Classical

We’ve reached the half way stage of the poll to find the best Alfie Boe recorded song 2018!  The song at number five is a new entry to the chart, having only been released in 2017.  The third song to feature Alfie with Michael Ball and taken from Together Again, the song is The Prayer:

Happily, this song was voted in at number five in this year’s Alfie Boe Best Live Song poll!

The song was written by David Foster and Carole Bayer Sager, with Alberto Testa and Tony Renis for the 1998 film Quest for Camelot and was originally two solo tracks; English for Celine Dion and Italian for Andrea Bocelli. The song was then released as a duet by Dion and Bocelli and that is the version that is most well known.

Composer Foster had said that is is “a song that I just never get tired of playing, I never get tired of hearing it, and I never get tired of people telling me that they enjoy it. And it seems to mean a lot—it means a lot of different things to a lot of people. So it’s a powerful piece of music. I think it came through me, and I think Carole’s lyric is beautiful. And it’s very meaningful to me that when all is said and done, there is a piece of music like that, that will undoubtedly outlive me. It was a moment—that song was a moment for sure.”

The Prayer was was one of my standout songs of Together Again – it’s beautiful and is a treat for those who love to hear Alfie sing in Italian. Both Alfie and Michael excel here and it seems to be a fitting song for the troubled times we currently live in.

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Last week saw the news that Alfie Boe’s new album, As Time Goes By (click here to order), will be released on 23 November and I’m sure there will be plenty of fans very much looking forward to hearing all the tracks.  Before then, however, we have the question that all fans are desperate to have answered:

What is the fans favourite Alfie Boe song 2018???

I’m happy to say that the vote is now closed, the votes have been counted and the results will be revealed over the next ten weeks, which will take us almost up to the week of the new album.  Anyone would think it was planned!

Without further ado, the song in at number ten is a song that featured in the first three charts but dropped out of the top ten last year.  From Onward, it’s A Living Prayer:

A Living Prayer shows off Alfie’s soaring vocals to perfection and is probably the reason why a song from one of Alfie’s lesser known albums has been eternally popular with fans, also being chosen several times as part of the Six Sensational Songs series.

A Living Prayer was written by bluegrass / country singer Alison Krauss and released on the Union Station album Lonely Runs Both Ways in 2004. The bluegrass roots are evident in this video of Krauss:

As evidenced from Alfie’s autobiography, he wasn’t too thrilled with the choice of songs for Onward, with the exception of A Living Prayer – hope he sings it again one day.

Onward is available here:

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Fans of both ITV’s The Voice and Alfie Boe were thrilled when they found out that one of the finalists from this year’s series, Belle Voci, were confirmed to support Alfie at his Scarborough show in June.  With just a couple of days notice, Emily Burnett and Sophie Rohan, who form the operatic duo, were just as thrilled, if not more so, to be supporting one of their musical inspirations.  They were even more delighted when Alfie popped into their dressing room on the day of the show and asked if they would share the stage with him on a couple of songs.  Here they are on You’re The Voice, appropriately enough:

I spoke to Emily recently and asked how Belle Voci got the opportunity to sing with Alfie.  It turns out that it’s all down to Jennifer Hudson turning for them on The Voice.  Deciding to audition for the show as a way to get footage for their website, neither Emily or Sophie expected anyone’s chair to turn and were “absolutely amazed.  It’s opened so many doors for us, we would never have sung with Alfie without it.”

As a result of getting to the final three, Emily and Sophie were signed by an agent and thus found themselves performing with one of their musical idols.  They say never meet your idols, but Emily was relieved to find that Alfie was “such a nice guy, loved working with him.”

Emily and Sophie met and formed Belle Voci a few years ago when they were both working in a pub (chef and waitress).  Both trained as singers, at Durham University / Royal College of Music and London School of Musical Theatre respectively and were looking for a way to forge a career in music.  Opera evenings, weddings and corporate events followed before the chance to do The Voice came along.  Just prior to appearing on the show, the duo decided to record and release their eponymous first album, showcasing seven operatic arias and Over The Rainbow, using the arrangement by Roderick Williams.  As the album concentrates on opera, I wanted to know why Rainbow was included – it turns out that it’s just because Emily and Sophie love to sing it.  Emily then said that “we hope that someone might like Over the Rainbow and then discover some of the other, operatic tracks and like them as well…it’s almost like drip feeding opera, introducing people to it who might not have had much before.”  Sounds remarkably similar to something Alfie would say – “there’s only two types of music: good and bad.”

I earlier mentioned that Alfie is one of Belle Voci’s musical inspirations, one reason being that they are “inspired by the musical choices he makes…we want to be like him, he’s so bang on trend with everything.” Emily and Sophie were at the Classic BRITs this year and thought it was awesome that Alfie and Michael won two awards.   Il Divo also gain a mention for their harmonies, as well as Katherine Jenkins (“she’s built an insane career for herself”), Laura Wright and Beyonce -Emily “loves her sass!”

Belle Voci’s album is available here:

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After the nominations closed for the 5th annual Best Ever Alfie Boe song (recorded) last week, I’m pleased to say that the poll is now open for votes once more!

Thanks to those who sent in their nominations – we have five new additions this year!

Bridge Over Troubled Water – nominated by Brenda Licence

You’re The Voice – Gill Jansingh

You’ll Be Back – Pauline Merrick

A Thousand Years – Karen Blower

He Lives In You – Ann Quelch

I originally started this poll to highlight the depth of Alfie’s repertoire and we have songs from all his albums to date, so we have more than accomplished this.  Whenever I talk about Alfie to non fans (yes, there are such people!), the song they always mention is Bring Him Home, twice the winner of this poll.  While it is the song for which he is always known, wouldn’t it be great for something new to top this year’s vote?

Voting will remain open until the end of this week and then the first song of the top ten will be revealed the week after – get voting!

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Although the summer is drawing to a close, don’t worry, because that means that it’s a little bit closer to the release of Alfie Boe’s eagerly anticipated solo album.  Set to be released in November, it’s something that Alfie fans have been looking forward to for a while now.

Before then, there’s the small matter of the now annual Best Ever Alfie Boe song poll, now in it’s fifth year.  We have another album, Together Again, to include in our favourites so let’s see if anything can knock Bring Him Home off it’s pedestal – newer fans, it’s not always been at the top of the poll!  How about this one for example – it was very popular at the Oxford Street HMV album signing last year!

The time has come for your nominations please – the longlist can be found on Spotify so click here to listen.  If you don’t find your favourite here, please fill in the form below:

Nominations will close on 30 August and voting will open the following week.

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Opera superstar Sir Bryn Terfel is releasing his first album for five years in September and I’m thrilled that Alfie Boe will be a guest!  Titled Dreams and Songs, the album is a collection of songs that Bryn loves.

Recorded at London’s Abbey Road studios, the album also features soprano Danielle de Niese on Amazing Grace, tenor Joseph Calleja on Granada and Katherine Jenkins on Tell My Father.  In addition, Dame Emma Thompson and Ron Brydon join Bryn on Do You Love Me from Fiddler on the Roof and The Golfer’s Lament, respectively.  There is also a world premiere recording of The Shepherd Poet Of Passchendaele, written especially for Bryn by Penclawdd-born Sir Karl Jenkins, the most performed living composer. The song is inspired by the story of Welsh poet Hedd Wyn, who died on the first day of the Battle of Passchendaele (the Third Battle of Ypres), with poignant lyrics written by Sir Karl’s wife – Lady Jenkins, Carol Barratt.

Alfie will duet with Bryn on John Denver’s Perhaps Love, recorded with Placido Domingo in 1981 – this will be tremendous with Alfie and Bryn’s voices.  Of course, Alfie and Bryn have known each other for a long time; Bryn appeared at the Royal Opera House whilst Alfie was a student in the Vilar Programme – click here (from 4.19) to see footage of the two of them together.  However, since then, the pair have performed together, most notably at the South Bank Awards, singing the Pearl Fishers duet.  This performance was the winner in an early thoughtsofjustafan poll to find your favourite Alfie Boe duet – duets have taken on a whole new meaning for Alfie since then!

Acclaimed worldwide for tackling the biggest opera roles, Sir Bryn’s new album – his first in five years – shows his lighter side with a collection of his most loved songs, recorded in brand new orchestral versions. He says, “This is some of my favourite concert repertoire. Songs and duets, some humorous encores that I just adore to sing. And how lucky I am to share the album with some incredible artists, and to record at the amazing, iconic Abbey Road.”

Alongside the release of Dreams and Songs, Sir Bryn Terfel continues to give major performances around the world. Following his title role in Falstaff at London’s Royal Opera House, he will be reprising his title role as Sweeney Todd at Zürich Opera in December. He will also sing with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall on 5th October for a special concert which includes music by Verdi, Wagner, Mozart and more.

Dreams and Songs can be pre-ordered here:

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Into August and the countdown to the 2018 Blackpool Illumination Switch On is under way – anyone going to see Alfie switch on?

In the meantime, let’s take a look at Janice Stark’s song selection.  Janice first saw Alfie on the Royal Variety Show 2010), bought the 25th Anniversary DVD has bought all his CD’s and DVD’s ever since. Janice says “I think I really prefer his opera renditions but the more modern songs have grown on me so tried to get a mix in my choice of six!”

Danny Boy, from Trust.

Dimming of the Day, Trust.

The Floral Dance at Children In Need Rocks for Sir Terry.

If I Can Dream, Storyteller.

Patiently Smiling, Love Was A Dream.

The Pearl Fishers Duet, with Bryn Terfel – Janice chose this or Nessun Dorma as her sixth song, so I chose this as it hasn’t been chosen before.

Another three new tracks have been added to our list – at this rate, we’ll eventually have every single song from Alfie!

If you would like to see your choices featured, please fill in the form:

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It’s been a very busy time for Alfie fans until recently and we haven’t had time to feature many fan stories, so this post sees more from our occasional series, Six Sensational Songs.

Today’s choices come from Chris Coats, who first saw him singing Stranger in Paradise on TV and thought “wow, what a voice.”  These are Chris’s songs:

You Are My Heart’s Delight, chosen by Chris as it reminds her of her grandparents, who loved Richard Tauber.  The same reason goes for Girls Were Made to Love and Kiss, from the same Lehar album, Love Was A Dream.  Sadly I can’t find a video of this but Soundcloud is the next best thing:

Core ‘ngrato, from Alfie’s first album, Classic FM Presents, was Chris’s mum’s favourite song and “had to be on the list”.

As I mentioned in the introduction, Chris first saw Alfie on this very TV appearance and it makes the list because it was the first time she heard THAT voice.

Mattinata, from La Passione, because “it’s such a lovely tune.”

The last of Chris’s six songs is from Serenata, Non Ti Scordar Ti Me and once again, I can’t find a video!

Yet again, I’m astounded that four new tracks have been added to our choice of six sensational songs, this time, very much in Alfie’s classical repertoire.

If you would like to see your choices featured, please fill in the form:

Finally, if you haven’t yet seen the news, Alfie will be switching on the Blackpool Illuminations on 31 August!

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Hot on the heels of Scarborough, Alfie Boe took his short summer tour to Llangollen, opening the annual Eistedfodd.  Roberta Kappus and Annie Lloyd were there for us.

In brief, Llangollen was brilliant! It was the fifth and final summer concert and Alfie saved the best for last. We had songs from Alfie’s new album, songs from La Passione and Serenata, songs from Classic Quad, songs from the Together albums and a lot of cheering when England beat Colombia plus a few bars from We’re Coming Home.  Following the win Alfie was so elated he pronounced Llangollen the best gig ever and more than enthusiastically went into his next song, You’re The Voice, which had been interrupted by the win. Showing his ability to follow football while delivering a masterful performance Alfie did not miss one word or note,  turning on a stage monitor showing the game and then with no hesitation going right into Swing.

The set list was a partial departure from the previous four shows. Taking the audience and the ambience of the festival into consideration he enthralled all with Bring Him Home followed by seven Italian songs, primarily from La Passione and Serenata: A Vuchella featuring Pete on guitar, Parlami D’amore Mariu, Mamma, Chitarra Romana, Volare with the usual very long note, Mambo Italiano and Buona Sera. The audience was up and dancing, clapping to the music and singing along especially with Volare and Mambo Italiano. During this segment Alfie stated that he had found new ways to sing some of the songs and if we send back our old cds he would re-record them for us. Of course he got a laugh.

The second half began with the usual audience involvement in Keep Me in Your Heart. Sir Terry Waite, seated in the centre of the front row was given the honour of being singled out as the male soloist, a role he graciously accepted to cheers from all.  Tom Petty’s Wild Flowers, first sung at Scarborough remained on the list as did many of the familiar songs.  I’m One took the place of The Real Me. The show ended with a very powerful Love Reign O’er Me which received and deserved a standing ovation.  Alfie quickly followed this up by returning for the encore and asking if we wanted another Who song. The approval was thunderous with people shouting out various Who songs. Alfie went with Baba O’Riley which was greeted with massive approval. The final song was, of course, Run.

The band was outstanding. They very smoothly transitioned from New Orleans jazz as Alfie calls it to the soothing rhythms of the Italian songs to the country music to the Who. They were just brilliant. Throughout it all the audience was in complete approval of everything sung. It is interesting to note that given Llangollen’s reputation, Bring Him Home received a partial standing ovation while all were on their feet to applaud Love Reign O’er Me. There is no doubt that the audience adored Alfie right from the beginning and were with him all the way through. Alfie was obviously having a great time despite the heat. The tent was very warm and the stage even warmer. Alfie went from jacket to just shirt at the beginning of the second half to pulling his shirt out towards the end. Following the final bows Alfie appeared reluctant to leave the stage wandering around a bit before finally exiting.

Together Alfie and the Llangollen audience proved that music has no boundaries. As Alfie said “it is the same notes in different order”. An evening to be treasured and remembered.

Thank you so much Roberta and Annie – let’s hope we see this repertoire at some point in the future!

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A summer evening – albeit a chilly evening – was spent in the grounds of Kenwood House, Hampstead Heath, London in the company of Alfie Boe and his fabulous band, not to mention fabulous friends in the form of Linda A, Linda W, Jayne, Cecelia, Roberta, Annie, Pauline, Jean and Claire.

Alfie’s set was almost the same as at Kelvingrove and Fleetwood, with a couple of differences and at least one new addition, to the encore.  Led Zeppelin’s Going To California was a new song, and Linda W was in seventh heaven (listen carefully and you can hear her gasps of delight at the beginning):

Alfie was, as usual, in fine voice and had all the energy you might expect from a performer at the top of his game and clearly having the time of his life.  I seem to write that sentence fairly often these days, but with every new concert, he just gets better and better and to me, it seems that he never takes his good fortune for granted, which unfolds as seemingly relentless energy on stage.  Just watching the energy on stage exhausts the audience, never mind Alfie himself!

Highlights were The Way You Look Tonight from his forthcoming album, Bring Him Home (very emotional this time), The Who section, particularly Pinball Wizard and the country section.  I love all those songs and having only discovered Wagon Wheel last year, via Alfie, I especially love the joy the band bring to that song.  The songs from Together and Together Again had the crowd singing along and of course we celebrated Ball and Boe’s double BRIT win too. However, the undoubted stand out song was Bring Me Sunshine; Alfie was joined on stage by the children of the Rays of Sunshine choir and they were magnificent:

They were all wonderful and I’m pleased to say that the audience were able to help bring joy and laughter into the lives of seriously ill children by giving to the collecting buckets available.  If anyone wasn’t able to give at the concert and would like to help, click here to donate.

I’m happy to say that I saw Alfie before the show and he obligingly signed some more competition bits so make sure you’re a subscriber to get first dibs on entries – coming soon!

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