"Roses from the South"
An emotional Mirusia singing
"In mir klingt ein Lied"
The three tenors offering roses
to the countesses Bernadotte.
On June 10th and 11th, 2010 we attended the concerts of André Rieu and the JSO on the island "Mainau" on the Swiss/German border. This island is known for its elaborate and beautiful flower gardens. In this very nice atmosphere André presented the program "Roses from the South - Rosen aus dem Süden -". Below the videos you will find a description of the island, its history and the Bernadotte family who owns and manages this very nice flower island.
Due to its length, the video has been split in two parts.
June 15th 2010.
Written by Ineke and thanks to John for his assistance with the English language.
Ruud and I have been to the sub tropical Island of Mainau before. That was over twenty years ago, so we took the opportunity to visit that famous flower island again, as soon as we heard that André would be conducting a concert there. We purchased concert tickets, booked a hotel in Konstanz (Constance), Germany, and reserved tickets for the International trains (a 7 hours ride). The month of June is a perfect season for a visit to Mainau! The concert was planned for Friday June 11th 2010, with a dress rehearsal on Thursday June 10th. The concert was recorded for the ZDF (German TV channel) special: "Roses from the South" and will be broadcast in October 2010 in the Netherlands, Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Later on the special will be broadcast worldwide and a DVD will also be released. (Total expected amount of viewers: 80 million!)
On Wednesday June 9th we departed our hometown Den Haag (The Hague) in the Netherlands, by International trains to Germany. We had to change trains twice. Our final destination was the city of Konstanz (Constance), located in southern Germany, near the borders of Switzerland and Austria, along the shores of the Boden See (in English: Lake Constance).
Coincidentally Sonja Harper had arrived from the USA a few days earlier in the Netherlands, for her summer holiday, to visit her mother in The Hague and also attend the Maastricht concerts in July.
Together with her long time Dutch school friend Gerdien, she travelled with us by train to Constance. Our hotel in Constance was opposite the train station. We knew that there would be more friends: Adele and Maurice from Italy, Elke and Nino Freitag from Germany, Maria and Udo Kolb from Australia, Beate Gundler from Germany. The distance from Constance to the island of Mainau, is 8 kilometers. There is transportation by bus (and a bridge) or by boat. There is no hotel on the island, no houses, no shops (except one souvenir shop), just three restaurants /café's/ terraces. The entire island is a flower- and art park, for which you have to pay an entrance fee.
I collected some information regarding Mainau. The island measures 45 hectares (111 acres), with a hill, a lot of steps and a castle on top. In earlier times, even before Christ, Mainau was a Roman fleet base. Later it was occupied by various nobility families, and since 1932 it is owned by the Bernadotte family. This family's roots originate in France. In 1810 Jean Baptiste Bernadotte was a general in Napoleon Bonaparte's army. At that time Sweden had an old childless king and in 1810 Jean Baptiste was elected to be the crown prince of Sweden! The old king died in 1818 and Jean Baptiste was crowned to be the next king of Sweden. From that date on, Sweden has been reigned by the Bernadottes. The present king of Sweden is named Carl XVI Gustav Bernadotte. Eventually he will be succeeded by his daughter Victoria. So countess Bettina of Mainau and her brothers and sisters are related to the Swedish royal family. No one lives on the island, except for the managers, Countess Bettina Bernadotte and her husband. They live in the castle overlooking Lake Constance, and manage the property. Since 1974 the island belongs to the Lennart Bernadotte Foundation.
The concert was held in front of countess Bettina's baroque castle (1746), with an audience of 3000 people on her doorsteps and lawn.
In the picture above: Countess Bettina and her brother Count Björn with André,
in front of the castle. The castle has a baroque style private church for the family.
Count Björn and his wife Sandra were married here last year.
I love the picture with the five bridesmaids!
They had a big party on the island and one of their guests was crown princess Victoria Bernadotte of Sweden, who will be married next week (on June 19th 2010) in Sweden to a fitness trainer! Our Swedish fan friend wrote us that Sweden is all excited about the festivities, and we think the Mainau Bernadottes will be there too!
There are several greenhouses on the island of Mainau, a big palm tree greenhouse with a tearoom inside, a butterfly house with a lot of cocoons hanging on the wall. Just like in André's orangerie, the cocoons come from Costa Rica, which seems to be the butterfly country! A romantic Italian rose garden with sculptures, pergolas, fountains, cascades, a little zoo, a children's playground, a mini train yard, and terraces with a lake view.
Every year in June there is a "Rose of the year" election on Mainau. Since 1871 the family has grown roses. Today the island has over 20.000 rose plants with 1200 different varieties. A Rose Queen is elected and Rose Balls and other events are organized.
The weather forecast for the two Mainau concerts was not favorable: rain, even thunderstorms and lightning…. That caused some panic, since the orchestra was also in the open air, no covers at all… and with those expensive instruments…. and gowns…
André decided that the dress rehearsal for Thursday would be the full concert, in order to film as much as possible, in case Friday had to be canceled…. Just to be sure.
That day we went to the island with our backpack filled with ponchos and umbrellas, as well as jackets, sun hats and sunglasses. Fortunately it stayed dry all day and night and the temperature was nice, so we did not even need to wear our jackets. We crossed our fingers and…. Friday was the same: hot and sunny. No rain at all. That was a big relief. We wondered: Since Germany is well known for all kinds of sausages: Bratwurst, Frankfurters... Could André have bribed Clara?? Does that work in Germany too??
To our surprise we met new fans we did not know before. They recognized us from our website and stopped us for a chat: Doro and Sidonie from Germany. Also a nice Polish couple, Johann and his wife, who live in Germany now. In the concert they waved the red and white Polish flag.
We also met "old" friends: Kirsten and Torben Esbensen from Denmark, and from Germany: Maria, Biggi, Sigrun and Monika.
During our walks in the Mainau park we ran into some JSO members and the debutantes from dancing school Elmayer in Vienna! They were already dancing near the cascade! We had nice little chats with them.
The concerts started with a helicopter flying over head, making a lot of noise, but André promised he would play: "You raise me up" again, as soon as the helicopter was gone. They were filming the opening scene from the helicopter.
The Bernadotte family was in the first row. The first day countess Diana was there, the second day Countess Brigitte took her place. The three tenors sang the "Dark Roses" song, giving three bouquets of red roses to three countesses in the first row: Bettina, Diana/Brigitte, and Sandra.
During the "Maxime" song Béla was "fooling around" with his top hat, very funny!
Carmen and Mirusia were marvelous, singing: "Send in the clowns". They were dressed like a black and a white "Pierrot" clown, with big sparkling tears on their cheeks….
Roger did a wonderful trumpet solo from the balcony of the castle (Il Silenzio).
Tanja did her "Swan" solo, Manoe played "Hava Nagila".
Mirusia sang my all-time favorite: "In mir klinkt ein Lied" (There is a song in me). André said that the German opera singer Anneliese Rothenberger had made this song famous. In spite of her aging years, she intended to be in the audience today. But unfortunately, very recently, she passed away. Mirusia sang the song in tribute to her.
Carmen sang "Love Live Forever", and André played a nice violin solo in "The Rose". The debutants waltzed on the gravel and the lawn during the "Blue Boden See" and the nobility joined in the waltz. We saw countess Bettina and her husband, and Count Björn (very tall) with his wife Sandra (very petite) doing very well!
After many encores the concerts ended at about 00.30 AM. We returned by bus to our hotel in Constance and we never did go to bed before 2.00 AM.
André ignored some people and children who wanted to give him gifts during the encores. He left the stage after the lullaby, saying goodbye to the audience. The children were left standing with their small presents. Some fans told us they did not like that, and they felt sorry for the children. But André would have had his reasons for that. The recordings?
During the two days we were in Constance, we went sightseeing in the historic center and the harbor (with the impressive, turning "Imperia" statue) of that city, but we also took a boat ride to the historic town of Meersburg on the other side of the lake and we also took a boat ride to Mainau once.
On Saturday the 12th we traveled back home by train, where we arrived safe and sound with a minor delay, at midnight. We will definitely cherish our memories!
The Rieu family, the security and some of the JSO members happened to stay in our hotel in Constance. To our surprise we met Mirusia and Carmen at the breakfast table… Other JSO members (like Gary) stayed in a hotel in Zürich!
On Wednesday October 20th 2010, the German ZDF broadcast the concert "Roses from the South" as recorded on the island Mainau. Below a small impression of this concert.
After watching this video, please continue reading/viewing this page. Here you find more information on the island Mainau and the videos we made during the concerts.