André is in Rome 22 June 2023
Maastricht, June 22, 2023. André Rieu can prepare himself for a special meeting. The Maastricht violinist reports on social media that he is allowed on an audience with Pope Francis on Friday June 23rd. “Greetings from Rome!” writes 73-year-old Rieu with a photo in which he is standing on the square in front of the Pantheon. “I look forward to my meeting with Pope Francis tomorrow!” Rieu will be back in his own country next month. Between 6 and 23 July he will give a total of twelve concerts at the Vrijthof in Maastricht.
Jo Cortenraedt. Chapeau Magazine. Friday, June 23, 2023. Today André Rieu had an audience with Pope Francis in Rome. The Maastricht musician had flown over especially for it. André Rieu flies back this afternoon and then he has to get back to work immediately. Tomorrow evening, he will perform with his orchestra in Liverpool, a concert that was postponed due to the Eurovision Song Contest. "On Monday morning we also have a rehearsal for the Vrijthof concerts. But I didn't want to miss this." It was a special reception of about 200 artists, mainly from Italy. “I thought it was a great honor to be invited here, it was really very special,” says Rieu from Rome. “It was in the Sistine Chapel, which is of course already an incredibly beautiful setting. The Pope gave a special speech at the beginning and he spoke really nice words. His message was that we should live more in harmony. Well, that's exactly what I've been doing with my music all my life.” Rome is the favorite city of André Rieu and his family, where they go privately for a few days every year. “The last time was two months ago. Special that I was there again, but then purely for this audience. The Pope, despite being in a wheelchair, looked good having only recently come out of hospital.”
André Rieu enjoyed his meeting with Pope Francis very much. After the audience in the Vatican, the Limburg violinist said that he found the meeting, in which he shook Pope Francis's hand, "fantastic". For the 50th anniversary of the collection of modern and contemporary art in the Vatican Museums, the Pope received two hundred artists from different countries. André Rieu and architect Rem Koolhaas had come to Rome from the Netherlands. The Pope also gave a speech. “He talked a lot about HARMONY. I am a musician and harmony is the most beautiful and important thing in life. With my concerts every night, I want to bring harmony and joy to people all over the world,” says the violinist.
Photo credits: Vatican Media.
From: The New York Times of June 23, 2023. By Elisabetta Povoledo, reporting from Vatican City. Elisabetta Povoledo is a reporter based in Rome and has been writing about Italy for more than three decades. Thanks to Joan M. Hopkins for bringing the article to our attention. Pope Hosts Artists in Sistine Chapel, Even Some Who Attracted Controversy. The event was part of a broader effort to engage with artists as the Roman Catholic Church did in the past. Pope Francis also urged them to pursue social justice through their work. As Pope Francis met with dozens of international artists at the Sistine Chapel on Friday, he sought both to reaffirm the Roman Catholic Church’s commitment to artistic endeavors and to enlist the artists to act as catalysts for change in areas like social justice. Yet as the group sat amid Renaissance frescoes by the likes of Michelangelo, Botticelli and Perugino — undisputedly one of the high points of papal art patronage — not all of those present had a traditional religious bent. Among them were the American artist Andres Serrano, whose photograph “Piss Christ,” an image of a plastic crucifix submerged in a tank full of urine, was considered blasphemous when it debuted in 1987. On Friday, Francis blessed Mr. Serrano and gave him a cheery thumbs up. “I was surprised to be invited and even more surprised that he gave me a thumbs up,” Mr. Serrano said afterwards. “And I was very happy that the church understands that I am a Christian artist and I am not a blasphemous artist. I’m just an artist.” The gathering was held to mark the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Vatican Museum’s Collection of Modern and Contemporary Art. Inaugurated by Pope Paul VI in June 1973, the collection includes works by Van Gogh, Francis Bacon, Marc Chagall and Matisse, and pieces by contemporary artists like the photographers Rinko Kawauchi, Bill Armstrong and Mimmo Jodice and the new media artists’ collective Studio Azzurro. Nine years before, Paul VI had convened artists at the Sistine Chapel to try to bridge a gap that had emerged between the church and contemporary artists, a contrast with the fruitful collaboration that had existed for centuries. The contemporary art museum was one outcome of that meeting. For Friday’s gathering, there was no “master plan” in the choice of artists, said Bishop Paul Tighe, secretary in the Vatican’s culture and education office. They included the Brazilian musician Caetano Veloso, the British director Ken Loach and the British-Indian sculptor Anish Kapoor. Some were known to the Vatican, and others had been recommended for the event. “And then we had some favorites we wanted there,” Bishop Tighe laughed, without specifying who that might be. The inclusion of writers and artists working in nonvisual media signaled a desire to “broaden out the engagement of the church with artists,” he said, noting that in recent years the church had made incursions into events like the Venice Biennale. “We want to move into the world of the arts, get to literary festivals, music and just engage,” Bishop Tighe said. “And to be there as part of the dialogue and presence.” Francis told the group that “neither art nor faith can leave things simply as they are: They change, transform, move and convert them. Art can never serve as an anesthetic; it brings peace, yet far from deadening consciences, it keeps them alert.” The artists in attendance said they were honored to have been invited, and moved by the pope’s words. “I was touched by his words about harmony, because I am a musician and every concert we give is about harmony,” said André Rieu, a Dutch violinist and conductor, referring to some of the pope’s words, like “true beauty is a reflection of harmony.” Francis also called on the artists to “not forget the poor.” They, too, “have need of art and beauty,” and usually “have no voice to make themselves heard” — words that resonated with the British film director Ken Loach. “It’s very clear from what the pope says that he is demanding social justice, and harmony in the world, which those in power are destroying in the way they destroy the planet,” Mr. Loach said later. “He told us to remember the poor — I think he means with social justice, which means giving power to the poor, not just a few pence from your pocket.” David Van Reybrouck, the Belgian cultural historian and author, gave Francis a copy of his book “Congo: The Epic History of a People.” He called the pope’s visit there in February “an extremely important event in the history of the country.” And he said he had thanked Francis for his encyclical on the environment “Laudato Si,” or “Praise Be.” “There are few religious leaders who have been so strong and so bold and so brave when it comes to tackling climate change,” Mr. Van Reybrouck said, noting his gratitude for having been included in the gathering. “The density of artistic talent in a few square meters has rarely been so high,” he said. Mr. Serrano said that despite the controversy that greeted some of his work, he hoped that some of his recent photographs of a Pietà, an image of the Virgin Mary contemplating the dead Christ on her lap, would be admitted into the Vatican’s collection. Mr. Serrano also said he was sure that Francis had known exactly who he was when giving him the earlier thumbs up with a smile. “It was a great, mischievous smile,” Mr. Serrano said. Asked about the decision to invite artists whose work has drawn controversy, Bishop Tighe said that artists had the ability to be provocative, “to waken us up, call us to a new alertness and a new consciousness.” “I think,” he added, “we all just have to work on the presumption of good faith of the artist who is trying to say something challenging something, and may sometimes have to resort to strong measures to waken us up.” Note: Among the 200 invited artists were two Dutchmen: André Rieu and Rem Koolhaas. Remment Lucas Koolhaas, (born 17 November 1944) is a Dutch architect, architectural theorist, urbanist and Professor in Practice of Architecture and Urban Design at the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University. He is often cited as a representative of Deconstructivism and is the author of Delirious New York: A Retroactive Manifesto for Manhattan. He is seen by some as one of the significant architectural thinkers and urbanists of his generation, by others as a self-important iconoclast. In 2000, Rem Koolhaas won the Pritzker Prize. In 2008, Time put him in their top 100 of The World's Most Influential People. He was elected to the American Philosophical Society in 2014.
Rem Koolhaas, Dutch architect.
Interview with André, by “Shownieuws”, June 23, 2023. Duration: 2 min.30. Translation and Subtitles by Ruud and Ineke, since John is preparing his travel to Maastricht. John and Bobbie: We’ll meet again very soon! The Pope said it all: the name HARMONY Parlor for our fan group (thanks to Sonja Harper, who came up with this name in 2002 for the chatbox on her translations-website) was the best choice ever!
Sistene Chapel. André is on the left side.
RTL Boulevard, interview with André Rieu in Rome. June 23, 2023. 1 min.52
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