Andre’s up our Street
The world’s most popular violinist is ready for his Neighbours debut, writes Colin Vickery
SUPERSTAR violinist Andre Rieu had no idea what he was getting himself into when he included the theme from Neighbours in his Australian concerts late last year.
Neighbours executive producer Susan Bower heard about it, invited Rieu to be on the soapie, received an immediate ‘‘yes’’, and the rest is history. The waltz king was in Ramsay St filming a special segment on the show two weeks later in early December. Rieu’s episode goes to air next Tuesday.
It turns out that Rieu, who has sold more than two million DVDs and CDs in Australia in the past 18 months, is a huge Neighbours fan. He was thrilled to be asked to appear on the show.
‘‘In Europe we love Neighbours,’’ he says. ‘‘It’s helped us fall in love with what we would consider to be an Australian way of life — laid back, happy and warmhearted.’’
writers quickly worked out a storyline for the music maestro, who altered his touring schedule to film the segment.
In the plotline, Rieu serenades Paul Robinson (Stefan Dennis) and his on-off love interest Rebecca Napier (Jane Hall). Fellow Neighbours characters then join them in Ramsay St, where they dance to three Johann Strauss classics — the Blue Danube, Wer uns Getraut and A Bright Young Man.
Rieu arrived in Ramsay St with an entourage that included his doctor and a security guard for his $11 million Stradivarius violin.
‘‘In the car on the way to location, Andre and I were having a great old chat,’’ Dennis says. ‘‘He was ex- Neighbours, G Channel Ten, weeknights, 6.30pm Violin virtuoso plucks heartstrings Duration: 30 minutes tremely friendly and I was surprised that we had a lot in common with regards to politics.’’
Rieu went on to chat with the cast and crew and joined the Neighbours team for lunch. He says he was thrilled with his first TV role.
‘‘Basically I just say a few things and put two people together — who had been separated— with my music,’’ he says. ‘‘Isn’t that romantic?’’
Bower says: ‘‘I’ll never forget standing on Ramsay St watching