Operation Underground Railroad

All posts tagged Operation Underground Railroad

Last Saturday, Alfie Boe performed to a mostly local Utah crowd as part of the Elizabeth Smart/Underground Railroad charity event which raised money to fight human trafficking.  Alas I don’t live in Utah but several friends live either in Utah or near enough to be able to fly to the concert, so we are lucky enough to be able to review the concert for you!  The following is written by a long term Alfie fan, Roberta Kappus (who wrote a fabulous review of Les Mis on Broadway for us) and a new fan (in fact, she was Boe’d right there on Saturday night!), Lisa Saxon.

Upon arriving at the venue, just outside Salt Lake City, we could hear Alfie singing and immediately rushed to the edge of the auditorium to see and hear what we thought was a sound check. We later found out it was actually the end of the rehearsal.  The orchestra and the performers had only gotten together on the day of the performance and rehearsals had been going on all day for everyone. What we didn’t realize at the time was that Alfie was already dressed for the show. He did see us standing in the back and gave us a wave.

There was then a meet and greet arranged, for which 400 people had signed up ; although Alfie was not the only performer there we were naturally concerned that everyone would want to see him and we wouldn’t get the chance. Luckily, the organisers were kindness itself which we discovered when some of our group (former members of Alfie’s previous fan site) began to tell the staff about us and other fans.  This led to them taking photos of us and then we were told to follow them…down several flights of stairs to a sub basement somewhere in the building.  They had just made arrangements for the 16 of us to see Alfie separately from the Meet and Greet group for a few minutes!  We were told that Alfie was meeting with the governor and would see us next.  The door opened and Alfie walked out looking somewhat stunned to see 16 of us standing there. He quickly regained his composure and graciously said a few words to each of us while posing for pictures.

The performance was great – Alfie began with Chitarra Romana which was followed by A Vuchella.  He was wearing jeans, a collarless white shirt hanging down below his waist coat and looked great. He was relaxed, confident and putting everything he had into each of the songs.   Alfie’s next song was Wheels of a Dream and one of his best performances of this song that I have heard. By this point it was really clear that Alfie was not holding back. He was putting everything into each song – all the emotion and passion that he had. And the audience knew it.  A  standing ovation duly followed.  Then came In My Daughter’s Eyes which he dedicated to all the fathers in the audience. Lisa, she who has just been Boe’d, says

I get it now. I really get it. After Alfie Boe finished his soul-penetrating rendition of “In My Daughter’s Eyes,” at the benefit concert at Utah Valley University, I was on my feet – giving him a well-deserved standing ovation. My dear friend Claire and my new friend Cheryl smiled broadly. In that moment, both knew I had been Boe’d.

Roberta goes on to say that Song of the Siren which was never one of my favorites became one that night. That was sung with Gentrie,  3 tenors in their late twenties who had performed earlier. This was really the best Song of the Siren I have ever heard Alfie sing (thanks to Claire smith for sharing):

Alfie introduced the next song by saying it was from the movie Moulin Rouge which never made it to a musical show and that was too bad because he would have been excellent in the role. Obviously the song was Come What May sung with Rachel Woodward Hansen. This was the second standing ovation of the night and well deserved.  I’ve added this video to the youtube page – click here.  Altogether Alfie received 4 standing ovations.

People in the audience were now shouting “Bring Him Home“. Alfie went to the microphone and said that his next song would be from Les Mis which drew a lot of applause. Then he announced it would be Who Am I. To me this was the best song of the evening. I think Alfie put all the emotion and passion that he could into this song.  He was truly in Jean Valjean’s world.  This was the third standing ovation which went on for a very long time. Alfie left the stage after the song and was off for longer than usual before coming back for his encore – Bring Him Home which is always excellent. The applause for Who Am I never stopped until Alfie came back on the stage. It never decreased in intensity either. In my opinion Who Am I beat out all the other songs as best for the evening (thanks again to Claire):

As well as Lisa, many of the audience did not know Alfie before this concert but they are surely new fans now! Some comments made directly after Alfie’s performance:

“Speechless. Could not have asked for more.”  “I loved it. Better than the O2.” “Bloody great. The set list was unexpected. ” “Just WOW.” “He could not have done better.” “Wonderful. He blew everyone away.” “Loved the songs he picked given that there were no arias. Fine voice.” “He killed it.” “There is no doubt Alfie owned the night.”

Thank you to Roberta and Lisa for reviewing and commenting for me, much appreciated.  It would be lovely to think that more Alfie concerts could be scheduled for the US but methinks that may be asking too much – in the meantime, you could always move to Utah!

if you’re a new fan since the concert, welcome!  check out the Discography page (click here) to find out more about Alfie’s amazingly versatile recording career

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Tuesday 27 January saw the announcement that Alfie will appear in concert in his adopted home state of Utah on 14 March 2015.  The concert will be held at Utah Valley University UCCU Center and tickets are on sale now (click here for the ticket vendor).  Alfie will join local artists Lexi Walker, The One Voice Children’s Choir and We Are The Strike as well as the Utah Stars and Friends orchestra to raise money for the Elizabeth Smart Foundation and Operation Underground Railroad.  Updated 6 Feb 2015: click here to see Alfie mentioned in Huff Post article (not mine!) about the Elizabeth Smart Foundation.

This is the second year in succession that Alfie has performed in a Utah charity concert; in June 2014 saw him appear in a fundraiser for the Children’s Center Utah.  Again, the charities involved raise funds for children, in this case, children who are victims of abduction and trafficking.

The photo used in the press release is from Serenata – the audience is in for a treat if he sings those songs!

Click here for the original article including a short video (no Alfie though!).

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