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André falls ill in Mexico Six sold-out concerts in Mexico city. Four had to be cancelled.
Mexico City Six sold-out concerts from March 25 (Monday) to 30 (Saturday), 2024. The last four concerts had to be cancelled due to illness. The Limburger, March 28, 2024, by Tim Geurts Translation: Ineke and Alice Leung After six years of absence, André Rieu returned to Mexico this week for a series of six concerts. And those who attended those concerts saw Rieu, who came and conquered in the city where he has been immensely popular for over ten years. At least, that's how it seemed. Because less than 24 hours after his second performance, Rieu had to cancel his tour due to an acute attack of flu, accompanied by fever. And so Rieu's probably last Mexican visit comes to a sudden end. Perhaps in retrospect it was a forewarning of things to come, but on Tuesday evening, March 26 - Mexican time - just after his second concert on Mexican soil, Rieu talks about the difficult conditions in Mexico City. The Maestro is in a great mood after a more than successful performance for more than 10,000 frenzied Mexicans. But Rieu acknowledges that it doesn't all happen naturally. He tells this while he is having something to eat backstage with his orchestra around half past twelve and in the meantime he takes time for the press. “People are exceptionally enthusiastic here,” says Rieu. And that little help from the audience is welcome. “It's very tough this time, we've been traveling a lot lately and the jet lag has had a major impact. I'm also getting a day older. But honestly, everyone suffers from it.” And so Rieu is already playing with the thought that this could be his last Mexican tour. “I spoke to my wife Marjorie on the phone yesterday and I already said: I really don't want a first concert day of a tour like this anymore. I have to keep listening to my body, because I want to keep doing this for a long time.” Nosebleeds And Rieu is not the only one who is affected by the circumstances. Also because performing at an altitude of over two thousand meters demands a lot from a person. There is simply less oxygen. Dorona Alberti also knows. The 48-year-old from Maastricht who has been traveling the world with Rieu since January and whose voice is perhaps the most requested during the concerts. Her elongated opening note of "I Will Survive" alone drives the crowd wild, but for Alberti herself it's hard work. “Normally I hold that note a little longer. Today I really had to drink some water between the two songs. There was no other way for a while”. She laughs: “I already noticed it during rehearsals: I felt red in the face! That's because of the humidity here. We have all had a lot of nosebleeds in recent days.” The concert itself is quite an experience. It starts with the square in front of the Auditorio Nacional. The concert hall where Rieu should have performed six nights in a row. Anyone walking around in the morning before the concert will notice little of the Rieu madness. The square is a boarding point for the hop-on-hop- off buses that travel through the immense city, but otherwise it is eerily empty. How different it is more than eight hours later. The boulevard has turned into a large market. About sixty market stalls are set up and the theme is clear: André Rieu. Grab a piece of pie Everyone tries to benefit from the presence of Rieu and his orchestra. Whatever you think of, they sell it there. CDs, DVDs, sweaters, T-shirts, but also coffee mugs and bears with Rieu's name or image on them. All completely illegal by the way. Their own merchandise that Rieu brings with him is therefore immediately completely unnecessary. Rieu himself can laugh about it. This also applies to audiences who get more than their money's worth. From the very first minute, Rieu has the hall in his pocket. The 'André, André, André' is already chanted before the big boss has even set foot in the beautiful concert hall. Rieu is then at his best when he navigates between the grand gesture and those more intimate moments. When the exuberant Nessun Dorma of his own three tenors (from Tasmania, Hungary and Belgium) transitions into a performance by father Falize with his three sons. Within about five minutes it goes from a standing ovation to being able to hear a pin drop. Staying healthy Then, during the 45 minutes of encores, things really go wild. Because Rieu may not have been to Mexico for six years, but his audience still knows him. The same pattern follows after each song. Rieu tells his audience to go home, asks them to go to sleep, after which the 'no' from the audience becomes louder and louder. As always, Rieu gives in and starts the next song. There is no sign of the flu or a premature end to the concert. How different it is a day later. The four sold-out halls that were still looking forward to a performance by their hero were disappointed. No more Rieu this week and who knows, maybe never in Mexico again. Because when asked what his wishes for the future are, Rieu is remarkably modest after the concert. While the conductor used to talk about performing on the moon and the North Pole, the current wishes are a lot less spectacular. “I'm just trying to stay healthy so I can keep doing this for a long time. Maybe not in Mexico anymore, but still in all those other places.” In retrospect, these words turn out to be almost prophetic.
photocredits: The Limburger.
From The Limburger, March 29, 2024, by Kristel Schreurs André Rieu is back home in Maastricht. The Maestro was struck by acute flu on Wednesday. Pierre: “The altitude gain, the jet lag; and a circulating virus were enough to get my father, who is already 74 years old, down. He now needs rest to recover." Pierre knows that when his father says that things are no longer possible, it is serious. “I am proud of him, because I know how difficult it was for him to cancel the rest of the tour. Still, taking the chance and becoming unwell on stage is much worse. No, it is a well-considered decision. My father knows better than anyone what the consequences are. Not only did he have to disappoint 40,000 fans, the crew (125 people) also suddenly had to go home. The extra flights, returning the money for the purchased tickets, it quickly becomes a burden. And no, we are not insured for that!” Singer Emma Kok is back in the Netherlands. The orchestra is also on its way home. According to Pierre Rieu, his father intends to catch up on the canceled concerts. “But first: REST. England is scheduled in three weeks, something he is already looking forward to. We are going to take good care of him, so that he is back to his old self on April 18, 2024, in Liverpool.”
Dozens of stalls selling illegal fan items.
Interview with Emma Kok The Limburger, March 28, 2024, by Tim Geurts Emma Kok is also recognized and photographed on the streets in Mexico: 'If one comes, everyone comes' Your friends, who suddenly appear at your hotel door in Greece to celebrate your sixteenth birthday. Mexicans who approach you on the street for a photo. And the big boss gets sick, leaving you stuck with two Mexican performances instead of six. Emma Kok's life has changed in an unprecedented way in the last nine months. We meet Emma Kok in her hotel in Mexico City. The night before she performed for the first time in front of more than 10,000 people in the Auditorio Nacional. 24 hours later it is announced that the Rieu tour in Mexico is suddenly canceled. Recognized Emma's hotel is right across the street from the concert hall. That short distance was ideal, because it meant Emma could be in bed at 10 p.m. on Monday evening (March 25, first concert), Mexican time. Her performances are before the intermission and in view to her health (Emma has gastric paralysis and is therefore attached to a feeding tube 22 hours a day) and the jet lag, those extra hours of sleep are not a bad thing. She is used to it by now, performing in front of packed halls. All Rieu concerts in Mexico City are sold out again. Fans already know Emma Kok, thanks to Facebook and YouTube, since Emma has never been to Mexico until now. Perhaps that is why (thinking that no one would recognize her) she dared to walk past the countless André Rieu stalls - full of fake Rieu merchandise – on the square in front of the concert hall on Monday prior to the concert. And who was supposed to recognize her in Mexico? Well, that turned out to be different. “At one of the stalls a woman immediately came up to me: 'Emma, Emma'. We took a picture there and a little later someone came again. And yes, if one comes, everyone comes. We took a few more pictures, but then we quickly walked away," says the Limburg girl with a radiant smile. Dream Why not? The world is at her feet. Emma Kok is living her dream. On Tuesday it was announced that she will be allowed to perform during the Liberation Concert on the Amstel and the tour with Rieu will also continue for a while. At least until December, but Rieu must be crazy if he doesn't take her with him any longer after that, right? “I just let it all happen to me. I got on the train and I'll see where it ends up. It also remains unreal. Like Monday, those more than 10,000 Mexicans and that beautiful concert hall. I can see it happening, but I don't fully realize it.” What being known means becomes clear a little later. The interview in the hotel has only just begun when a woman breaks in to ask if she and her husband can have their picture taken with Emma. And so the interviewer on duty immediately becomes the photographer on duty. Emma's mother and father – who both travel along on the long trips – watch it happen with a smile and still a bit of disbelief. Like a consummate superstar, the teenager has her picture taken, after which the woman thanks her and adds: “This is also for my children, they love you.” The fact that her parents are both there during those long journeys - Chile and Colombia will also follow in September - is no luxury. André Rieu may travel the world with his own doctor for his orchestra, but in the case of Emma, something more is required. Her wheelchair and suitcases full of medicines, travel with the Kok family on trips like this. And her parents also admit that they never dreamed secretly that their daughter would be able to make such long trips at all. Jet lag Enjoyment is therefore the motto. Enjoy all those dreams coming true. “After all you also have to fit well in such an orchestra. That worked out for me. I feel completely at ease here, I am really happy.” Although there are sometimes problems. Anyone who travels to Mexico will have to deal with issues such as jet lag. Emma has noticed that. The flight went well with four films and some crocheting - one of her hobbies. But the first night in Mexico City she woke up at two in the morning. “Then I got up around four o'clock, watched some Netflix and went to the gym at half past five. That was a long day.” Now Emma Kok also needs those hours. At sixteen, she is of course still going to school. Although she does this while traveling and therefore online, that does not mean that she can get away with half the work. In fact, immediately after the interview, violinist and orchestra member Serena Vanheuverswijn reports to throw herself into her homework with Emma. And a little later the next orchestra member follows. Laughing: “I have found a study buddy and a kind of math teacher here in the orchestra. I just ask around: what are you good at?” The singer therefore does not rule out that other teachers will follow. “Now I had Dutch and math, but maybe that will be geography in April. Then I'll ask who is good at that. This way I alternate the teachers a bit.” Crash Finally, that sixteenth birthday that Emma celebrated two weeks ago in Greece. Because that was one she won't soon forget. It was known that her parents and her sister and brother would come to Greece, but that Rieu would also fly over her best friends the day before her birthday... the birthday girl had not counted on that. “I was in total shock. My brains crashed.” A day later during the first Greek performance it became even more beautiful. “First I was serenaded by André and the orchestra, but then all those Greeks also started singing for me in Greek. Bizarre, I had goosebumps all over.” Goosebumps that Emma usually gives her audience, as happened again on Tuesday evening in Mexico. Rieu doesn't even have to mention her name when he announces her. Her age is enough to make the crowd chant her name. Cheers fade away when she starts Voilá by Barbara Pravi (the Vrijthof version of that performance has been viewed more than 45 million times on YouTube) and start again after the last note. Emma Kok has received another standing ovation. You will notice that the emotions continue and afterwards the name “Emma” can be heard noticeably often among all that Spanish in the audience. Something that Emma Kok herself has not experienced. She has been lying on one ear in her hotel bed. Not knowing anything about all those fans who return home with her name on their lips and certainly not counting on that premature end that follows a day later when Rieu has to abandon the Mexican battle due to a sudden flu attack. He and Emma Kok are now back in the Netherlands. March 27, 2024: Emma on Instagram: Back home I slept for 14.5 hours, which is a record for me. Pierre replied: Dad is still sleeping!
Video: Shownieuws, April 17, 2024.
Limburger, April 15, 2024, By Ronald Colée André Rieu is back to his old self on the eve of three concerts in the United Kingdom: 'We are learning from Mexico' André Rieu and his Johann Strauss Orchestra had to cancel four concerts in Mexico at the end of March. “The long journey – Mexico City is a fourteen-hour flight away –, the time difference – in winter time it is seven hours earlier – and the high altitude – Mexico City is at an altitude of 2,240 meters – in combination with just a day of acclimatization and a flu attack forced my father to return home,” says Pierre Rieu. That sucks. For the fans, but also for the own organization that had prepared everything down to the last detail. But we were left with no other option.” According to Pierre Rieu, his father was very ill for a few days after which he slowly recovered. “After about a week he was completely back to normal.” The incident has ensured that long-distance travel will be closely scrutinized. “If we catch up on the four concerts in Mexico, it will not be before 2025 and we will take more into account things such as time to acclimatize. We are going to Chile this year – in September – and we are very much looking forward to it. But I don't see us going to Australia so quickly anymore.” According to Rieu junior, this is because his father is now 74. “We cannot deny that. So then you have to act smart about that. Because Australia is a 24-hour flight away, after which you suffer ten hours of jet lag in Sydney. Further and longer is not possible. When I go there with my 14-year-old children, they are already demolished. And then you're talking about holidays, not even about performance. Now I know that there will be people who say: 'What about Formula 1 drivers?' Then I say: they are half as old - or even younger - than my father." The first UK concert is scheduled for Thursday evening April 18, at the M&S Bank Arena in Liverpool, followed by Sheffield and Glasgow on Friday and Saturday. Pierre Rieu: “Then we return home.”
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