André Rieu on why Happy Days Are Here Again for Irish fans

André Rieu will be back in cinemas this month. Picture by Marcel van Hoorn

DUST off those dancing shoes – after two long years, the 'King of Waltz' André Rieu will present his latest summer concert, Happy Days Are Here Again, in cinemas for one weekend only at the end of August.

Filmed against the backdrop of Vrijthof Square in the Dutch maestro's beloved hometown of Maastricht, Happy Days Are Here Again will be shown in over 500 cinemas across Britain and Ireland over the weekend of August 27 and 28.

Thanks to the enchanting sounds of his violin, alongside his renowned Johann Strauss Orchestra, with whom Rieu has been performing for over 30 years, Happy Days Are Here Again is sure to be an exciting document of these legendary open-air concerts featuring popular feel-good classics, show-tunes and, of course, joyous waltzes.

"There is no other joy like performing my summer concerts in my hometown Maastricht, with my orchestra," says the maestro.

"I was thrilled to finally be back there last month after two years and now to share music and love with all the fans again in cinemas. I really miss those happy days. I am excited the wait is finally over."

With special guests and world-renowned sopranos and tenors, the concert will be hosted by Classic FM and ITV Good Morning Britain broadcaster Charlotte Hawkins, who will take audiences behind-the-scenes for exclusive access and share an exclusive stage-side interview with André.

We caught up with the man himself for a quick chat to whet your appetite for Happy Days Are Here Again...

How were your shows in Dublin and Belfast earlier this year? Was it nice to be able to get back to touring after being away for so long due to the pandemic?

It was so great to be back in Ireland, I really missed it. Two years of not performing is quite a long time. You know, music is just like oxygen for me; I can't live too long without it.

Ireland has a special little spot in my heart, because the Irish are such musical people: in every corner of every street in Dublin, one can hear somebody singing or playing an instrument. Also my audience sings and dances along almost every piece we play.

It really touches my heart when I see that, so therefore, I was happy to be back on the 'Emerald Isle'.

The upcoming cinema event Happy Days Are Here Again was filmed at your recent Vrijthof Square concerts in your hometown of Maastricht. Those are always special shows for you – what can audiences expect from the cinema screenings?

This will be a fantastic event like you've never seen before: it's just like a real life concert experience, I bet you'll forget that you're in a cinema within five minutes.

There is a lot of fantastic music: wonderful waltzes, dreamy arias, magnificent melodies from movies and musicals and so much more. There will be outstanding sopranos, the Platin Tenors – and some other nice surprises I won't reveal yet.

Many people travel from all over the world for your Maastricht shows. Do you have any funny stories about fans who have come from anywhere really far away or unusual?

Maastricht is like a 'home game' for all of us: we've been touring the whole year, and then we come home on the Vrijthof Square. On that very moment, the entire world seems to travel to my hometown in order to see us there – I'm so proud and thrilled by that.

A couple of years ago, we counted nearly 100 nationalities from almost 100 countries. Isn't that unbelievable? It all started back in 2005 with only three concerts, but this summer there we played 15 of them – and each concert is visited by more than 11,000 people.

It feels so great to make so many people happy with my music – it's like a dream.

When can we expect you to return to Ireland?

You won't have to wait very long, I will be back next year to perform once again: on April 20 and 21 in Belfast and Dublin, to be exact. Hopefully, we'll meet again.

If 'Happy Days Are Here Again', what makes you happy?

Happy people make me happy, but also being able to play again and to go on concert tours. Last but not least: my five gorgeous grandchildren: I'm a spoiling grandfather, I know, but when I have these five little jewels in front of me, I'm just the happiest man in the whole world.

Happy Days Are Here Again will be showing in over 500 cinemas across Britain and Ireland over the weekend of August 27 and 28. See for locations, showtimes and ticket details.