Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 22 July 2014

Review: Andre Rieu and his Strauss Orchestra, Odyssey Arena, Belfast

Dictionary definition of a great night out

After rescheduling last September's show, superstar violinist and conductor Andre Rieu made it to Belfast last night.

Rieu brought his magnificent, 50-piece Johann Strauss Orchestra to the Odyssey Arena, and the mulletted maestro said all the right things.

“We play across the whole world,” he cooed, “from north to south, east to west, on every continent. But the best audience in the whole world ...”

He didn't need to finish the sentence.

Eyebrow raised like a hirsute, tuxedo-clad Roger Moore, the droll Dutchman charmed the pants off this sold-out crowd.

Belfast is “the most joyful audience in the whole world”, and this was “the most beautiful evening of my whole life”.

Latecomers were ribbed (“We are from Holland and we were on time ...”) and people were coaxed to dance in the aisles.

Having topped the pop charts Rieu (61) has a lot to smile about — he didn't stop grinning from the start of this near-three-hour spectacular to the end.

There were waltzes, tangos, operettas, selections by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Richard Clayderman, and even a couple of Michael Jackson tunes.

Rieu was ably assisted by a plethora of talented guests, from a trio of tenors, to vocalist Kimi Skota from South Africa, to a children's choir.

It was classical music writ arena-sized — larger than life, accessible and entertaining. If you're one of those odd people whose dictionary has pictures in it, look up ‘extravaganza' and André Rieu should be there.

ANDREW JOHNSTON

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