If you’ve read Alfie’s autobiography, My Story, you’ll know that The Pearl Fishers, which features Je Crois Entendre Encore, is probably not Alfie’s favourite opera. You might recall that the first line of the book is “Bizet nearly killed me” (I don’t normally recall the opening line of biographies, but it’s a cracking opener). As Alfie acknowledges, it wasn’t really Bizet’s fault; rather, Alfie suffered a bout of chlorine poisoning whilst filming a segment for the ENO production of the 1863 opera.
The Pearl Fishers is set in Ceylon and features a tenor (Nadir) and baritone (Zurga) both falling for the same soprano (Leila) who is having her own dilemma in choosing between secular love and her oath as a sacred priestess. Although it was a not a brilliant success when it was first premiered, the music is often popular with modern audiences. Indeed, Alfie’s duet with Bryn Terfel, Au Fond Du Temple Saint at the 2012 South Bank Show Awards topped the recent Alfie Boe Favourite Duet poll.
Je Crois Entendre Encore has been recorded by a number of tenors (inlcuding Alfie’s brother Michael on his recent album A La Voix), and also by other artists such as David Gilmour and Alison Moyet. Gilmour’s interpretation was interesting but I liked Alison’s version. The video below shows Alfie singing “acapulco” (watch the video if you don’t know what I mean) at Westonbirt Arboretum in 2012, but before you take a look, here is Janet Hudson’s story about her favourite Alfie Boe song:
My favourite Alfie song is Je Crois Entendre Encore as performed at Westonbirt Aboretum July 2012. My daughter had bought tickets and was taking me to the concert as a birthday treat. I was so looking forward to it and dared to hope Alfie would sing this song. Just a few days before the concert my then 12 year old grandson was rushed to hospital and diagnosed with Leukaemia. Needless to say we didn’t make the concert. Every time I hear Alfie singing this beautiful song I am moved to tears with all kinds of emotions. I am filling up now!! Happy to say Mikey is in remission and doing well x
Thank you Janet for sharing your Alfie story we all hope Mikey continues in remission xx
Thanks to Linda Wellington for sharing xx
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