The classical world has known for some years now that Alfie Boe is a talented singer; he studied at the Royal College of Music, the National Opera Studio and the Royal Opera House as part of the Vilar Young Artists Programme and subsequently has performed in several operas and released a number of classical albums. It wasn’t until he took the leading role of Jean Valjean in the 25th Anniversary concert of Les Miserables at the O2 in 2010 though that the name of Alfred Giovanni Roncalli Boe became more widely known outside of opera circles. A stint playing the role in the West End production of Les Mis at the Queen’s Theatre, two musical-themed albums and a UK tour have cemented him as a star talent and announcements regarding his activities for 20120/13 will surely ensure that his star keeps on rising.
Boe has signed a book deal with Simon & Schuster for a tell-all autobiography to be released later in the year. Boe has already spoken about the early years of his life and career: the youngest of nine children, the Lancashire-born Boe discovered opera through listening to his father’s records and used to sing arias at the garage in Blackpool where he worked as a mechanic – a chance encounter there with a client who had connections to the music business led him to move to London and embark on a singing career; a path which has clearly worked out very well for him. There is still much that people don’t know about Boe however and his experiences in the world of opera and musical theatre are sure to make for interesting reading.
Following the success of his last two albums, Bring Him Home and Alfie, which sold close to 700,000 copies, Boe is also set to release a new studio album in November 2012. Details about the album have yet to be revealed but fans can get an idea of what to expect from his previous albums. Bring Him Home offered listeners a compilation of classic musical theatre songs while Alfie, which still appeased the theatre fans with more popular show tunes, branched out a little further with songs such as Frank Sinatra’s ‘It Was A Very Good Year’ and a reworking of Martina McBride’s ‘In My Daughter’s Eyes’, as well as the folksy duet ‘Song to the Siren’ with Robert Plant. Everyone knows by now that the man can sing, but it would be nice to hear Boe stretch his voice even more on this next album by taking bigger steps towards tackling a diverse range of material.
After the release of what will be his fifth studio recording, Boe will be embarking on his ‘biggest UK tour to date’. His first concert will be performed at the Birmingham NIA on 22nd March 2013 and continue on into April, visiting some of the most prominent venues in the country. A number of confirmed dates were announced yesterday, which see Boe travelling to Manchester, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Newcastle, Brighton, Plymouth and Bournemouth before finishing up with two London dates at the Royal Albert Hall. Speaking about the new tour, Boe said “I’m so excited to follow up the Bring Him Home Tour which was one of the highlights of my career so far. To be performing in arenas is a dream come true and I can’t wait to get back on the road and see all my fans again in 2013.” Tickets go on sale Friday 16th March 2012 at 9.30am.
I went to see Boe in Nottingham on his Bring Him Home tour and it was a highly enjoyable evening. As well as songs from his albums, Boe’s big voice took on a variety of musical genres, performing well-known hits from such artists as The Beatles and Chris de Burgh. He not only handled them with ease but absolutely ran away with them, displaying the power of his voice and proving that opera is not his only forte – if his set list didn’t convince you of that, his enthusiastic session on the drums at the end of the concert certainly did. With a series of hilarious appearances from Boe’s close friend Matt Lucas and the addition of guest vocalist Laura Wright’s stunning soprano tones, it was a night of fun, music and a whole heap of talent. On the back of that experience, I will be looking to see Boe perform again on his new tour. Anyone who was unable to make it to any of the Bring Him Home dates should make sure they don’t miss out again, and with the live DVD of that tour released this week, it would be well worth the while picking up a copy.
Boe is an extremely talented individual and it’s always a lovely thing to see someone receive the success they deserve; I’ve met Boe and he is a warm, funny, down-to-earth person who hasn’t succumbed to his own hype – as some tend to do. It’s clear that his fans still love him as much as ever and with everything he has coming up in the next year, both Boe and his fans are going to be kept very busy indeed.
By Julie Robinson (@missjulie25)
Thursday 15th March 2012