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Magical Homecoming

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Article from the Courier Mail, 5 December

by Phil Brown.

SOPRANO Mirusia Louwerse travels the world sharing the gift of song but it’s a show on Brisbane’s bayside that will be the highlight next year.

Louwerse, who is now in the happy position of being recognised by just her first name (like Elton or Madonna) is coming home, and one of the things she will be doing is a Mother’s Day concert at her old school, Ormiston College, in Redland City. Mirusia (we’ll call her that since everyone does) went to school at Ormiston College before going on to study classical voice at the Queensland Conservatorium, Griffith University.

Mirusia is looking forward to a triumphant homecoming. Now, hailed as “the Angel of Australia”, she’s world famous as star soprano for Andre Rieu’s mega-concerts. Her version of Schubert’s Ave Maria has had 27 million views on YouTube and she tours the world and is visiting Australia several times in the coming year.

Mirusia, who tours as a solo act with her chamber orchestra and Australian musical director Graeme Press, will be in Brisbane for a show at the Kedron Wavell Services Club in January and returns a few months later for a tour that will include several Queensland dates.

But the Ormiston College show on May 8 will be special.

“It will be extra special because it will be on Mother’s Day,” Mirusia explains when we speak over the phone from Maastricht in The Netherlands – Andre Rieu central – where she lives with her husband Youri Wystyrk, who she met when he was working on the production team at an Andre Rieu concert. They got married in a castle in the Netherlands in July.

It was a fairytale wedding for Mirusia, who seems to be living her own fairytale. But she’s very down to earth and coming home helps ground her, she says.

“My mum and dad, Henja and Jack, still live in the Redlands, where I grew up,” Mirusia says. “They’re looking forward to having me back home. And I do consider it home and Youri knows it well too. We worked together on Andre’s concert at Suncorp Stadium. I’m so excited to be coming back to Australia for my first full national tour.”

Mirusia with the legendary Andre Rieu, who helped launch her career.

But she’s so busy it will have to be broken up into several stages. Such problems.

Mirusia’s Dutch parents encouraged her talent, a talent that was recognised early on when she became the youngest ever winner of the prestigious Dame Joan Sutherland Award.

She had graduated from the Conservatorium and had a promising career ahead but no one realised how soon that career would take off. It was accelerated by her Dutch aunty who sent Andre Rieu an email introducing him to her talented niece. Rieu, the man who made classical music globally popular again, called Mirusia at home in Brisbane. At first she thought it was a prank but not long after that she was in Maastricht auditioning for him. And that worked out well for the pretty soprano.

She says some people have been critical of Rieu’s populist approach and, likewise of hers. “People can’t put me in a box and that’s a problem for them,” Mirusia says. “They think I’m not really a proper opera singer but, actually, I am. I can sing popular music but also classical. In the same way people criticise Andre and often that’s out of jealousy. All they would have to do to change their minds would be to come to one of his concerts and see how he inspires people with his music. It takes people away from the problems of everyday life and there’s never a dull moment.”

Mirusia denies she’s running out of time to start a family. Mirusia, 30, says she is taking life a day at a time and enjoying her life and success. “I have married my soulmate and I am very happy,” she says. “A lot of people say I’m getting old at 30, but there’s plenty of time. I can have kids when I am 40.”

Mirusia’s name is Polish and means, roughly translated, “brings happiness to others” . She has toured many countries and has recorded several CDs. Her last album, My Favorite Things is still selling well and expect to hear some songs off that one including a gorgeous version of You Are So Beautiful. Her new album, This Time Tomorrow, due out soon, is also the title of her solo tour.

Life is hectic touring. She has just done the first leg of her Australian tour and will be back a couple of times next year, but she will still be performing with Andre Rieu worldwide and at his concerts in Maastricht which is now a musical pilgrimage site. “People come to Maastricht from all over the world to see Andre’s concerts and they come up to me and say ‘we love you’, which is lovely,” Mirusia says.

“Andre and I have a great working relationship, When I met him for the first time it was like meeting someone I already knew. When I stand on stage with him I feel very comfortable. I graduated from the Con in 2006 and joined him in 2007, it was a quick progression and a wonderful apprenticeship.”

Rieu feels the same and says he is “proud to have been there from the start to see her career take off”. And take off it has. And it all started here which is why Mirusia is so happy to be bringing it all back home.

Mirusia - This Time Tomorrow [QLD Dates]: 
Kedron Wavell Services Club, January 16
Lingo Lin Performing Arts Theatre, Ormiston College, May 8
Ipswich Civic Centre, May 26
Empire Theatre Toowoomba, May 28 
The Events Centre Caloundra, May 29