Tag Archives: North Star Opera

On the First Day of Christmas, thoughtsofjustafan Gave to You…

…free music from Michael Boe and Sean Ashmore!

For a strictly limited time only (the twelve days of Christmas in fact) Michael and Sean’s latest single, O Holy Night is available for a free download – aren’t they lovely?

In order to share this with you, I’m once again partnering with Angry Baby, so to add this free copy of Michael and Sean’s O Holy Night, just click here.  This offer will only be available for twelve days so get it now!

In the meantime, here is the video trailer:

Once you’ve got that and enjoyed it (which I know you will), you might like Michael and Sean’s 2015 album, Along the Way which is available from North Star Opera. I have a few favourite tracks but the stand out for me was the duet with thoughtsofjustafan favourite, Beth Ford.  The new arrangement of Streets of London shows off both voices to their best.

click here to get the free download of O Holy Night

Merry Christmas

and I hope you enjoy the rest of The Twelve Days of Christmas

from thoughtsofjustafan





Rekindling my love of opera

Way back in the mists of time, I listened to a fair bit of opera, in fact, my first live music experience, aged 11, was a performance of La Boheme at my local theatre in Chelmsford, Essex.  My Dad was a huge opera fan and he took me to quite a few productions but La Boheme stands out head and shoulders above all the rest, probably because I sat and cried buckets at the end! Then, as I grew older, I fell out of love with opera and much to my Dad’s eternal regret, I didn’t really listen again for …over twenty five years!

In the last couple of years I’ve found myself listening to opera again, and I’m sure no one will be surprised that I’ve come back to it through Alfie Boe’s wonderful voice.

Shortly after becoming Boe’d, I bought as many of Alfie’s recordings as I could find and was delighted to come full circle to La Boheme.  I was thrilled to find Alfie’s Classic FM album, the cast recording of Baz Luhrman’s Broadway production in which Alfie sings the first act and best of all, the DVD of the 2009 ENO La Boheme.  (Il Divo fans will also love the Broadway recording as David Miller is one of the two other Rodolfo’s).

I have continued to listen to more and more opera since then but it is only recently that I felt like writing a blog post about it…and once again, La Boheme is at the core.  One of the two lovely Linda’s went to see the Royal Albert Hall’s production, which led to several conversations about our mutual desire to hear Alfie as Rodolfo (and I know we’re not the only ones)! And then, I published an interview with Alfie’s older brother Michael in which he reminded us that it was him who gave Alfie his first recording of La Boheme when Alfie was just 11. Thank you Michael! .

Michael’s recently released CD, A La Voix (available from North Star Opera) has also shown me that though La Boheme will always remain special, there is so much more to opera and I’m really looking forward to learning more.

A La Voix available from North Star Opera.

La Boheme DVD available here:

Broadway La Boheme CD (import):


Interview with Michael Boe!

Recent readers will be aware that Alfie’s older brother, Michael, has recently released a new album titled A La Voix. I am thrilled that Michael agreed to answer a few questions about him and his music, so here is my first ever interview:

Q We know you’re from a musical family so what is your earliest musical memory?
A: I remember, as a child listening to old gramophone records, yes I’m really that old! I longed to go into the church choir and became a chorister at the age of 9. At home, my main musical memory was of course my parents singing, marvelling that my mam seemed to have a song for every situation. She still does.

Q I understand you trained to be a BSL interpreter, are you still doing that and how does it fit in with North Star Opera?
A: I am a qualified BSL interpreter and that is what pays the bills. I’ve always had a great interest in languages and once we founded NSO, I made sure that we involved sign language interpretation in all our productions.

Q Tell me about North Star Opera and your collaboration with Sean Ashmore – how long have you been working together?
A: I first met Sean when I was singing the role of Ernani in Verdi’s opera, Ernani. He came in as a rehearsal pianist. This was 20 years ago and we’ve collaborated ever since. We set up North Star Opera in partnership with the Arts Council in 2003. He is also my Civil Partner and generally keeps me sane.

Q I listened to the sample of “Anthem” on youtube which sounds very different to your new CD “A La Voix”; how did you choose the music for this album?
A: Anthem was a departure for us; a chance to sing some of the modern songs we love. I’ll pass over to Sean to talk a little about his musical approach….
Hi all….Sean here….my take on Anthem was inspired by the USA hit show ‘Smash’ … Quality modern songs but presented in a classic way. The songs on Anthem reflect some new classics and we were delighted to be able to work on these new presentations. Sequencing these songs was an absolute delight and choosing the song layouts enabled me to work alongside Michael in a slightly different way than in the songs for ‘A La Voix’.

Q If you are able to record any more albums in the future, which direction would you like to go in
A: We always enjoy recording and we are already planning a programme of classical oratorio pieces such as Verdi’s Requiem, Puccini’s Messa di Gloria and perhaps some Handel. We’ll see. What would people like us to do? Let us know. No rap please.

Q If you could perform in any venue in the world, which one would it be?
A: We were always made so welcome in Canada and Italy but we love performing in intimate settings. We have just bought a house in the south of France and there is an old church in the Pyrenees nearby. I've got my eye on that.

Q If you could perform with anyone, alive or dead, who would you choose?
A: I am a HUGE Callas fan and would have loved to have sung with her. I also adore my baby brother too and have loved singing with him when we occasionally end up on the same continent.

Q Will you be performing anywhere to promote the new album?
A: There are no plans yet, we are currently restoring the house in France and our son Brendan has GCSE’s coming up so most of our time is currently spent persuading him to revise 😉

Q Finally, one Alfie related question! Has Alfie listened to any of your music and what does he think?

A: Alfie has always been very supportive. I’m the one who originally gave him his first opera LP of Boheme and we are very close. I am so incredibly proud of him.

Thank you to Michael and Sean for answering the questions and can’t wait to hear A La Voix in full. If anyone wants to put a review on here, please leave a comment or contact me via twitter).
Also, thank you to those fab friends who helped me choose the questions, you know who you are!

As ever, thank you for reading and for all your support – and don’t forget, Michael and Sean want to know your thoughts on any future recordings!