The Utopian Violinist and Conductor, André Rieu

Tonight, Yufang and I drove to Cleveland to hear André Rieu and His Johann Strauss Orchestra.  We had third row seats in the Cav’s arena, so we really got to see all of the antics Rieu and his band put on while belting out waltzes and old standards.  There was a permeable energy throughout the arena when Rieu and his band were performing.  To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect when I noticed that 99% of the audience were at least 30 years older than me.  However, the audience tapped into the vibrant spirit of the music, and there were folks dancing in the aisles before the evening was done.

The reason that I’m mentioning the performance on my blog is that André Rieu is a utopian.  Despite lackluster applause from the primarily Northeast Ohio audience when he made his first dedication, he pledged “The Exodus Song” for the children of the world.  Rieu said that he, as should we all, desire a future of peace where children can play free from harm.  The song obviously carries a Kantian cosmopolitan theme in that the “land” or Earth belongs to each and every person.

And to close the regular program, Rieu invited the audience to imagine “a place that is no place,” a future of peace.  With Star Trek-like star scape sliding by on the projection screens and the star field behind the orchestra lit up, he introduced “Ode an die Freude” or the “Ode to Joy” by Friedrich Schiller and Ludwig van Beethoven as a song about brotherhood and coming together.  He asked us “to step into the future” with him as he and his orchestra performed the moving song.  You can watch an earlier arrangement Rieu performed of this with only two sopranos here, but tonight we were treated to a version with his three tenors and three sopranos.

If you have the opportunity to hear (and see) André Rieu perform, I definitely recommend you doing so.

PS  You can find André Rieu on Twitter here.

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Jason W. Ellis

I am an Associate Professor of English at the New York City College of Technology, CUNY whose teaching includes composition and technical communication, and research focuses on science fiction, neuroscience, and digital technology. Also, I direct the B.S. in Professional and Technical Writing Program and coordinate the City Tech Science Fiction Collection, which holds more than 600 linear feet of magazines, anthologies, novels, and research publications.