and I were sitting there saying ‘oh my goodness, what can we squeeze in for one hour before the break, and one hour after?’
“But I think the result is marvellous.”
Which begs the question of whether he and Marjorie disagreed about what should go in and what should stay out of the film, which also sees him reflecting on his memories of performing around the world and meeting his fans.
“We’ve never had a disharmony in our marriage for 47 years,” said André. “I’m a really lucky guy to be married to her and working together is the same. We always feel the same about things and that’s a great blessing.
“People always say in a marriage, the doors must slam. I don’t know, but my doors are still there and still intact.”
It’s not just his marriage that has stood the test of time. André’s musical career has soared since he created the Johann Strauss Orchestra in 1987 with just 12 members, giving their first concert on January 1 1988.
He is now the biggest classical music artist in the world, with more than 40 million records sold worldwide and selling 700,000 concert tickets a year as he tours the globe.
André has been credited with making classical music more accessible to people, with his concerts staged as large-scale productions, full of not just some of the most-loved tunes of all time, but also dance, colour, and excitement. It’s a statement of intent from the musician.
Creating a spark with the audience
“I think the most important thing for me personally, is being on stage and creating an interaction with the audience. When you go to a so-called classical concert, the orchestra is here, the audience is there and the conductor has his back to the audience. It’s all beautiful, but there’s no interaction, no sparkle between the two.
“That is what I tried to create every night. My orchestra and me love to be on stage and playing this music and that spark of enthusiasm jumps over to the audience.”
Along with that goes André’s taste for spectacle – something for which he makes no apologies.
“When people drive 500 kilometres to come to a concert and they bought tickets and put themselves in beautiful clothes, I think you must give them more than only music because then they could sit at home and put a CD,” he said.
“For me, it’s an evening to make the people happy. So my girls have beautiful clothes and they love for themselves to be beautiful for the people. We have beautiful lights and a beautiful back screen. It is sort of bringing a dream to the people.”
None of which diminishes what is front and foremost for André. The music.
Not just classical either, his concerts take in everything from Strauss waltzes to arias to even a dash of Queen.
He said: “There is no border, for me, there is no difference between one and the other. There’s only good and bad music for me. So I play everything when it fits into my programme.”
“Of course, I’m a classical musician, I’m educated as a classical musician, and that’s what I like most. I think classical music is beautiful. But I look at the whole evening. At certain moments in the programme, I need a beautiful classic aria or then I go to a fantastic march. It’s just the thing I need for my programme and my heart tells me what to do.”
How to get tickets to see André Rieu
Given his love of music – and his glittering career – it’s inevitable to ask what he listens to at home. The answer is surprising.
“I never listen to music. My wife, and my sons, listen to music, as do all the people around me. I’ve so much music in my head that it’s good to be empty every now and then. But then I hear something and say ‘that’s good, what is that?’ And then I use it.”
André is excited at the prospect of audiences being able to share in his music again at cinemas later this month. But you can tell he is truly thrilled at the prospect of getting back on the road after the pandemic and heading for Aberdeen for his P&J Live concert on April 24 next year.
“In this pandemic, and after this pandemic, we need music. We need music to keep in touch with each other, to dream a way to be happy. I think that’s a very, very important thing in life. It’s our music.”
For tickets to see André Rieu’s Together Again, visit intl.andreincinemas.com
For tickets to see André Rieu live at P&J Live, go to www.pandjlive.com