Tag Archives: duet

Alfie Boe’s As Time Goes By: Review

Two days until the release date of Alfie Boe’s new album,  As Time Goes By and it’s not a spoiler for this piece when I start by saying that it’s worth waiting four years for a solo album – it’s glorious.  The music of the 1920’s and 1930’s suits Alfie’s voice so snugly that you feel as if he’s always been singing this music.  These songs give the warmth in Alfie’s voice time to shine and the switch between big band sounds and the more intimate feel of the slower tempo songs showcase his extraordinarily wide repertoire.  The musicianship at work on this album is wonderful; it will be interesting to hear the differences on this and the live approach on Alfie’s tour next year.

As Time Goes By is a balance of smooth, classy, slower tempo tracks and some big band, upbeat tracks and they’ve got that balance absolutely right.  You’re eased in with La Vie En Rose and Moonlight Serenade before Sing Sing Sing launches into a song that has you up and out of your seat and dancing around.  In some of the many promotional interviews Alfie has recently done, he’s described wanting to “get down and dirty” with some of these tracks and for me, that is best embodied with Ain’t Misbehavin’ and Minnie the Moocher.  Both have an almost gravelly feel to them and whilst Alfie’s voice could in no way be described as gravelly, the arrangements are so good that gravelly is what I hear.  Following on from Ain’t Misbehavin‘, Mood Indigo also has a bit of a down and dirty feel about it but the big band accompaniment juxtaposes exquisitely to give it a sound all of it’s own.  These two songs are the stand outs for me.

Prior to listening to this album in full, my favourite track was The Way You Look Tonight, probably helped along by a smouldering performance on Britain’s Got Talent earlier this year!

Of the slower tempo songs, it’s still my favourite, although there isn’t a song out of place on the whole album.  These songs have such an intimate feel that you truly understand why the title of Alfie’s UK tour in 2019 is An Evening with Alfie Boe; they lend themselves to the kind of intimate feel a few lucky fans saw in the Isle of Man.  It remains to be seen whether the format stays the same – hope so!

There are three duets on this album and all three are delightful.  Alfie and Kelsey Grammer are clearly having a ball on Minnie the Moocher, you can hear the smiles and laughter in the singing.  Kara Tointon and Brennyn Lark on, respectively, Stompin’ at the Savoy and A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square are featured on songs that suit their voices wonderfully.  Of the two, I prefer Stompin’ but it’s a close run thing.   It would be fantastic to see either of these lovely singers guest with Alfie at one or other of his shows next year.

Overall, this is a wonderful album – there is not one song that shouldn’t be there and I loved all of them.  You might think that you don’t need another big band / swing / jazz album in your life but you’d be wrong.  As Time Goes By is a must have album, not just for Alfie fans but for everyone who likes good music.  It’s definitely up there with Alfie’s best albums.

As Time Goes By is available here:

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Alfie Boe to Guest on Bryn Terfel’s Dreams and Songs

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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On This Day, 8 June 2010, Alfie Boe Sang…

…the Pearl Fishers Duet with David Kempster:

Although this duet, Au Fond Du Temple Saint, is a concert staple for baritones and tenors, the song is of course from Bizet’s 1863 opera, The Pearl Fishers.  It is this opera, in the 2009/10 ENO season that gives us the memorable opening from Alfie’s autobiography: “Bizet nearly killed me.  I don’t blame him, it’s not his fault.” Alfie was talking about the chlorine poisoning he suffered whilst preparing for the show, which became, as it happens, one of his last for ENO – Les Miserables 25th anniversary concert was just around the corner.

Set in ancient times on the island of Sri Lanka, the opera tells the story of how two men’s vow of eternal friendship is threatened by their love for the same woman, whose own dilemma is the conflict between secular love and her sacred oath as a priestess.  After the initial premiere, The Pearl Fishers was not performed again until 1886 and since the mid twentieth century has become one of the most popularly staged operas worldwide.  ENO has restaged twice more since Alfie took the role of Nadir.

Lovers of Alfie Boe’s classical repertoire will also be familiar with his South Bank Award performance of this, with Bryn Terfel in 2011.  Alfie has performed very little opera since then but as he caught us all by surprise on the Serenata tour of 2013, by singing Nessun Dorma, Recondita Armonia and Caruso, never say never to hearing it again one day.  With Alfie, you just never know what to expect.

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Alfie Boe’s Best Live Song 2018: No.5

Halfway through the countdown to find your favourite Alfie Boe Best Live Song 2018 and we arrive at a song that many fans described as their favourite track from Ball and Boe’s Together Again album:

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.

Both Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli have sung this many times with other people and it has also featured in the repertoires of many other singers and festivals.

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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Alfie Boe 3rd Annual Best Ever Song: No. 2

Two weeks left on our quest to find our favourite Alfie Boe song…and just ten days until the first date of the tour hits Cardiff!

As mentioned last week, the top three songs in the 2016 poll are new entries this year – it’s really wonderful to see fans embracing some of Alfie’s less well known songs and showing them some love.  Number two is another favourite of mine (no, they’re not ALL my favourites!) and like number three, is also from Trust.  Unlike Trust, however, Dimming of the Day puts me in somewhat of a dilemma; the recorded version, with Shawn Colvin, only exists on the album which means I can’t show it to you here.  Luckily, Alfie performed this song extensively with Emilia Mitiku (click here to find out more about Emilia) on the Storyteller tour:

This version was chosen as third place (behind Laura Wright, Barcelona and Bryn Terfel, Pearl Fishers) in our poll to find fans favourite Alfie Boe duet.

Dimming of the Day was written by Richard and Linda Thompson and has been covered by many artists, including Alison Krauss, David Gilmour, Bonnie Raitt and Mary Black.  Of those, I like Black’s version the best:

The last word on this song has to go to the evergreen Tom Jones though, who sang Dimming of the Day on his 2012 album Spirit in the Room.  The song wasn’t written for him but it’s still an example of voice and song coming together in perfect harmony:

If you want to hear Alfie duet with Shawn Colvin you’ll have to buy the album:


Next week – number one!

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Come What May: Vote for Your Favourite Duet with Alfie

Some time last year thoughtsofjustafan ran a poll to find out the fan’s favourite Alfie Boe duet (the winner was of course Bryn Terfel with the Pearl Fishers duet) which threw up a variety of favourites ranging from the classical to Melanie C.  This poll came back to me recently when I saw the video (thanks Linda) of Rebecca Newman singing with Alfie on Come What May in Leeds.

This was a staple of Alfie’s repertoire on his Bring Him Home tour which enabled him to duet with his guest singer and promote his album at the same time but it fell out of favour until the Serenata tour of 2014, although Alfie sang it as a solo song.  I really like this song and have done since I first saw Moulin Rouge and have loved having it back in Alfie’s set so let’s see how many of you like it too, and which version do you like best?

Rebecca Newman’s chart topping album, Dare to Dream is available here:

rebecca newman

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Alfie Boe – The Duets Album?

If this were to happen, who would Alfie Boe love to duet with?  In the virtual sense, in a BFBS interview aired recently, he picks Freddie Mercury (think the new Streisand / Presley duet) but the two female voices he picks are Chrissie Hynde and Barbra Streisand.  They would be two completely different collaborations but I bet they would both produce wonderful results!

Here is the interview in full – a great listen if Trust is your favourite Alfie Boe album (thanks to Marcia for sharing):


Serenata is available now – don’t forget to pop a review on Amazon:


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