A lot of heavy NOTP fans were rather surprised by the announced restyling of the Night of the Proms concerts in Antwerp, and that’s why we went with a lot of interest to the press conference for the 2015 edition of NOTP in Antwerp and Rotterdam. We can assure all the fans: a lot of work is done and the result will be a convincing show!
Throughout all the new elements in the concerts, Jan was assisted by a think-tank led by Thomas Vanderveken, a Flemish television presenter. Carl Huybrechts is in Antwerp still working behind the curtains but will continue to present the shows in Rotterdam, Luxemburg and the USA. The press conference was led by the new M.C. in Antwerp: Kobe Ilsen, working at the Flemish television station VRT. Kobe is as old as Carl was when Jan & Jan asked him 30 years ago to present the first NOTP show. You now have work for 30 years, Kobe!
First part of the restyling is the new conductor for Antwerp and Rotterdam: Alexandra Arrieche. She’s Brazilian, works in the States, young (only 34 years old). She came on stage in a beautiful red dress, lively and with humour; but she looked also very capable and serious to conduct Il Novecento. A lot of thanks were expressed towards Robert Groslot who will conduct the concerts in Germany.
The classical artist of this year, the tenor Fernando Varelo, sang Nessun Dorma from Puccini. Well, this live performance, that reminded us so much of Pavarotti and Nathalie Choquette (NOTP 1999), was really convincing; at 10.30 AM his voice was already firm, also at the more difficult higher notes and at the end of the aria. Nessun dorma! No one may sleep! For sure, we were not asleep: now we are assured that the classical part of the coming concerts will be of high quality.
And then there was Steven Kolacny, who is conducting the Scala Choir for almost 20 years. Gradually he became convinced that Scala and NOTP were a good match; the choir will not only accompany, but will also perform as a solo artist. The playlist will not only contain more intimate songs, but Scala will maybe sing a new song with Regi, a Belgian DJ and record producer.
Joe Jackson was never before on stage with a symphonic orchestra but is enthusiastic about the NOTP concerts. He is collaborating in the orchestral arrangements of his songs. All this is very exciting, as will also be John Miles (the keystone of the concerts) and Basement Jaxx.
Rob de Nijs from The Pretty Vanillas performed a song of Gavin DeGraw, and Kobe Ilsen confessed he was in love with Nathalie Imbruglia, when he was 16. So we had a talk about every artist.
And then came the questions. Totally new this year are large moving video walls. Next year NOTP is going back to Poland (12 March 2016) and to Sweden (19 March 2016), with a wonderful line-up: Zucchero, Simple Minds and Lisa Stansfield! And at the end of June 2016 NOTP is maybe going back to the USA.
And then Jan was asked: will there be a surprise act in Antwerp? Jan was sighing, moaning and turning his head, and we were sniggering. And Jan declared: you will have five surprise acts in the show! Jan, we will count them!
And after that, I went home with a smile on my face.
And the good news is not only exclusive for Antwerp and Rotterdam, since the last names for the German tour have been announced. Maria Mena https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maria_Mena is a Norwegian pop artist with different successful songs in Norway, Germany and all over the world as Just Hold Me https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tyvA6lFdiWc and All This Time https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MBH-QbN5BcQ. And also on stage will be the men capable of ecstasize the whole concert hall in only twelve minutes: OMD or Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark. They already played in the German tour of 2006, but now you can also find on their NOTP playlist a song like Enola Gay https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iK0XA02HzSk.
I’m going to Germany: you too?