Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Mechanic Turned Tenor Thinks Covent Garden Is Snobby

"Former car mechanic Boe, 37 — who was given a three-minute standing ovation at the 25th ­anniversary of Les Miserables at the 02 Arena last year — says he is angry at the treatment he has received in the past because of his working-class background. The youngest of a Roman ­Catholic family of nine from Fleetwood, ­Lancashire, tells me: 'There is a huge class system at work in ­classical music. Years ago, lots of guys came into opera from ­working-class backgrounds, but now it is snooty and elitist.'
Boe, who used to sing arias as he worked on the production line of TVR sports cars in Blackpool, ­eventually successfully auditioned for D’Oyly Carte and went on to study at the Royal College of Music. But, although he has just finished a run at the Royal Opera House in Romeo And Juliet, he says he doesn’t care if he never performs there again."
Alfie began his studies at the Royal College of Music as an opera singer, entering into a love affair with arias that has cemented him as one of the most successful classical singers of his generation. After joining the D'Oyly Carte Touring Opera Company and graduating from the Royal College, he joined the National Opera Studio and went on to the Villar Young Artists Programme at The Royal Opera House.

Alfie's first big break came when Baz Luhrmann cast him as one of the main leads in his controversial production of Puccini's La Boheme, having spent two years looking for the right man to fill the role. His performance on Broadway earned him a Tony Award which sits comfortably next to his John McCormack Young Voice Award and Lyric Tenor of the World Audience Award.

With three top selling classical albums under his belt, Alfie Boe recorded his fourth album for Linn Records, who were named 'Label of the Year' at the 2010 Gramophone Awards: “Franz Lehar – Love Was A Dream” which was released in November 2009. Festival appearances in 2009 included San Francisco Symphony, Athens, Dublin, Kenwood, Grassington, Rochester and Lichfield. 2009 also saw opera performances as Rodolfo in Sir Jonathan Miller’s new production of La Boheme at ENO and a return to WNO as Alfredo in David McVicar’s production of La Traviata.

Alfie continues to be in great demand on both the concert and operatic stage and 2010 has been another busy year. Concerts included The Halle, Northern Sinfonia, CBSO, The Royal Philharmonic, The Welsh Proms, and Cheltenham Festival. Alfie also sang in operas The Pearl Fishers and Katya Kabanova for ENO in the first half of the year, and returned to Covent Garden in Romeo et Juliette later in the year. In September 2010 Alfie took the lead role of Jean Valjean in Les Misérables at the Queens Theatre for 11 performances, leading on to the two performances where he lead the cast at London’s 02 Arena, in Cameron Mackintosh’s 25th Anniversary of Les Mis.

1 comment:

  1. Somehow, I just can't hear Alfie saying this. (Thinking it, maybe, but not saying it.) Did anyone bother to call to confirm the quote?

    Also realize this column is on opera, but a noted English tenor plays to 36,000 people in one day, to critical acclaim and audience adoration, and it's buried at the bottom. Why? Because it's musical theater? Kinda proved the point there, didn't you?