Barcelona

All posts tagged Barcelona

As we come to end of the Summer Together Tour 2017 (just one date left), it’s once more time to indulge ourselves with six of Alfie Boe’s most sensational songs.  This time they are chosen by Anne Norberg, who, like Alfie, is a Lancastrian now resident in the USA.  These are Anne’s choices:

Run, chosen because “the VE Day celebration was the first time for us hearing Alfie sing this and it was so very poignant and moving. I would dearly love him to record this song.”

Forever Young at the US Memorial Day show 2015, chosen because “watching this on TV made my heart burst with pride and I clapped and cried. (I know many of you can relate). I had friends in other States all watching it too so it was something I could share with them. He displayed such presence, and commanded that stage. I love the way it built up slowly to that magnificent climax.”

Don’t Stop Me Now at Gary Barlow’s New Year’s Eve TV special, chosen because “Just WOW! Alfie was having so much fun and the audience were so involved and well, THAT VOICE! Pure energy and fun. Our boy can sing anything! It gives me burst of energy just to re-listen to this every time.”

Who Am I – Anne chose Alfie singing this at the 25th Les Mis concert but as it keeps disappearing due to copyright issues, I’ve chosen this 2011 TV version instead.  Anne’s reason for choosing the original is  “because I love the audience response when they first hear that incredible two, four, six,oh, one!!! And I would just be so excited for him when I was there in person each time!”

A Living Prayer, chosen because “the most amazing, beautiful voice cuts right through to my soul. And now I’m also aware of the purity of his younger voice then compared to the depth and richness it has now. I love both voices.”

Barcelona, with Laura Wright, chosen because it’s “spectacular, and another one of his power songs. He’s said this is a difficult sing and so I love his ability to master anything!”

Thanks Anne for your choices.  A Living Prayer is the most popular choice of your songs, having been chosen three times altogether, with only one song (Forever Young) appearing on the overall list.

If you would like your choice of six sensational songs to appear here, please fill in the form:

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The ride on the ENO Carousel with Alfie Boe and Katherine Jenkins is over and despite the sadness that it’s over, I’m left with an overwhelmingly lovely bunch of memories from these five weeks; Alfie was on top form as Billy Bigelow, I’ve had some fantastic stage door experiences and best of all, I got to share it with fabulous friends.  It also seems that Alfie thoroughly enjoyed the experience, judging from Instagram:

The role of Billy Bigelow will remain with me for the rest of my life. Thank you to all who helped me channel this complex character. I love bringing role to life but as a performer, we must remember “You’ll never be bigger than the show you’re in.” And my favourite line in the show is “Don’t be scared of people who don’t like you, just try liking them!” Love to you all.

Great choice of favourite line Alfie – perfectly demonstrates the overall theme of Carousel, redemption.  Thinking back over the shows I’ve seen, I think it is the story of redemption that will stay with me as much as the nuanced performance that Alfie gave, especially the further the run went on.  Alfie’s vocals were of course immaculate, that was never in doubt, but to see the subtle changes in his performance was something special and showed he really understood the flawed character he was portraying.  I’m really hoping that this is not the last time we see Alfie in a musical or even, a return to an operatic role.

Now, the competition winners! To celebrate both Carousel and thoughtsofjustafan’s third birthday, I’ve got five signed Carousel programmes to give away and the five lucky winners who knew that Alfie recorded Barcelona with Katherine in 2014 are:

Rhonda Greenwood

Pat Davies

Simmi Parkinson

Hazel Mackel

Jo Sorsby

Congratulations – send me your address details and I’ll get them sent out.  Here are Alfie and Katherine singing Barcelona in Edinburgh:

Alfie can next be seen at the New York City Center on May 23rd  – performing with Michael Ball, for one night only – click here to get your tickets now.

I’ll finish with one of my favourite moments from these five weeks – forgive the indulgence!

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What exciting news to wake up to this morning – Alfie Boe is to return to London’s ENO for a limited season of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, Carousel.  In the semi staged show, Alfie will play Billy Bigelow opposite Katherine Jenkins’ Julie Jordan, a casting that reunites them immediately after their one off Dubai Opera appearance on March 30th.  The pair have worked together many times previously, including a sublime duet of Barcelona on Katherine’s album, Home Sweet Home.

Carousel is full of iconic songs and Alfie has sung two of them before: You’ll Never Walk Alone is the encore song for the current Together tour as well as featuring on the top ten album of the same name and If I Loved You appears on Bring Him Home:

Carousel is the latest in a line of ENO semi staged musicals to grace the London Coliseum, with Sweeney Todd and Sunset Boulevard gaining rave reviews and sell out audiences (Lonny Price who directed both shows will also direct Carousel).  You’ll notice that I haven’t included the ill-fated Kismet – the less said the better!  Jenkins will make her stage debut in this production of Carousel and that, coupled with Alfie’s legions of fans is bound to mean that the show will be amongst the most sought after in 2017.

Alfie last appeared at the London Coliseum with ENO in Jonathan Miller’s production of The Mikado back in 2011 and since then his career has taken him in a different direction although he has of course played the lead in two Broadway musical productions in the last year.  Will this announcement mean Alfie will take on more roles like this?  I can’t wait to find out!

Alfie and Katherine’s Barcelona is available here:

katherine jenkins

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Following on from last week’s installment of Alfie Boe’s Best Live Song poll 2016, we have now arrived at the half way stage, with two songs that tied for second place in 2014.

Number six in the countdown is a song that hasn’t appeared in Alfie’s set list since the Bring Him Home tour and is quite tricky to find on YouTube (although it does feature on the Alfie: Live DVD) but luckily, we have Nikki Lewis to thank for recording Jacob’s Ladder in Birmingham, 2011:

Jacob’s Ladder is a spiritual, gospel tinged song that has been recorded by a variety of artists including Bruce Springsteen and Paul Robeson – click here to see these two completely different versions of the song.

As mentioned earlier, the song that was voted in at number five is the song that tied with Jacob’s Ladder for second spot last time and of course it’s Barcelona with Laura Wright:

Laura and Alfie’s voices work so well together and the audience here clearly thought so too.  Laura tweeted a photo the next day accompanied by “giving it some welly on the high notes last night” – well, there’s plenty of high notes Laura! Although this is the only footage we have of Alfie and Laura singing this together, Alfie did appear as a guest on Katherine Jenkins’s Home Sweet Home album singing Barcelona.

Barcelona was originally written by Freddie Mercury and Mike Moran and recorded by Mercury and the Spanish soprano, Montserrat Caballe in 1987.  Memorably, it featured heavily during coverage of the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.  Here is the original:

As we know, Alfie is a keen Queen and Freddie Mercury fan and during his ITV Perspectives programme on Mercury, he was seen backstage before the Barcelona song saying it was “quite a big sing”.  I also seem to remember he was messing about with his hair quite a lot as well!

Alfie: Live DVD and Home Sweet Home are available here:

Alfie BHH DBD

katherine jenkins katherine jenkins

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Two weeks until the start of the tour and we have three songs left in Alfie Boe’s Best Ever Live Song Countdown!  Yes, you heard correctly – this is the number two slot but there was a tie for the vote so two songs are at number 2!

The first is a song that we haven’t heard from Alfie since the Bring Him Home tour and it is the song he used to end the show with.  Jacob’s Ladder is spiritual, gospel tinged song that has been recorded by a variety of artists including Bruce Springsteen (again, I am continuing my musical education thanks to Alfie and only just getting into Springsteen – I know! – and thinking that he must be an amazing artist to see live):

For a completely different sound, here is Paul Robeson from 1958:

Here is Alfie’s version:

The second song in at number 2 is the much loved Barcelona duet with Laura Wright.  This song also made the top five duets poll earlier in the year and is one that is most often cited as a favourite amongst fans.  Alfie and Laura performed this at the Mercury Phoenix Trust Freddie for a Day fundraising celebrations in 2013 and later featured on Alfie’s exploration of Queen frontman, Freddie Mercury.

Breathtaking every time.

Don’t forget, from Monday, you can also download Alfie’s recorded version on Katherine Jenkins’ new album, Home Sweet Home:

katherine jenkins

Serenata is also released on Monday and can be ordered below:

serenata

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With two weeks left until Alfie Boe’s new album, Serenata, is released, I thought it would be a good time to look at how record labels choose when to release an album. This is particularly pertinent for Alfie Boe fans as we all got very excited when Amazon and iTunes listed Serenata as being released a week earlier than the original date, 17th November.  Unfortunately, that was a false start as a few weeks later, the album was back to it’s original release date.  Officially, there is no reason for this; it’s just the way things turned out.

Of course, when I started looking into the subject, it turned out to be a lot more complicated than you might think – as does pretty much everything!  Record labels exist to sell records, pure and simple and so attaining a good chart position and decent sales are the be all and end all of making an album.  Excellent quality records are great but if they don’t sell enough to pay the bills they aren’t going to keep the artist on the Christmas card list.

Looking at Alfie’s previous albums with Decca, this will be the fourth to be released in the run up to Christmas (Bring Him Home was released just after Christmas) and they have all sold well in that time frame, so a good decision to go for that again.  All have achieved top ten status in the official album charts in the first week and have continued to sell well.  Amazon currently lists all Alfie’s Decca albums in their top 100 album bestsellers.

Social media and fan forums have seen a fair amount of concern that Serenata is due to be released on the same day as albums by Katherine Jenkins and Michael Ball.  Although most of Katherine’s previous albums have hit number 1 on the classical charts, they have not had the same degree of success on the official “normal” charts, although they have usually achieved top ten status.  Michael’s first album hit number 1 on the official chart and since then, he has consistently achieved the top twenty.  At first glance they might be seen to be playing to the same audience but a look at the numbers doesn’t necessarily bear that out.

Alfie’s Decca albums, all released in similar time frames to Katherine and Michael, have all achieved top ten status and with his much anticipated and talked about return to a more classical style, there is no reason to think that this year’s sales should be any different.  In fact, it could be said that releasing Serenata on the same day as Katherine’s  Home Sweet Home will work to Alfie’s advantage as he is guesting on that album – let’s face it, once everyone listens to Barcelona on Home Sweet Home they will instantly want to hear more and buy Serenata as well!

On the same topic, in 2013 there were murmurs of disgruntlement from Alfie fans when Trust was released on the same day as Gary Barlow’s album.  Trust still achieved the top ten in that first week so it didn’t seem to hurt and, much as it may hurt to admit, Gary Barlow has a much bigger fan base than Alfie and appeals to a much wider audience.  In reality, releasing on the same day as a mega artist like Barlow really makes little or no difference to Alfie’s sales.

As fans, if we want to boost #AlfieBoeSerenata in the run up to the album release and the #AlfieBoeUKTour the way to do it is to shout about it as much as we can on our social media platform of choice – use the hashtags in everything you tweet about Alfie and retweet everything else you see.  If possible, get Alfie to retweet as well (alright, I know I’m asking a lot here, but it’s not impossible!) and let’s get him trending.

Bombard your local radio stations, as well as ClassicFM, BBC Radio 2 and any other stations you can think of, to play Alfie – don’t forget the hashtag #AlfieBoeSerenata!  A huge number of people listen to their local radio station each week which is why Alfie does a lot of promo appearances and linked interviews with them.

Hope you enjoyed finding out a bit about why record labels choose to release albums when they do – if you did, just let me know in the comments box and please share!

In anticipation, let’s take a look at Volare:

 

Serenata can be pre-ordered below:

serenata

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Soprano Laura Wright is a firm favourite with readers of this blog – in fact, her rendition of Barcelona was voted into the top five of  the Alfie Boe’s Favourite Duet poll.  Come What May made the top ten as well.

Laura recently took part in the recording of Global Radio’s Make Some Noise charity single, Steadfast and took time out to answer a few questions about this and her new album, Sound of Strength, for thoughtsofjustafan – thanks Laura!

Q:  What can you tell me about your involvement with Make Some Noise?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          A: I am recording a charity single with Classic FM, written by Howard Goodall to raise awareness of this amazing project to encourage young people to get involved in creating music but also helping to educate them on the music industry.
Q. Have you been involved with any other ensemble charity recordings like this?
A: I have yes, I recorded the 2007 World Cup song World in Union with many other artists, when I was part of All Angels. I also recorded a version of The Prayer for a Christmas charity single as well with All Angels, however this will be my first solo involvement in a ensemble charity recording.
Q:  You are also an ambassador for Nordoff Robbins, have you had the chance to see their music therapy at work?
A: I have attended several therapy sessions and seen the work Nordoff Robbins do. My most recent visit was to a dementia care home.  I began singing with some of the residents and suddenly they came to life, it was like seeing a glimpse of the person they used to be.
Q: Are there any more marathons in the pipeline?
A: Not as of yet however we are planning an even bigger challenge, so you’ll have to wait and see.
Q: Your Sound of Strength album has a really innovative sound  – how did you come up with the idea?
A: It’s a reflection of myself really…fusing my two passions in life, sport and music. I wanted to do something that was inspiring, something new and innovative. I wanted the album to have excitement, beauty and to empower the listener.
Q: And how did you pick Dr. Karageorghis to help you?
A: I had heard about some of his work with Dai Greene [World 400m  hurdles champion, where he created a playlist to enhance the athlete’s performance. I wanted to back up my creative thoughts with something scientific and Dr. Karageorghis seemed the right choice to help sequence the album and show that music can enhance someone’s emotions.
Q:  Nessun Dorma was my favourite track, the first time I’ve heard a soprano sing this.  What was the inspiration behind the choice?
A:  A lot of the music on the album has been inspired by sporting moments. For me, one of the most powerful moments in sporting history when referring to music was when Nessun Dorma was sung by the three tenors for the football world cup. A perfect example of sport and music combining to create something extremely powerful. I wanted to recreate that moment but with a female voice and driving beats. My three elder brothers also feature on the track as backing vocalists.
Q: Apart from Sound of Strength, what can audiences expect on your 2015 tour?
A: Of course I’ll be reflecting on my first two albums and performing some of the music recorded with the RPO and Anna Barry, along with some of my favourites from Glorious. As well as music from my latest album Sound of Strength… I want to create something very dramatic through sporting references. I aim to help bring the audience back to a point when these sporting  moments took place, via the power of music.
Q: As this is your first headline tour, what do you think will be the hardest / easiest things?
A: The hardest…to find a gym near every venue..haha! It’s always a challenge being away from home, but I look forward to my date in Ipswich when my family and friends will be coming.
Q: Fans voted your Barcelona duet with Alfie Boe, in their top 5 Alfie Boe duets (Come What May made the top 10) – tell me how was it to sing that iconic song?
A: Wow! Thank you!! I was incredibly nervous about singing it, but so excited too! And to sing such a historically important song at a Freddie Mercury function with Alfie, was for me a very special moment! I remembering coming off stage on such a high…I think I had heat rash!
Q: Any plans to sing with / record with Alfie again – Alfie Boe fans have a lot of love for you!
A: We recently performed World in Union together at Jonny Wilkinson’s Testimonial dinner which was so much fun. Alfie and I always have such fun on stage so whenever there is an opportunity to sing with him, I feel very lucky!

Well, Alfie’s fans also feel very lucky to be able to enjoy Alfie and Laura singing, here they are in 2012 singing Come What May:

Thanks Laura – hope to see you sing with Alfie again very soon!

Laura’s album, Sound of Strength, can be ordered now from Amazon:

laura wright sos

 

 

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Looks like Alfie Boe is starting to be busy over the next few weeks – in addition to appearing at Elton John’s annual fundraising bash on 4th September, he is scheduled to appear on BBC Radio Ulster for a brief chat tomorrow evening (Sunday 31st).

Apparently Alfie will be on about 8.45pm (UK time).  Alfie’s upcoming appearance at Belfast’s Proms in the Park is bound to be the subject of the interview.

As Alfie will be in the UK this week, wonder if he’ll appear, for the third year in a row, at the Mercury Phoenix Trust’s Freddie for a Day fundraiser?

For a Saturday treat, let’s look back at Alfie and Laura Wright singing Barcelona at the 2013 event:

 

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On the face of it, it’s a wonder that Alfie Boe and Katherine Jenkins haven’t collaborated more.  Both are from distinctly non traditional classical backgrounds, he from Fleetwood, Lancashire and she from Neath, South Wales.  They even both won scholarships to distinguished music colleges (Royal College of Music and Royal Academy of Music, respectively) although their route to these life changing opportunities were markedly different.  However, it is their choices taken after graduating that may indicate the reason as to why their forthcoming duet on Katherine’s new album is only their second collaboration (they previously performed together at a John Barry tribute in 2011).

After graduating, Alfie began performing in opera houses around the world, taking the more traditional route of trained opera singers, whilst Katherine signed the biggest recording deal in classical music (at the time) at the age of 23.  Hit album after hit album for her label, Decca, followed and although she was often asked about venturing onto the stage in an operatic role, that has never really been part of the plan.

Katherine Jenkins was born in 1980 and began singing as a child, appearing in the Choirgirl of the Year competition and the BBC radio 2 Welsh Choirgirl of the Year (winning twice).  She was also a member of the Royal School of Church Music Cathedral Singers and the National Youth Choir of Wakes.  A performance at a mass honouring the Pope’s silver jubilee at Westminster Cathedral followed her graduation from the Royal Academy of Music and she also supported Aled Jones on tour, before performing at the Sydney Opera House as a special guest of Max Boyce.  Since then, in between releasing her albums, and appearing on Dancing with the Stars on US TV (she came second) she has also been the Forces Sweetheart, only last month appearing at the D Day 70th anniversary commemorations at the Royal Albert Hall.  As I write this, I’m struck by the thought that maybe this early career trajectory is also in the minds of those masterminding soprano Laura Wright’s career.  Laura is also signed to Decca, has a couple of hit albums to her name and also appeared at those D Day commemorations, albeit in France in the morning and not at the Royal Albert Hall in the evening.

Katherine is now back with the label that started it all, Decca, after an ill-fated detour with Warner Bros.  I’m guessing the title of her new album, 10 years after her first signing, Home Sweet Home, is about more than just returning to a more traditional classical repertoire.

Perhaps we will see more of Katherine and Alfie together in the future, given that they have duetted on Barcelona.  Certainly, their PR machines seem to be working in accordance; tracks from both albums were played by John Suchet on his ClassicFM radio show recently, both have CD and calendar bundles available from Decca and both albums are due for release on the same day, 17th November.  Click here to pre-order Alfie Boe’s Serenata and Katherine Jenkins’ Home Sweet Home.

Let’s take another look at Barcelona, from the Edinburgh Castle concert last weekend:

for more info about Katherine, click here for her website:

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Hot on the heels of the news that Alfie Boe has recorded Barcelona on Katherine Jenkins’ new album, we heard the song live for the first time.

Alfie and Katherine appeared at the “Live at Edinburgh Castle” concert ahead of next week’s Commonwealth Games and while all the pop acts got at least two songs each, the classical acts had to put up with only one, much to the consternation of their fans!  Twitter and facebook were (and still are) awash with comments along the lines of “why only one song”.

Still, in the case of Alfie and Katherine, what a corker their one song was!  If you haven’t seen it yet, or even if you have and want to see it again…and again…and again, here it is:

If you want to pre-order the album, click on the image below:

katherine jenkins

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