April 5, 2019.By Lorelei Hunt.André’s Magic in Cluj!André Rieu, four concerts with closed house, sold-out for some time! It was a short, nice, and also an emotional visit, highlighted by Andre's concerts and the reason we went there. We had two very early and tiring flights. But that is what happens. ALL of the concerts are wonderful but these were so special to me!The atmosphere was generous with all who were there present for Andre's Music! The city was dressed in Spring elegant clothes made of flowers.Cluj-Napoca, in German: Klausenburg, in Hungarian: Kolozsvár, commonly known as CLUJ, is the fourh most popular city in Romania, located on the Somesul Mic River valley, and the city is considered the unofficial capital of the historical province of Transylvania, dating back to Saxon and Hungarian rule.The first concert was on the day of our arrival, Thursday April 4th 2019.The city welcomed us with nice Spring weather, all ready to celebrate the music and the presence of André, The King of The Waltz, and his JSO!Of course, our first destination was to the place where the concerts were going to be performed the Polivalenta Hall (BT Arena), situated on the Bank of the Somesul Mic River (“the Little Somes”, as the locals call it).The first person I met, and it was a delight, was Frank Steijns who was on his way to the concert. He was in a hurry to dress for the first concert, but he had enough time for a quick photo with him.Our concert was the second one, April 5th 2019. Smiles, tears, waltzes, emotions! My first concert in my homeland! André Rieu, for the first time in front of the Romanian public. People came from all over the country and abroad. We met some families from Germany, from England, France and Hungary !In Cluj he managed to create a fairy-tale atmosphere with his concerts. From an impeccably sound, to all other small and large details, colourful balloons, artificial snowflakes, not in just the way in which the scene was arranged, but also the pastel colours of the ladies, and the gentle costumes of the gentlemen, as we all know, from all his concerts! The music played by André Rieu in Cluj, and with the musicians of the Johann Strauss Orchestra, is timeless. The famous violinist showed that he values punctuality and respects time every evening. There were some unique moments towards the end of the concert, performed by the legendary Gheorghe Zamfir on the stage. Starting with The Lonely Shepherd, the old traditional dance "Ciuleandra " and finishing with the old song: "I got up The Hill of Cluj”.In fact, beyond all these, I think André Rieu's great merit is another one:He leaves prints in the soul of the people who come and attend his concerts, who come to listen to his music, to listen to his curiosity about the music produced with classical instruments, and those people, few or more, will perhaps be part of the select audience of the concert halls and the great orchestras!It WAS MAGIC !Our last night in Cluj, the third concert, on Sunday night, my husband Kavan and I were coming back from the restaurant where we had dinner and spent the last hours in Cluj.When we were coming back to our hotel, we passed again the place of the concert Arena .The concert had just finished, the streets were full of people, delighted, happy, talking about the event of the night!Just as we passed a door, it was the exit for the performers, many of the members of JSO were there waiting, preparing to leave in the coaches, which would bring them back to the hotel. So, I took some photos with some of the musicians of JSO.Not long after, just when I was ready to leave, still waiting at the door, I could see a well-known silhouette coming towards the door... ! Nobody else, BUT André!I wanted to introduce myself. I had no time, he said my name! I was frozen, I couldn't move away from the door. He opened it, my legs already shaking under me. My husband was in a good state of mind and pulled the camera out from my hand...Then André said.. " who will take the photo..? " I said: “My husband..", but my voice was gone... anyway, NOT the best photos, not the way I would have wanted my first photo with Maestro. It was dark, just some light from the room behind us, one of the bodyguards tried to help, the situation became worse, because the light covered my face. He smiled at me and after one or two photos with some other fans, he left, even if some others remained there wanting to fulfil their big wish, but being disappointed...! He went to the coach, looked at me once again, winked at me, smiled and got onto the bus, sat down in the first seat, checking his phone.I followed him and remained there, without being able to move. It was better... he looked towards me once again, smiled again, and waved... The coach driver started the engine... and... the buses left... I was not able to move myself from that place for a few minutes... did not sleep that night... just left for the airport at 3:30 in the morning....Thank you Cluj - Romania! Thank you, André Rieu & JSO!
Photo from left to right:Rodica Trasca, Eva Lia Szigeti, Lorelei Hunt.
From left to right: Rodica Trasca, Lorelei Hunt, Oana Boc (the Mayor’s wife), Elena Oprea (who works with Sjef Jansen, André’s promotor in Romania). Sjef Jansen hails from Maastricht. At the right photo you see Sjef Jansen with the Mayor of Cluj (the one with glasses, who attended ALL of the concerts!), Rodica and Lorelei.
Combining actual technology with talent, this piece of art was created in more than 50 hours of work. A 450-nail frame, made in the shape of a circle with 60 centimeters in diameter. 5,000 overlapping thread lines and over 3 kilometers of thread were used for this piece. Every thread line overlapped over the others is increasing the densitiy. Depending on the number of overlapping lines, darker or lighter areas are created. In this way the facial features that form André Rieu’s portrait were created.
Three Romanian chefs accompany André & JSO all over the world. They are the ones that make sure André Rieu and his entire team have everything they need for their meals. Because they were so happy that André returned to Romania, they prepared a special present which totally surprised André: a handmade weaven portrait.
Lorelei Hunt hails from Romania, lives in the UK and is married to Kavan.
Sjef Jansen with Romanian fans in Maastricht.(Fan picnic, Gary Bennett was there too).
Sjef Jansen and Elena Oprea in Maastricht.
Lorelei on Facebook:The most emotional moment of the concert was almost to the end...The moment when Gheorghe Zamfir started to play a very old, traditional song for the Cluj region,"I've Climbed The Hills of Cluj”.The audience stood up singing with Maestro Zamfir.André stopped playing, so did the musicians of the orchestra. André turned towards the audience being overwhelmed by the unison of the voices with the sound of panpipe…Being so close to the stage, I could read the deep emotions on his face and on the other musician’s faces too .