There is a lot more going on with André Rieu
There is a lot more going on with André Rieu
Rumors of Dark Clouds Over His Little Castle
The big secret of Maastricht: what is the actual condition of André Rieu (62)? Physically as well as financially everything seems to be going amiss with the violin virtuoso who waltzed all over the world, but for the second time in a short span of time has been felt again. Can the enormous Rieu machine overcome this new adversity? Privé continues to hear increasingly pessimistic information from the Rieu stronghold.
These are dramatic times for André Rieu (62). That is apparent by the continuously cancelled concerts of late. And also the actual eerie silence from the Rieu camp in Maastricht, where they desperately are trying to hide the damages by pretending that nothing is wrong: "André is tired and he needs to rest". But in the meantime more and more information trickles out to the outside that the situation is a lot worse than the spokespeople are letting out to be.
►There are worries about André’s health situation. But that’s not the only thing.
For the second time in a short period of time he has been knocked down for a long time. It was in 2010 that his tiny equilibrium paralyzed this enormous waltzing machine, and now it appears to be the aftermath of a major flu. "André is overworked and over tired" says a suddenly remarkably frank Kerstin Cornelis to the German news agency’s story of journalist Sven Schuster. "His immune system does not function any more, at the moment he is susceptible to everything. No, he is not bedridden. He is only resting. But we will be there again in Denmark. That’s when he will be on stage again." Fans from around the world sympathize with the man who made the world waltz. Except for lots of mail with stacks of homemade cards by lovers of his music, many are concerned about his fragile health. That their idol has been disabled for the second time in a short period of time is a huge concern to his greatest fans. And that concern is also shared by many an "insider". The losses are enormous. And every one interested, they can count on their fingers how huge the losses are by not performing for weeks on end. In addition to that fact is that the Rieu organization is rather lean in their reserves due to his previous illness and the elaborate tours with the Viennese Schönbrunn Castle, which was shipped all over the world, served as a décor of Sissi’s castle, and in reality did not turn a profit at all.
When normally there are cheerful sounds coming from the Rieu-camp, the tone is now mainly subdued. Also a report by the well-known Limburg journalist from L1, Jo Cortenraedt, befriended with Rieu, is rather subdued. He thinks Rieu demanded an immense amount from himself toward the end of last year, when he recorded a spectacular Christmas show for the German ZDF Television around his house.
Cortenraedt:" That became a two hour program which required more and more preparation time than he ever imagined. His largest television production ever!"This show, which up till has only been broadcast in Germany, did not only affect he reserves of its maker. It also affected Rieu’s financial treasure chest: the costs again ran far over budget. Sources whose names cannot be mentioned, estimate that the costs far exceeded the budget. That stems from the unbridled passion of André who only thinks big, bigger, biggest. "For his public, only the best is good enough" say the insiders who point out that these thoughts brought Rieu problems earlier when the banks started to question him about his ever increasing production budgets and less income from his world tours.
►A Privé spokesperson: "That Schönbrunn décor was obviously insane and it certainly contributed to his reputation. But you can also ask yourself if his public would have been satisfied with less. It is quite something when you appear in Australia with an entire Strauss Orchestra. These people there are just not accustomed to that. No, with the entire castle of Empress Elisabeth. Carriages! Fountains! André worked himself into a frazzle. And there was little left over in profits, to reiterate that again. And his enormous production company, despite enormous profits received from CD and DVD sales, as well as TV broadcasts around the entire world, managed to acquire very little in reserve." André Rieu noticed that, when shortly after he became ill for a lengthy period, the bank decided to confiscate his Stradivarius; his world famous violin with a value of a couple of million.
By going back to work just in time, André could prevent the confiscation. About that time he said frankly: "We had no choice but to cancel England, Ireland, Australia and New-Zealand. I asked my financial advisers how long we could allow ourselves not to perform. The answer was not a cheerful one: "It would be best if you could be sure and to be back to work tomorrow". Everything was just starting to settle down again when the next setback came along. The maestro had to again cancel concerts. First, a couple (Heerenveen and Amsterdam), then a few more (UK and Australia), and now also Austria, Denmark, Germany and France. Only on April 20th is he expected to perform in the Danish city of Odense and the machinery is expected to start running again at full power. This presents yet another additional problem: all those other postponed concerts have to be made up and that is now of course going to happen on dates for which new tours would been scheduled and new revenues would have been generated.
André back then: "I am not a money person. I'm not doing it for the money. What does it matter what I am worth, when I have been placed in my grave? But it's been difficult, yes. I admit it. A year ago (in 2009, editor), I had a debt of 10 million and in one year’s time I turned that around into ten million in the positive. But due to the past few months I am now back to zero. In addition to that are the declining CD and DVD sales which also affect André. This source of revenue was impressive and stable during the last years, but now is on the decline. And when no concerts take place, the money flies out the window in enormous amounts. A street musician in Amsterdam then earns more than multinational André Rieu. Privé sources report that the Rieu Company has approximately one hundred sixty people on their payroll. Irrespective of himself and son Pierre, they control an entire orchestra, a battery of technical staff of light and sound, stage managers and a complete office with secretaries, administrative workers and accountants. Especially the last mentioned are somewhat worried the last few weeks. Two years ago when Pierre Rieu was a guest on the Jeroen Pauw and Paul Witteman show, he said: "You can understand that the accountant is not telling me that the situation with the company is a bed of roses and wonderful. The most important thing right now is that my father will recover." Although Pierre tried to hide his emotions, even he had doubts. And at that moment, no one could have expected this drama to repeat itself again one and a half years later, and would again disable André for an extended time period.
According to Cortenraedt, there has never been a moment’s thought to have the orchestra perform without the stand-alone violinist, to ensure there would be some earnings and they at least would be earning their own salaries. "That is not an option. Everyone wants to see André Rieu." Thus an additional problem is outlined. The entire Rieu Empire is dependent upon the health of one man. Or even worse. In 2010 it was his equilibrium. An organ as big as your thumbnail.
André knows the risk. His tours, because of the enormous huge turnovers, are actually uninsurable. The premiums would be unaffordable. So they were always hoping that everything would always go well. And this Maastricht citizen was also the man who would not keep his risks to a minimum. Every year became bigger, decors became larger and more complex and of course the possibility that something could go wrong – or broke – would proportionally increase too.
"And he still was not done with his fantasies" reveals one of the Privé sources. "When André started talking about performing on the moon or the North Pole……that was actually the moment we should have locked him up. Stop with it, now!!! It was a joke, but if anyone had offered him the opportunity, it would probably have happened, and Rieu would have been the second André in space! It had to go farther, become bigger and crazier.
According to Jo Cortenraedt these were just André’s fantasies and creativity, which put him where he is today. Yet there in lurks the danger which now has placed him into great difficulties. "He under estimated the physical side and that German TV show…it appears that it has done him in." Especially in the planning there seemed to have been a lot of emphasis. And for that matter, Rieu can thank his lucky star, if after Easter he indeed will make his comeback. And there again awaits him an impressive tour schedule which will chase him all over the world. And what about a holiday? When that specific period arrives again, André will be performing his concerts on the Vrijthof. Holidays have not been in the Rieu agenda for years. During the rest of the summer, Brazil, South Africa and France are on the agenda, thereafter in October again Germany, Switzerland and once more France, and in November Belgium and then in December Ireland and England…. The major question now, are the banks patient enough to line up again and will André recover in time to go back to work to make the cash register ring again. Pessimists are asking how long everything will go well until the orchestra leader will again take on too much. The last time, father and son indicated that they had learned from their setback: meaning they would take sufficient rest periods into consideration. You can, by looking at their agenda, ask yourself what ever happened to that intension. And with the delays which have now occurred, once he has recovered he needs place his nose to the grindstone. Because there is always the looming threat that the banks will require securities. That they will again look at his pride and joy is inevitable. After his first huge successes he bought the Stradivarius for two million Euros. Of course he is attached to that legendary instrument, produced in the eighteenth century by the hands of the Italian luthier (1644-1737). But back then, he did speak soberly about it. "When that in 2010 threatened to happen, he invented a ruse: "There are a few people who deal in these exclusive violins. In Vienna. I offered them my Stradivarius, at a much inflated price of course. Yes, I am no dummy. I paid two million for her and now the asking price is much higher. No one bit. And now that we are going begin again, the banks have been placed at ease, and the violin still belongs to me. And besides, no matter how special, it is still a violin. I would never sell my wife either!"
Wife Marjorie as always remains in the background, and son Pierre also keeps quiet. Insiders are speaking in opposition of Privé about a paralyzed, peculiar atmosphere which reportedly seems to be hanging over the orchestra. One of them says: "People are never sure of anything, but they hope to be back on stage after Easter, and that everything will be just as before. But there is no one who knows for sure. Several times past, dates mention when the entire circus would start to perform again. But they were changed, and that creates uncertainty. And other than that, it is one closed off clan. I know people who live next door to orchestra members. Even to their neighbors they are quiet about André’s situation. Another source has its own thoughts about this situation, and hopes for the best. He says: "At one point there was no stopping André. Everything had become so big. Much bigger than ever thought. New York lay at his feet, as did Australia. It all became even more grandiose than he himself could ever have imagined. Then, at a certain point in time you think you can conquer the entire world. But it demanded much from him and his body. And a return to simplicity seems barely possible. It all had to become larger and more of it. His imagination was his major strength. But his imagination was also his biggest enemy which he had to fight against. Because really though: He would have been standing on the moon!"
Thanks to Ineke for sending this and John and Ineke Translating it