July 1, 2022. André, checking the building up.
The entire world can watch via the web cams on the Vrijthof.
The first concert will take place on Thursday July 7th.
Photos: Julia McCarthy-Fox.
The 2022 concert, part 1
The 2022 concert, part 2
The 2022 concert, the encores
Thanks once again to Michel Fizzano for creating these images, being behind the
scenes and making a live selection of all available camera images.
We have added some scenes taken from our hotel room.
Dorona Alberti, special guest, Anna Reker choir, Ber Schellings, Maastrichter Staar soloist.
Micaëla Oeste, Madieke Schoots, Anna Majchrzak,
Andre’s plaque on the Vrijthof. Photos: Laurens Bouvrie.
fans going crazy.
On the steps in front of the Theater on the Vrijthof.
A dreamer and someone looking miserable. Priceless photos, by Liz Baker.
After the concert there was a performance of the Great “Harmony Parlor” Choir.
The “André Rieu fans Harmony Parlor” is one of the biggest English speaking fan groups on Facebook.
The choir was conducted by Adele Geritzen.
In the Maastricht city center you will find several more big screens to follow André’s concert.
This is the little St. Amors square. You see how people party in the streets without having purchased
a ticket. The video was created by Mathy Engelen.
We spotted a new face in the
choir. Temporary (?)
replacement for Belinda Evens.
Her name is Vasiliki Chanou.
Donij van Doorn was missed
for some time. Happy to see
This is Marcel Falize’s
wife Nicole, playing in the
brass band “Edelweiss”.
Jean Sassen already played with André
since the Maastricht Salon Orchestra. He
has been retired for a long time, but loves
to join the orchestra again in Maastricht.
Photos made by
Maastricht singer Dorona Alberti is this year the special guest at
the Vrijthof concerts: 'Then Rieu called and my holiday expired' .
Limburger, 15 July 2022, by Ronald Colée, photo by Mitchell Giebels. Translation Ineke.
“Gare du Nord” (Jazz band) singer Dorona Alberti is this year's special guest
during André Rieu's Vrijthof concerts.
A 'Mestreechs girl' who has lived in Rotterdam for years, who celebrates success as a singer of “Gare du
Nord” and suddenly shows up as a special guest at André Rieu's Vrijthof concerts. That's how strange it can
be and that's how strange it went for Dorona Alberti. "It is wonderful to have such a large orchestra behind
you and not to have to hold back, but to be able to go all the way." No, she had never attended a Rieu
concert in the city where she grew up. She only knew the Vrijthof concerts from the images on TV and the
many waltzes. "Let that be the only style of music I've never sung." Dorona Alberti can laugh about it herself.
About six weeks ago, the 47-year-old singer saw an App pop up from an unknown sender: 'Can we call
today or tomorrow? Pierre Rieu'. "Then I immediately replied: 'Yes, now?' It turned out that they were in
Prague and the subject of special guest had come up. The intended artist had canceled, after which violinist
Frank Steijns had dropped my name. “Dorona who?” was the response. Then Frank put his phone on the
table with a video of my performance with Eva Jinek (TV talk host) with part of the Metropole Orchestra – in
which I performed a Bond number – and Pierre contacted me immediately.”
The question whether she could and wanted to perform with the Johann Strauss Orchestra for fifteen
evenings, completely overwhelmed her. “I never go on holiday far, but coincidentally this year I would go on
a sailing holiday to Greece with my husband and 11-year-old son, along with another family. I couldn't just
cancel that, could I? But a day later I called that of course I could. Now Diederik and Samson are going on
holiday alone and I am following them for the last week.” She simply couldn't let go the opportunity to be a
part of such an insane production. “Grand and captivating. I like that. And these concerts are certainly grand
and compelling. As a singer you don't often get the chance to unabashedly unpack, that's why I usually put
on my shows myself. Because it is wonderful to have such a large orchestra behind you and not to have to
hold back, but to be able to pull out all the stops. And speaking of a large orchestra, this is a large orchestra.
Two hundred people on stage. To enjoy."
Yet the Limburger, who has lived in Rotterdam for 27 years, realizes that she is still a blank slate for many.
And that while as a singer of “Gare du Nord” with Sex 'n' jazz she has the best-selling jazz album in the
Netherlands on her name with almost 750,000 copies sold. “People still think we come from France. And
nobody knows what the name of the singer is.” Laughing: "Except Frank then."
She was fourteen years old when she first recorded a record in a studio in Hamburg. Industrial metal. “After
celebrating Carnival for three days. With a lot of noise behind you and a piece of paper with text on it in
hand. 'That's all? Oh, okay then we're going to make something of that.' And that's actually still how I
approach music. Although I am of course lucky that I have an instrument with my voice that can do a lot and
does what I want.”
Alberti – “No, not related to them (a famous Dutch family of singers, with the artist name ”Alberti”), because
they are actually called Verbrugge, I'm the real one” – does not like the obligatory beautiful singing. “I think
intention, urgency and conviction are much more important. Some songs are not beautiful in content. Going
about pain or sadness and then a very ugly note can be much better in place. That is also the reason why I
couldn't settle in at the conservatory in Rotterdam, but I could at the Rock Academy in Tilburg. When I was
there in the second batch of students, it was still a delicious mess. That suited me perfectly.” Although
almost twenty years later it still stings a bit that she did not graduate in Tilburg as a singer, but as a musical
entrepreneur. “I was very bad at music theory, but I could improvise on everything. And obtained double the
number of credits of what was required. It was also clear that I could sing. But I didn't become a singer. So I
then – because I'm also stubbornly stubborn – made up my own one-woman show – Mental striptease – for
which I wrote all the arrangements myself. So that rejection has only strengthened the choice to follow my
Twelve thousand spectators.
A path that eventually led to the Rieu concerts on the Vrijthof, where she is allowed to sing two songs every
evening in front of twelve thousand spectators. Which songs, she keeps a secret for the people who haven't
been yet. “Just stick to pop songs.” Songs that Rieu chose himself. “André is the boss and he also
determines the songs that are sung. But he does give me the freedom to perform them in my own way.
Although that freedom with an entire orchestra behind you is of course a lot more limited than when you
perform with a trio.” She was nervous only the first night. “Because you haven't seen the show yourself, it
comes up late and so you don't know the stage. How does the light shine, does it blow, things like that.” In
any case, the public is super enthusiastic. She does add a side note though. “Maybe people were screaming
all the time, but I don't know, because I'm backstage all the time beforehand. I also think applause is a
strange thing. Because it also means that something is finished, something is coming to an end and we are
going home again. But just as I don't want a book to be finished or a movie to end, I don't want a
performance to end either. I am happiest on stage.”
Dorona Alberti, performing: ”I will survive” and “Life is Life”.
She is blowing away the entire Vrijthof square with her amazing
voice and the audience goes crazy!!
André’s new personal assistant and
tourmanager: Yvette Pelens.
Brass section: Ton Maessen, Leon van Wijk, Mathew Spedding, Cleo Simons, Dennis Close, Noël
Perdaens, Robin van Gemert, Marcel Sobol, Lars Wachelder, Roger Diederen, Romano Diederen, Willy
Huppertz, René Henket.
A snow shower on the Vrijthof during the Snow Waltz.
On the 10th concert, July 22,
it rained. The Blue Danube was
very wet. The fans did not mind.
Maite Funtanet Reglero (from Spain) made this very funny video. After each concert André, the orchestra
members and all the guests use to walk through the underground parking garage back to the Theater,
where an after concert drink and snack awaits them. Piccolos (ushers) and fans show their gratitude.
It is a very happy ending of a great concert. Thanks Maite!
During the 14th concert there was a farmer’s protest demonstration in Maastricht. The Dutch farmers have
been protesting the government plans to reduce nitrogen emissions since June 2022. It’s a cry for help.
They fear to loose their businesses.They carry the Dutch flag upside down, since they think the
government’s plans turn their world upside down.
July 30, 2022.
The Limburger: by Ivar Hoekstra.
Pierre Rieu: "I absolutely do not expect farmers to disturb the concert"
André Rieu's concert this Saturday evening at the Vrijthof will start with a tractor within the fence, but Pierre
Rieu, son of the Maestro, does not expect the demonstrating farmers to disturb the performance.
We already met with them at the town hall about this last week. There it was agreed that they will act with
great respect for our guests and the event itself. My father said: “I give you all the attention, if you give our
visitors a nice concert". "We understand the emotions of the farmers very well, which does not mean that
we support their actions. Because we are always neutral in these kinds of things."
Earlier in the evening, Pierre took a look at the Markt in Maastricht where around forty tractors gathered.
"For our foreign visitors who also arrive here with the coaches, it is clear that it is a protest action by the
farmers, but the atmosphere is friendly and respectful. My father's music is even played there! ”
"This is how we reach a wide audience" a farmer’s spokesman said. The tractor that is on the Vrijthof within
the fence of the concert section, may no longer be moved for safety reasons. "But it is a nice old-timer that
does not ruin the picture," said Pierre Rieu who expects the tractors to leave the market again before the
concert starts at 9 p.m. "I am confident that the farmers will not disturb our concert."
Chapeau Magazine of Facebook:
July 31st 2022.
André Rieu had come up with a surprise for the birthday girl Annemarie Penn-te Strake,
after the 15th and last Vrijthof concert this summer.
Backstage, the mayor of Maastricht was offered a chocolate cake of more than one meter and the Maestro
made a Tyrolean dance with the party guest.
The Grand Final!
Frank Steijns created this video of the grand final after the 15th and last Vrijthof concert in Maastricht
on Sunday July 31st 2022.
Leaving the stage, André, the orchestra, choir and staff were accompanied by the
playing brass band Edelweiss,
through the underground parking garage, back to the Theater on the Vrijthof.
There, André had not forgotten the Mayor’s birthday, as we can read in Chapeau Magazine.
July 31, 2022.
The 15th and last concert of the
concert series on the Vrijthof in
Maastricht, revealed another surprise.
Pierre appeared as a member
of the men's choir. To surprise
André, who did not know
anything about it.
It’s great fun! We wonder if André
noticed he had 151 men on stage
The choir: Anna Reker, Ellie Moran, Vasiliki Chanou, Christina Petrou, Joline Soomers, Kalkie Schrijvers,
Madieke Marjon Schoots, Virgenie Henket.
Ber Schellings: The 12 Robbers.
Anna Reker: Nitsch Jaka.
Micaëla: La Vergine degli Angeli.
The video below is André’s AFTER MOVIE of the 2022 Vrijthof concert series.
August 16, 2022. De Telegraaf. By Harrie Nijen Twilhaar. Translation Ineke/John.
'Unknown' singer in bright red dress steals the show at Rieu
Dorona Alberti: "As if I dreamed everything"
For fifteen evenings Dorona Alberti stole the show in her bright red dress during the André Rieu
summer concerts on the Vrijthof in Maastricht. Every time, the singer provided a flaming and
especially swinging final chord, in which the audience became completely ecstatic. "I'm still
looking for the right words to explain what I've been through."
She is not related to that other famous singer, but Dorona Alberti (47) - A Maastricht local girl
who has been living in Rotterdam - has made a name for herself in one fell swoop this summer.
At least with the people who in Maastricht attended at least one of no fewer than fifteen (!)
Vrijthof concerts, which André Rieu gave there on that famous square in Maastricht. This year,
the violinist, waltz king and orchestra leader gave up on famous and surprising names such as
David Hasselhoff and instead focused on singing choirs from the area and Dorona, which
turned the Vrijthof into one large discotheque.
"I Will Survive"
The singer is still recovering from both the success and her shortened sailing holiday in Greece,
which she has just finished. With her performances, she made a crushing impression with the
audience time and time again – and the audience on her. "I'm still looking for the right words to
describe the feeling I experienced," says the singer, who stood in front of twelve thousand fans
every evening - in a bright red dress. "I really enjoyed it."
André Rieu, who regularly dabbled with Dorona on the immense stage, was also impressed by
her singing skills. For Alberti, who lives in Rotterdam, it was a grand reunion with her birth city
of Maastricht. In particular, her rendition of Gloria Gaynor's 'I Will Survive', she also sang Opus'
and a rousing 'Live Is Life', which shook the roof of the underground parking garage.
“It was all so intense and grand. I like improvisation and playfulness. As the concert evenings
progressed, each performance became freer and freer. At the end of the series, André gave me
a sea of space on stage, while we were still standing there with about 220 men and women – a
complete orchestra and choir.”
It was therefore a complete surprise for Dorona when at the beginning of June she was
approached by André's son Pierre. “He asked me if I had time to participate as special guest in
the fifteen summer concerts. I didn't know what I was hearing and was completely
overwhelmed. I then only had a month to prepare. I had never experienced an André Rieu
concert on the Vrijthof and only knew of his performances from television. Moreover, waltz
music is still one of the few missing genres in my repertoire.”
And not only that. With the surprising offer Dorona was faced with a dilemma. “Together with my
husband (artist and designer, Diederik Schneemann) and our 11-year-old son Samson, we
were going to go sailing in Greece in July along with another family. In the end, we decided to
do those performances anyway. You only get a chance like that once.”
The singer calls it "impressive" to stand together with the Johann Strauss Orchestra of Rieu and
a large occasional choir of 150 people in front of a frenzied audience. “I always love it when I
get to sing with a bucket of noise behind me. The first evening was quite exciting, because I
was recovering from corona. I didn't know how I was going to pull it off. Moreover, at the dress
rehearsal, I had only seen a Vrijthof with empty seats. When I first came up and saw those
thousands of fans from all over the world sitting in front of me, I thought: "This will be fine, I will
succeed." Afterwards André came to me and complimented me.”
Four weeks later, Dorona's Vrijthof adventure was over. “It feels like I've dreamed everything.
Only now do I realize that I really stood there. I thought it was terrible that the last concert took
place on July 31. That morning I did not really wake up happy. I don't like endings. For almost a
month I enjoyed it so intensely. We had so much fun. The people on the square were also very
happy that they were there. There was even a couple from New Zealand who really attended all
fifteen concerts. It was their honeymoon. Unbelievable how fanatical Andrés fans are.”
Gare du Nord
For Dorona, who has already tried and tested as a singer, it was a whole new world in which
she ended up. “The fact that not everyone has heard of my name is not surprising. In my
musical career I have mainly sung in (pop) bands. As the lead singer of "Gare du Nord," we
reached the charts at home and abroad. Sex 'n' Jazz (2007) is still the best-selling jazz album in
the Netherlands of all time.”
Gare du Nord – founded in 2001 – has been on a five-year sabbatical. “At one point we didn't
know if we would ever get back together or if the band would die a soft silent death. We missed
each other terribly as band members. Recently it was decided that we will do another club tour
Dorona, who studied at the Rotterdam Conservatory and the Rock Academy in Tilburg, among
others, cannot let go of her performances at the Vrijthof. “I'm still in a kind of trance. The
response I received afterwards was overwhelming. I received all kinds of videos and not only
saw those thousands of fans on the square every evening, but also the exuberance on the
terraces and squares around it. I was always last to go and was always backstage until around
eleven thirty. And when I came up, I saw so much cheerfulness from happy people. That is so
The singer - who in the past struggled with voice problems, but in her own words "came out
even better" - speaks with great admiration about André Rieu. “He is the director, a
perfectionist. André determines when the music should be louder, higher, long, longer and
more. He's the maestro, the boss, and I'm incredibly grateful to him for being able to experience
this. I certainly plan to experience an evening among the audience myself next time, of course
on the Vrijthof.”
The registration of the Vrijthof concerts will be shown in cinemas worldwide on August 27 and