Sunday, 16 November 2008
Andre Rieu Oi..Oi..Oi
I paid the supplement to watch Andre Rieu's Melbourne show live on cable television last night. It was considerably cheaper than paying $300 to see the show in person in two weeks time in Sydney at an open arena requiring binoculars and possibly in the rain (the way Sydney's weather has been this Spring).
I am quite ambivalent about Rieu's shows. I admire his showmanship, a type of Barnum and Bailey for waltz and operetta music, but find the lack of spontaneity irritating. The slightest wink and nudge is pre-planned.
The show lasted almost three and a half hours so there was little to fault in the amount of time granted with 'the great one'. It was very similar to the shows screened here from Europe and elsewhere through his ubiquitous DVDs and all the usual personalities were on display.
I had thought Rieu would include some Australian material to humour the Australian audience and was a little surprised that the encores were reached with only Botany Bay sung as a sop to we colonials. This was performed by the blonde Australian soprano bearing the exotic East European name who is a member of the usual ensemble.
But the local touch came to the fore deep into the encores. First came Advance Australia Fair performed as an entertainment rather than the National Anthem into which it has been converted. Then followed a curious selection including the themes from Bananas in Pyjamas and Neighbours both now elevated to semi-classical status by Rieu's imprimatur.
There was an interesting moment earlier when a microphone failed as a soprano commenced her song. During the break that followed whilst a replacement was summoned Rieu, without missing a beat, lead the audience in a rousing rendition of the Aussie..Aussie..Aussie Oi..Oi..Oi 'war cry'.
If nothing else, Rieu certainly does his homework.