Sunday, 23 December 2012

Andre Rieu in Newcastle

I can't believe this is a whole week since! But it is... Last Saturday we went over to Newcastle to see violinist Andre Rieu with his fabulous Johann Strauss Orchestra.

We really only came across him a year ago when there was a Christmas concert on TV and we enjoyed the mix of classical and easy listening music and the humour that is displayed throughout.

Then Sky Arts has shown a whole series of concerts during the year and we have supplemented them with a few DVDs and almost every week now seems to include an Andre night!

I think it was somewhere around September by the time I realised he was doing a UK tour and by then most tickets had long gone. It was a toss up between heading over to Newcastle or down to Birmingham, but I managed to get two tickets facing the stage but up in the gods, on the third tier right at the back of Newcastle's Metro Radio Arena, but they were on the front row of the tier.

The above photo gives some idea of how far back we were, but I've included it also for a lovely bit of humour that it shows. Whilst the orchestra were playing White Christmas, way above the second block on the main floor a snow machine is at work, dumping an inch or two of snow on top of the audience in that block. TV cameras picked out some of the more hilarious reactions onto the big screens at each side of the stage and at the end of the song the machine let fall an absolute avalanche!

It was the orchestra's twenty fifth anniversary Andre explained and he had brought with him some guests that we have seen on the DVD and Sky concerts. Frédéric Jenniges was there with his zither to play the Tales from Vienna Woods and of course the theme from The Third Man and to entertain us by puffing and blowing with boredom whilst waiting for the orchestra to get round to his bit! Hilarious!

There was also the St Petersburg Trio, a threesome of Russian musicians with a mandolin, accordion and the biggest bass balalaika you've ever seen!

But on the photo above I've chosen one of the regular soloists, the gorgeously scrumptious Carmen Monarcha. Andre jokes that wherever the orchestra go she leaves a trail of devastation amongst the hearts of men! I can well understand it!

And so I'll include another photo of her with the other regular soloists, Kimmi Skota and Carla Maffioletti with the Platin Tenors. The Platins are always a high spot when watching an Andre Rieu concert though it may seem an unlikely combination of Hungarian, Australian and German singers. For me Thomas Greuel, the German singer, has the best tenor voice but together they project such power and jollity into their music that my face must light up whenever they walk on stage!

We had a fabulous night and, I've no doubt, will have many Andre Rieu nights to come in 2013!

Large versions of the photos: All the photos we took are in this set at Flickr.

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