La Passione

All posts tagged La Passione

Hot on the heels of Scarborough, Alfie Boe took his short summer tour to Llangollen, opening the annual Eistedfodd.  Roberta Kappus and Annie Lloyd were there for us.

In brief, Llangollen was brilliant! It was the fifth and final summer concert and Alfie saved the best for last. We had songs from Alfie’s new album, songs from La Passione and Serenata, songs from Classic Quad, songs from the Together albums and a lot of cheering when England beat Colombia plus a few bars from We’re Coming Home.  Following the win Alfie was so elated he pronounced Llangollen the best gig ever and more than enthusiastically went into his next song, You’re The Voice, which had been interrupted by the win. Showing his ability to follow football while delivering a masterful performance Alfie did not miss one word or note,  turning on a stage monitor showing the game and then with no hesitation going right into Swing.

The set list was a partial departure from the previous four shows. Taking the audience and the ambience of the festival into consideration he enthralled all with Bring Him Home followed by seven Italian songs, primarily from La Passione and Serenata: A Vuchella featuring Pete on guitar, Parlami D’amore Mariu, Mamma, Chitarra Romana, Volare with the usual very long note, Mambo Italiano and Buona Sera. The audience was up and dancing, clapping to the music and singing along especially with Volare and Mambo Italiano. During this segment Alfie stated that he had found new ways to sing some of the songs and if we send back our old cds he would re-record them for us. Of course he got a laugh.

The second half began with the usual audience involvement in Keep Me in Your Heart. Sir Terry Waite, seated in the centre of the front row was given the honour of being singled out as the male soloist, a role he graciously accepted to cheers from all.  Tom Petty’s Wild Flowers, first sung at Scarborough remained on the list as did many of the familiar songs.  I’m One took the place of The Real Me. The show ended with a very powerful Love Reign O’er Me which received and deserved a standing ovation.  Alfie quickly followed this up by returning for the encore and asking if we wanted another Who song. The approval was thunderous with people shouting out various Who songs. Alfie went with Baba O’Riley which was greeted with massive approval. The final song was, of course, Run.

The band was outstanding. They very smoothly transitioned from New Orleans jazz as Alfie calls it to the soothing rhythms of the Italian songs to the country music to the Who. They were just brilliant. Throughout it all the audience was in complete approval of everything sung. It is interesting to note that given Llangollen’s reputation, Bring Him Home received a partial standing ovation while all were on their feet to applaud Love Reign O’er Me. There is no doubt that the audience adored Alfie right from the beginning and were with him all the way through. Alfie was obviously having a great time despite the heat. The tent was very warm and the stage even warmer. Alfie went from jacket to just shirt at the beginning of the second half to pulling his shirt out towards the end. Following the final bows Alfie appeared reluctant to leave the stage wandering around a bit before finally exiting.

Together Alfie and the Llangollen audience proved that music has no boundaries. As Alfie said “it is the same notes in different order”. An evening to be treasured and remembered.

Thank you so much Roberta and Annie – let’s hope we see this repertoire at some point in the future!

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With ten weeks to go until the start of Alfie Boe and Michael Ball’s Together Again tour, it’s time to count down Alfie’s ten best live songs, as voted for by you in 2017.  There are a few new entrants to the top ten and one or two surprises but the first in our countdown is O Sole Mio / It’s Now or Never from the Diamond Jubilee concert in 2012:

For many years, O Sole Mio would have been a song extremely well known to Alfie and he was still performing it well into 2012, albeit with a bit of Elvis thrown in.  Here’s the master himself:

A different arrangement of It’s Now or Never featured on the Storyteller album but was never performed live.  This song has long been a favourite with fans and cemented this with an appearance at number nine in the 2016 Best Live Song poll.  It has also been chosen twice in our semi regular Six Sensational Songs series.

O Sole Mio was written in 1898 and has been recorded and performed by huge numbers of people, making it one of the most famous Neapolitan songs around.  Alfie himself sang it on his 2007 album La Passione although that hasn’t stopped him having to explain that it’s not about ice cream to UK audiences – for those of you outside our sunny shores, the tune of O Sole Mio was the theme of Cornetto ice cream TV adverts for a ten year period in the 1970’s and 1980’s.

Sorry – I just couldn’t resist putting it in!

O Sole Mio is available on La Passione:

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The first song in the 2017 countdown takes us back to the earlier part of Alfie’s career, with the only representative from La Passione to make the list, Parlami D’amore Mariu:

This song featured in the first Best Ever Alfie Boe Song poll and came in there at number six – since then it hasn’t featured at all, possibly as we have seen a distinct move away from Alfie’s classical repertoire in the three poll since then.

Written for a film soundtrack, Gli Uomini Che MascalzoniParlami D’amore Mariu was written in 1932 by Cesare Andrea Bixio and Ennio Neri for the voice of Vittorio De Sica and translated, means “Tell Me That You Love Me”.  The original sounds like a film soundtrack but the most well know version is of course in the neapolitan style here sung by Giuseppe Di Stefano:

There are many other artists I could have chosen, including recently, Jonas Kauffman, but I chose this one as Alfie has previously mentioned Di Stefano as a favourite artist to listen to.

If you don’t yet have La Passione in your collection, it’s available here:

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Voting has now closed in the 2017 Best Ever Alfie Boe song poll and the following playlist contains the top ten:


In 2016, the top ten looked like this:

1 – Love Reign O’er Me
2 – Dimming of the Day
3 – Trust
4 – Bring Him Home
5 – First Time Ever I Saw Your Face
6 – My Heart is Yours
7 – It’s Over
8 – A Living Prayer
9 – If You Go Away
10 – Forever Young

The first thing that strikes me about this year’s list is that there is only one song from Alfie’s most successful commercial album, Together – whether this has anything to do with it not being a solo album, I couldn’t say.

In contrast to previous years, Bring Him Home is now the only song to feature in every top ten, with just two more songs featuring in two top ten countdowns.  In addition to Anthem, there are two more new entries in Wheels of a Dream and In My Daughter’s Eyes.  This means that for the first time, A Living Prayer drops out of the top ten.

Last year we saw a definite move away from Alfie’s classical repertoire towards the rockier albums and 2017 continues in the same vein, albeit this time we are seeing a resurgence in the musical theatre songs.  I can definitely see the influence of Together in these choices – it seems that hearing Alfie sing a lot of musical theatre songs in recent months, as well as his appearance in Carousel has prompted more votes for this genre of music.  Trust remains the strongest album over all the polls so far, with Alfie having two tracks and one each for Bring Him Home, Classic Quadrophenia, Storyteller, Serenata, Together and La Passione.

Stay tuned for next week’s reveal of number 10 – we’ll be counting down until the beginning of the summer tour!

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O Sole Mio / Now or Never in Swindon on the Bring Him Home tour:

Seems a long time ago now doesn’t it?  Of course it is now five years since we saw Alfie do so many solo tour dates.  It’s been a while since I’ve sat and watched this combination of O Sole Mio and Now or Never and I’d forgotten how effective it was.  Lots of you haven’t though as it featured in the top ten of last year’s Best Alfie Boe Live Song.

O Sole Mio was written in 1898 and has been recorded and performed by huge numbers of people, making it one of the most famous Neapolitan songs around.  Alfie himself sang it on his 2007 album La Passione although that hasn’t stopped him having to explain that it’s not about ice cream to UK audiences.  For those of you outside our sunny shores, the tune of O Sole Mio was the theme of Cornetto ice cream TV adverts for a ten year period in the 1970’s and 1980’s.  It’s certainly where I remember it from originally.

La Passione is available here:

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Alright, alright, it’s actually International Happiness Day but I got the title idea from my 9yo who looked at the 2015 Happy International Day of Happiness Alfie Boe Fans and said “it’s not really Happy Alfie Boe Day is it”?  We don’t exactly see eye to eye on our musical tastes although he has been known to sing along to Alfie songs before and even uttered the immortal line (on hearing Elvis sing If I Can Dream) “this is Alfie’s song, why is Elvis singing it”.

To celebrate, these are some of my favourite Alfie tracks from each of his albums:

E Lucevan Le Stelle (Classic FM Presents) – video from first series of BBC Maestro

The song recently voted the favourite Alfie Boe recorded song, A Living Prayer (Onward) – from Songs of Praise

Funiculi Funicula (La Passione) – this was a hard choice as I could easily have chosen the whole album!

On The Street Where You Live (Bring Him Home) – from QVC, picked because my son’s choir used to sing this:

In My Daughter’s Eyes (Alfie) – for all parents and children everywhere:

Angie (Storyteller)- loved the original, this is better:

My all time favourite Alfie song (so far) is Keep Me In Your Heart (Trust) – something to do with those buttons…

Addio Sogni di Gloria (Serenata) was my favourite in the Serenata review and it hasn’t changed:

The eagle eyed amongst you will have noticed that Love Was A Dream is missing – as far as I’m aware we don’t have video of Alfie singing my favourite song from that album.  Maybe one day…

What are your songs from all Alfie’s albums?  Let us know below:

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Granada in Seoul, Korea – and my blog stats at that time went through the roof when the videos were published!  We were so keen to hear Alfie sing classical music again that we couldn’t get enough.  The repertoire included How Great Thou Art, Brindisi, Les Mis and When I Fall in Love as well as Alfie’s first foray into singing in Korean – how nervous was he????

Here is the fabulous Granada, with Maria in the same clip:

I think you’ll agree with me that the very enthusiastic conductor gave a very energetic performance!

Alfie sings Granada on his Neapolitan album, La Passione:

la passione

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Funiculi Funicula with the Leigh Orpheus Male Voice Choir, in a fund raising concert for the RNLI.  Alfie recorded this for the La Passione album in 2007 and it’s one of my favourites – I always sing along despite only knowing two words!  And I bet I’m not the only one!!!  The only things I’m not keen on is the lack of beard; regular readers will know that I’m quite keen on Alfie Boe’s Beard – and I definitely know I’m not alone on this one!

This concert was at the Cliffs Pavilion, Southend, where Alfie appeared on his UK tour of summer 2012.  The set list then was considerably different – as befitted his musical journey at that time.

Since Alfie has included some more classical songs to his recent repertoire, I wonder if he would ever consider singing this again?  Oh well, a girl can dream!

La Passione can be ordered below:

la passione

Alfie’s return to Neapolitan songs, Serenata, is also available:


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Back in November 2014 I asked “How Did You Find Alfie Boe” and I’m pleased to say that lots of you responded, being only too pleased to tell me how and when you first heard that beautiful voice.  A few of you have been on board Alfie’s musical train right since the very beginning – and by that I mean since he was singing locally in Lancashire!  One of his many nephews and nieces even filled in the survey although I don’t know which one! One respondent had followed him since he was appearing regularly in opera and another couple since his first album, Classic FM Presents.  Other reasons given were his 2007 appearance on Parkinson, other TV appearances, Desert Island Discs, through friends, surfing youtube, through hearing David Miller of Il Divo talk about Alfie and his performance at the Diamond Jubilee concert in 2012.

However, like most of us Alfie fans these days, the vast majority (82%) of the respondents found Alfie through Les Miserables.  Of those 82%, just over half first saw and heard Alfie on a PBS 25th anniversary promotion and the others saw him either live or on the DVD of that concert.  This is what one smitten fan said

Saw him on PBS in Florida, USA in March 2011 singing Jean Valjean role and stopped in my tracks when hearing that voice. Watched the whole O2 Les Misarables concert and then had to find out who this wonderful tenor is. YouTubed him and listened and read everything I could find on him. The Alfie and Matt Lucas video Nessun Dorma with his hands in his pockets was what clinched him for me. Joined his Facebook page and his own web page and since have met many wonderful fans of his who over the last 3 years have become good friends. All this from that one O2 performance.

After finding out how and when fans found Alfie, I then wanted to find out when they made their first Alfie related purchase, be it  CD, DVD etc.  I admit that I was expecting most responses to be “immediately” or very quickly, given the devotion shown to Alfie by fans.  However, I was slightly surprised to find that although two thirds of responses indicated that a purchase was made either the same day or next day, the next highest response was months, at least 6-12.  In three cases there was a wait of at least a year and one waited for 3.5 years before making up (her?) mind to buy a CD.  Incidentally, the length of time before making a purchase and considering yourself to be “Boed” does not match up; with the exception of the Lancashire locals and the fan waiting 3.5 years, every single respondent considered themselves “Boed” immediately.

The survey then went on to ask which albums fans had in their collection.  For this survey, I only considered Alfie’s albums released under his own name (not including Serenata which was released after the survey) and the collaboration with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Home for the Holidays.  The rest of his recording career can be found on the Alfie Boe Discography.  The results are:

Classic FM Presents – 61% of respondents own this

La Passione – 82%

Onward – 72%

Love Was A Dream – 69%

Bring Him Home – 98%

Alfie – 95%

Storyteller – 95%

Trust – 90%

Home for the Holidays – 37%

As you can see, the most owned albums are the Decca ones released since the Les Mis connection although La Passione is the most popular album of Alfie’s back catalogue.  It occurs to me as I sit writing these results up, that I should have asked in which order these albums were purchased; it would have been interesting to see how many people had La Passione before Les Mis.  I suspect that like me, the answer would be not many,  otherwise Alfie would surely not have contemplated becoming a personal trainer for the SLC police.

DVD ownership is something else again – this time, there were only four choices as only two tours have been filmed:

Les Mis 25th concert – 96% own this

Bring Him Home tour – 83%

Storyteller tour – 75%

Home for the Holidays – 43%

Perhaps the relatively high amount of people owning the DVD of Home for the Holidays reflects the low amount owning it on CD (they don’t see the need to have it twice), otherwise the completely predictable result is that Les Mis is the most owned DVD.  Of course this was expected, given that 82% of us found Alfie that way to start with.  This is also borne out by 66% of those owning it citing it as their favourite of the DVD’s.  Storyteller comes next, followed by Bring Him Home and Home for the Holidays again bringing up the rear.

Those of you who completed the survey will remember I also asked you which album you preferred – to find out the answer, you’ll have to be a subscriber!

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It was with an intense feeling of anticipation that I embarked on the journey to Newcastle to see the first show of Alfie Boe’s UK Tour…and it’s safe to say that I was not disappointed!  Straight off, I’m going to say that although Sol3 Mio were great, I’m not going to mention them any further here – look out for further blogs.

Alfie, together with his band, started out with stripped down songs from Serenata – the way that Alfie has always wanted to play them.  Serenata Celeste was majestic and My Heart is Yours felt hugely emotional for both audience and Alfie.  Seamlessly moving into songs from La Passione (Parlami D’Amore Mariu), there was an audible sigh of anticipation from the audience when Alfie announced Caruso.  This turned out to be a humdinger of a number, especially when Alfie’s voice rose to a crescendo and the backdrop curtain fell to reveal the orchestra.  Very effective.

Musical theatre featured heavily on Alfie’s first two Decca albums and he returned to this repertoire last night.  Come What May, Wheels of a Dream and Being Alive were powerhouse performances and made an excellent intro to the Les Mis section and an outstanding rendition of Bring Him Home.  A standing ovation duly followed.  Leading into this, Richard Causon played a very effective Do You Hear the People Sing on accordion and got a fair portion of the audience singing along; this could have been encouraged more and perhaps will be in a bigger audience.

One of the most talked about parts of this tour was whether or not Alfie would sing any operatic arias – if you are a fan of his early albums you will be thrilled to find out that accompanied just by Richard Causon on piano, Alfie sang a medley of Recondita Armonia and Nessun Dorma which was simply outstanding.  Goosebumps time.  However, as wonderful as the sound was, the applause was slightly more muted than perhaps could have been expected due to the fact that we weren’t actually sure when Alfie had finished singing!  Recondita Armonia went straight into Nessun Dorma and so were half expecting that a third aria would follow.  A few of us were on the verge of standing up to applaud but weren’t sure and then of course the moment had gone.  Thanks Linda for sharing this:

At this point, I should probably mention that although Alfie’s stage patter was still there, there was much less talk as there was a whole lot of singing!

After a short break (at this point, it was most noticeable that it was the first show as there were a couple of lengthy pauses for set movements) Alfie and the band returned to the stage for Trust and Storyteller songs.  Bridge Over Troubled Water gave way to Trust and Keep Me in Your Heart...I confess to being a little hot and bothered over the “buttons on your blouse” moment… We then returned to where we started with more Serenata.  Chitarra Romana started us off and we then enjoyed Luna Malinconia, Mamma, Volare, Mambo Italiano and Buona Sera where the main performance ended.  We were encouraged to dance during this last part (only where our seats were) and Alfie had us all blowing kisses to him during Buona Sera, and yes, he did reciprocate.

The encore brought an acapella version of Danny Boy which showcased Alfie’s superb vocal abilities (and I don’t normally like this song) but I loved it last night.  The final song of the night was a fabulous Glory Glory Hallelujah from Trust – and Alfie sent us off in style.

Overall, all the fans I spoke to thought the show was absolutely amazing, Alfie at his best, something for everyone and quite possibly his best ever concert.  Writing this now, I am reliving it all over again and I definitely agree – Alfie was simply out of this world.  Having said that, it will be interesting to see how the show goes in Leeds on Friday when the teething difficulties with the staging etc. have been ironed out.

If you don’t have tickets, go and get them now – you won’t be disappointed!

I can’t believe you don’t have Serenata yet but if not, click on the image to order:



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