…Land of Hope and Glory with Annette Wardell at Alive @ Delapre:
Alfie can be seen sporting his Jean Valjean haircut for Les Miz Broadway in this video – do we like? I’d completely forgotten that they sang this twice as we weren’t enthusiastic enough – and I’d also forgotten Alfie’s comments about what to wave!!! This was my last concert that summer and the first time I took my son, 9 at the time. He had a lovely time right up until Alfie started singing although he couldn’t help himself from singing along to quite a lot of the songs!
Land of Hope and Glory is of course heard annually at the Last Night of the Proms and was also England’s national anthem for the Commonwealth Games until 2010 – for those who have no idea about these games, England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales compete as separate nations, hence the need for a different national anthem. It was also included at the end of a number of Alfie’s 2015 summer concerts, either in those officially labelled as ‘Proms’ concerts or not.
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Last Night of the Proms is a British Institution and more recently, that has included Proms in the Park. The finale of the Last Night is always the patriotic fervour of Rule Britannia, Pomp and Circumstance et al and is guaranteed to get the crowd singing along enthusiastically (depending on whether we know the words!). This repertoire will have been bread and butter to Alfie as an aspiring and jobbing operatic tenor so he would have no trouble in remembering the words!
I have fairly often watched the second half of Last Night of the Proms on TV throughout my life and enjoyed it but never thought to attend Proms in the Park despite living just down the road from the London venue. All that changed in 2012 when I first fell into the world of Alfie Boe and got a ticket to see Alfie at the London Proms in the Park. I had met the ever lovely Linda W (not forgetting Alfie!) the week before at the Bluewater book signing and spent a delightful day with her in Hyde Park before the music started.
Since then, Alfie has appeared twice more at Proms in the Park (Glasgow and Belfast) and a furious evening of TV channel hopping and online surfing has duly commenced for me and every other UK fan sitting at home; I well remember the fury expressed when the BBC cut Alfie off in 2014 and then failed to show much of his set in the highlights!
Going further back, Alfie’s first recorded Proms in the Park was Swansea and of course, he appeared with Michael Ball in the Proms proper in 2008. Hopefully, Alfie will appear in many more Proms in the Park’s in years to come – until then we’ll have to content ourselves with his past performances, now in a playlist:
My favourite videos from this list are the bookend performances: Swansea and Belfast. I adore Alfie’s operatic performances, particularly Brindisi so it was wonderful to hear La Donna e Mobile in Belfast last year whilst also hearing the beauty of Serenata. I suppose it depends on where you stand in the classical Alfie vs. rock Alfie discussion as to which your favourite is – but do leave a comment and tell me.
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