On the face of it, it’s a wonder that Alfie Boe and Katherine Jenkins haven’t collaborated more. Both are from distinctly non traditional classical backgrounds, he from Fleetwood, Lancashire and she from Neath, South Wales. They even both won scholarships to distinguished music colleges (Royal College of Music and Royal Academy of Music, respectively) although their route to these life changing opportunities were markedly different. However, it is their choices taken after graduating that may indicate the reason as to why their forthcoming duet on Katherine’s new album is only their second collaboration (they previously performed together at a John Barry tribute in 2011).
After graduating, Alfie began performing in opera houses around the world, taking the more traditional route of trained opera singers, whilst Katherine signed the biggest recording deal in classical music (at the time) at the age of 23. Hit album after hit album for her label, Decca, followed and although she was often asked about venturing onto the stage in an operatic role, that has never really been part of the plan.
Katherine Jenkins was born in 1980 and began singing as a child, appearing in the Choirgirl of the Year competition and the BBC radio 2 Welsh Choirgirl of the Year (winning twice). She was also a member of the Royal School of Church Music Cathedral Singers and the National Youth Choir of Wakes. A performance at a mass honouring the Pope’s silver jubilee at Westminster Cathedral followed her graduation from the Royal Academy of Music and she also supported Aled Jones on tour, before performing at the Sydney Opera House as a special guest of Max Boyce. Since then, in between releasing her albums, and appearing on Dancing with the Stars on US TV (she came second) she has also been the Forces Sweetheart, only last month appearing at the D Day 70th anniversary commemorations at the Royal Albert Hall. As I write this, I’m struck by the thought that maybe this early career trajectory is also in the minds of those masterminding soprano Laura Wright’s career. Laura is also signed to Decca, has a couple of hit albums to her name and also appeared at those D Day commemorations, albeit in France in the morning and not at the Royal Albert Hall in the evening.
Katherine is now back with the label that started it all, Decca, after an ill-fated detour with Warner Bros. I’m guessing the title of her new album, 10 years after her first signing, Home Sweet Home, is about more than just returning to a more traditional classical repertoire.
Perhaps we will see more of Katherine and Alfie together in the future, given that they have duetted on Barcelona. Certainly, their PR machines seem to be working in accordance; tracks from both albums were played by John Suchet on his ClassicFM radio show recently, both have CD and calendar bundles available from Decca and both albums are due for release on the same day, 17th November. Click here to pre-order Alfie Boe’s Serenata and Katherine Jenkins’ Home Sweet Home.
Let’s take another look at Barcelona, from the Edinburgh Castle concert last weekend:
for more info about Katherine, click here for her website:
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