Peggy at The Semper Opera in Dresden, Germany

Dresden ~ August 22, 2008 by Peggy

Actually, I was not looking forward to travel to Dresden, but one has to set ones priorities. In any event, my Friday began relatively early, to be precise at four o'clock in the morning! I had packed my bags the day before and just had to get myself ready by 04:45 to go by taxi to the airport! At the airport, I checked in first, and then I started looking for Beate and Christa, because they were on the exact same flight as I. Eventually, I met up with them and we entertained ourselves until we boarded our plane. With a slight delay, our plane left shortly after half past six and just before half past seven we were already in Dresden. After we finally gathered our luggage, all three of us were on the way to our hotel and had a chance to see a little bit of Dresden. Our taxi driver was very nice and told us a lot about this historic city so that our first impressions could be formed.

Since I was the first one to reach my hotel, I quickly checked my bag and what a surprise, in front of the hotel were the tour buses! Fortunately, a lift attendant who took my luggage, was in front of the hotel, and I asked him directly whether Mr. Rieu was also staying here. He told me that he was staying in another hotel, but I did not really want to believe him. In any event, we then drove to the next hotel, which is located next to the Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady). After the other two checked into the hotel, we went straight for breakfast and sat directly across the Frauenkirche in a nice bistro. After our little meal, I met my sister a short time later, who is not a Rieu fan. Christa and Beate made their way to the Semper Opera and since my sister was hungry, the two us went to the closest Coffee shop. After breakfast, sightseeing was announced and so we visited the Frauenkirche, the Semper Opera, the Zwinger, etc., etc. In the afternoon we made our way back to the hotel to be with my family.

At 19:00 (7 PM) we made our way towards the Semper Opera and I was pretty excited, not only because of the concert! When I entered the opera, I was just thrilled. There was a champagne reception, which was provided by André . The first fans were also soon sighted, they entertained themselves, taking photos and eventually it was time for us to find our way to our seats.

It was quite unusual, because normally you sit on not-so-comfortable chairs in huge arenas but this time it was a little more intimate. Even if you had seats in the back rows or ranks, there was still a great view of the stage and fortunately I was sitting in the middle and had no large head in front of me!

With some delay, the show began and André had come on stage prior to the concert to explain how today's concert would evolve and also to say that during the concert, unfortunately, no pictures may be taken. I placed my camera immediately into my bag. After a short introduction, the red curtain of the opera opened and the first piece of music was played. It included "Gold and Silver", "Espana Cani", "Wishing you were somehow here again", a piece from the "Marriage of Figaro". Altogether, the whole concert theme turned into a "Wedding", but I can not divulge any more. My absolute highlight of the evening was "All I ask of you" from the musical "The Phantom of the Opera" which caused a lot of tears to run down my face.

To my great surprise, a very nice, good looking young man from the Maastricht Staar appeared on stage, and I was gone!!! This man is an absolute feast for the eyes.

After the Danube Waltz was played, the evening slowly came to an end, the Radetzkymarsch followed, and then the encores started, but were relatively shorter than expected. They played "Strauss & Co", followed by "I dance with you into Heaven". When the piece was finished there were at least three to four minutes of applause ... The public simply did not want André to go, and although the curtain had closed, André and his JSO came back once more and again played "I dance with you into Heaven". In between the audience was singing together with André, it was a great atmosphere! If I remember correctly one more piece was played after that, but then the evening was unfortunately definitely over, and I proceeded on my way back to the hotel.

I arrived at the hotel , went to my room, changed, and went to the lobby, because I just could not sleep, and was told that André Rieu & Co. would also be staying in the hotel. So then I went directly to the front of the elevator, so I could view everything at a glance and a few minutes later, the first members, like Frank & Sanne, entered. Gradually the others came in, and went to their rooms and eventually Marjorie and André entered. Marjorie went directly to her room, while André went into the bar to bring the evening pleasantly to an end. It was beautiful, to see all again so soon after the concert, and I had thought that I would not see André again, but it was all quite different! Finally, at 12:30 am I went to my room and eventually fell happily asleep!

The next morning, around 8 o'clock, my family and I went to the breakfast room where the friend of my Mom had gone ahead already and had selected a table. When I entered the room, I first saw the two bodyguards of André, which made me wonder. In any event, we went to our table, which is right next to the one with the bodyguards. I greeted the two and Johann returned the greeting. We sat down when my sister suddenly asked if I had noticed who was sitting opposite us. I could not believe my eyes because a table away sat André, Marjorie and a few friends of André. Somehow at first I did not dare to go to the buffet, but I was so hungry! So we gradually went to the buffet and I, in a funny sort of way, went more frequent than the others. Any way, André & Co sat comfortably at breakfast and now and then we glanced over to his table, and André did the same and every now and then looked over in my direction, then to my Mom and eventually he looked with large eyes at my sister when she returned from the buffet. She looked at him, but did not smile, but looked away shyly, hihi. It was quite interesting to see what André was eating, such as a fold-over sandwich, which a short time later he opened again and there also was sparkling wine or champagne or something like that. In between there were taps by Marjorie because André probably said something cheeky, lol! André spent at least one hour at breakfast and let nothing, or no one bother him. Finally, he stood up and said that he had to go change ... I too stood up at the same time, but I still wanted to get somehing from the buffet (I have never in my life eaten so much for breakfast !!!). While I stood at the buffet, I almost dislocated my neck because I was keeping an eye on the door. As I was putting cake on my plate, I looked simultaneously at the door and eventually André left. He must have seen me stare at the door while I picked up the cake and glanced in my direction, but made no gesture, hihi. If I had been pouring coffee at that moment, the cup would probably been over filled! After André had gone, I was totally HAPPY to have been sooo close to him, not the star, but to have experienced André Rieu as a person.

For everyone who has not been to Dresden, I would highly recommend a visit to this historic city. It has changed a lot and it's inhabitants, "Ossis", are very helpful and incredibly nice. ~ Peggy

John Translated Peggy's Report From German to English for her.

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♦The Harmony Parlor With André Rieu