Proms

All posts tagged Proms

It’s been a while since we looked at Six Sensational Songs and with so much happening in the next few months, it might be a while until we feature the series again, so let’s go into the weekend with six fantastic songs chosen by Kathryn Richards.  Kathryn has been following Alfie since first seeing him on Parkinson in 2007.

Stranger in Paradise, was chosen because it was indeed the first time Kathryn heard or saw Alfie and the song that made her fall in love.

E Lucevan E Stelle, chosen because this was the second time Kathryn saw Alfie and as he was singing opera, she thought “wow what a voice”.

God Give Me Strength, chosen because “I love this song and the video of him at the Scottish Proms was really good.”

Marechiari, chosen by Kathryn because “it always puts a smile on my face, a very catchy tune”.

Torna A Sorriento, chosen because “it transports me to Italy, a great summer song”.

Agnus Dei, chosen after Kathryn ” bought You’ll Never Walk Alone CD and the lovely haunting sound to Alfie’s voice gives me goosebumps and tears.”

I’m still astounded that fans continue to add new songs to our Six Sensational Songs playlist; of Kathryn’s six, four have not been chosen before.

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…with Michael Ball at his Musicals Prom at the Royal Albert Hall.  Alfie and Michael had recently struck up a friendship after appearing together in the ENO production of Kismet.  As anyone who has seen / heard Michael talk about this production and / or read Alfie’s book, My Story will know, Kismet was not a particularly happy experience for all concerned.  As mentioned in an earlier On This Day post, Alfie almost leapt into the public’s consciousness with an appearance on Michael Parkinson’s chat show but as with so many other things it became yet another ‘nearly’ moment.

However, all was not lost as the burgeoning friendship between Alfie and Michael led to Alfie’s guest slot at the Prom – as far as I know his only appearance at the Proms proper (rather than Proms in the Park).

Michael is not a classically trained singer but he makes a lovely job of duetting with Alfie.  And if you want to hear what Michael had to say about ENO and Kismet, here is him talking on the Jonathan Ross show in 2007 (the Kismet talk starts about 7.15):

Wouldn’t it be lovely to hear Michael and Alfie sing together again?

Alfie’s My Story is available here (the ‘winter’ cover is also available):

alfie autobio

 

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This summer of 2015 has meant a short season of Alfie Boe concerts encompassing a range of different Alfie shows from the delights of Alfie and the band to Proms concerts whilst taking in headline musical theatre shows.  Not forgetting the world premiere of Classic Quadrophenia of course.

The penultimate show of this mini UK tour (the last show is this Friday in Leeds) was the last night of the Northampton festival, Alive @ Delapre and my last concert for, well, I don’t know at the moment.  Hopefully, more UK concerts will be announced for 2016 but we don’t know as yet.  I was not planning to attend this concert until very recently and was perfectly happy to end on the high of Classic Quad at the Royal Albert Hall but lovely Linda W, she of the fabulous Alfie Boe gallery photos, had other ideas which is how I came to be in Northampton with my nine year old son.  This was to be his first concert ever, not just his first Alfie concert and I’m hoping it will be the first of many although I’m not altogether sure if he will come to many more Alfie shows!  Having said that, he did enjoy the experience, mainly having so much attention lavished on him by the wonderful Sue, Jan, Carole, Pauline and Paul, Jayne, Jane, Kate, Michelle, Nikki, Pauline and Mike and of course lovely Linda.  I’ll tell you his favourite concert moments later.

And so to the review itself; Alfie was in fine form wearing an outfit that caused one or two ladies in the crowd to feel a bit hot under the collar (black jeans with waistcoat and white shirt to start followed by black tshirt later in the show).  The show started with Serenata songs, accompanied again by the superb NSO (National Symphony Orchestra) and the band. This gave way to the musical theatre section which was slightly shorter than some previous concerts at just Bring Him Home and Come What May, this last a duet with soprano Annette Wardell who then took us into the interval with a selection of arias.  Ms. Wardell returned later with a breathtaking rendition of Somewhere Over the Rainbow which was the highlight of her set.

As the summer has progressed, so we have heard more and more songs from Quadrophenia – this was different only that we heard the full overture as well as several songs.  Love Reign O’er Me was the highlight of that particular group of songs, thanks to Jayne for sharing:

As you can see, Alfie had been very energetic immediately prior to this and took a breather at the beginning!

Matt White was back on guitar (I believe he was also with the band at Llangollen) and he, along with Dan McKinna, John Tonks, Richard Causon and Murray Gould were magnificent throughout, especially on Trust’s Keep Me In Your Heart and the encore of Suspicious Minds and Run.  These last two, along with the flag waving extravaganza of Pomp and Circumstance, Jerusalem, Rule Britannia and Land of Hope and Glory were my son’s favourites.  A note to all festival organisers everywhere that include these patriotic songs – please please please show the words on a screen as we don’t all know the words!  Yesterday, Alfie was sufficiently unimpressed with our singing of Land and Hope and Glory that he demanded we do it again – not sure we were any better the second time Alfie!

Inevitably, the evening came to a close and we had to go home.  For most of those there it was the last time we would see Alfie and other fans we have come to regard as lifelong friends for a good long while and it was a bittersweet moment.  For those who are going to Leeds and/or the European dates for Classic Quadrophenia and of course Les Mis on Broadway, wishing you the best of times and don’t forget to tell us all about it – we will be with you in spirit.  For those who aren’t jetting off to New York or Europe, don’t fret, thoughtsofjustafan will still be here with all your Alfie Boe news and reviews so keep up to date by entering your email to the right – go on, do it now!  There’s some exciting goodies to be won in the Autumn!

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A beautiful sunny day, not a hint of rain, just a slight breeze and the lovely seaside setting of Scarborough combined to make a fabulous evening out at the Scarborough Proms.  Not to mention the fabulous company of amazing friends…once we all found each other.  All I can say is don’t mention the trains!

This trip to Scarborough was a birthday treat for the lovely Linda W who so kindly shares her videos and photos with us when she can and although we weren’t entirely sure where we were sitting, we were absolutely certain we weren’t at the back.  Suffice to say when we climbed the seemingly endless steps we were in the very back row!  However, this turned out to be a blessing in disguise as it meant we could dance about to our heart’s content without getting in anyone’s way whilst also having a fabulous view – lesson learnt that being at the back can sometimes be a good thing, depending on the venue.  There’s a lake in between the stage and the seating area at this venue so being at the front doesn’t necessarily mean being closer to the performers either.

Being a Prom concert, and Armed Forces Day to boot, the evening had a different feel and set list to other shows in this mini UK tour, starting off with some beautiful harmonies from the Military Wives Choir of York.  The National Symphony Orchestra then performed a medley of Les Mis songs before Alfie first appeared to sing Bring Him Home, the first time I can remember hearing this staple at the beginning of a concert.  As usual, it went down a storm.  The musical theatre section then went into Come What May with Alfie duetting with London based American soprano, Angel Blue.  Alfie probably thought he was suffering deja vu from Swansea when Angel first started singing as her microphone failed!  Angel performed several songs throughout the evening including Mio Babbino Caro and Summertime before returning for the finale of  Jerusalem, Rule Britannia and Land of Hope and Glory.  She was absolutely superb with her acting fully complimenting her voice.

The repertoire that Alfie has been singing most recently was curtailed slightly due to this being a Prom concert but he still fitted in Mambo Italiano, Keep Me In Your Heart (which featured a men vs. women singing match – women won due to overwhelming numbers!), Volare (or oh Scarborough) Marechiari, Run and of course Quadrophenia.  The orchestra was bigger for this concert and they contributed magnificently to the epic sound needed for Classic Quadrophenia.  Alfie’s last note on Love Reign O’er Me was spectacular – it will be a long week until the world premiere of this next Sunday.

The evening was rounded off by the traditional Prom sound of Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance with Alfie, Angel Blue and the Military Wives Choir singing Jerusalem, Land of Hope and Glory and Rule Britannia – all accompanied by ferocious flag waving and singing.  My first Alfie concert was Last Night of the Proms in Hyde Park in 2012 and I was there with lovely Linda W so it was doubly nice to be there with her again,  Here is her video of Jerusalem:

Lovely weekend with amazing friends The Two Linda’s, Jan, Carole, Pat, Janet, Paul and Janet, Nikki, Marie, Annie and Pauline.  We also discovered that every single person staying in our (small hotel) was there for the concert and we made some new Alfie friends in the bar afterwards – hello Roger and Barbara and the two from Leeds whose names I don’t know, sorry!

Speaking of names I don’t know – lovely Carole has told me the new guitarist is Al Cherry – and we have seen him before as he was with Emilia Mitiku on the Storyteller tour! No need to keep calling him “the other one” out of Murray Gould, Richard Causon, John Tonks and Dan McKinna!

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Who fancies a trip to Scarborough then?  In news just announced this morning, Alfie will headline Scarborough’s Last Night of the Proms on 27 June 2015.   This date happens to be National Armed Forces Day and Alfie will be joined by the Military Wives Choir who have previously preformed at the event.

Not surprisingly, Alfie has been on event’s list of “must have” performers for a while so they must be thrilled.  UK fans will also be just as thrilled as we thought we had seen the last of Alfie at festivals – we’ll hope for sunshine as it’s in an open air theatre but raincoats and wellies may well be the order of the day!  Not that it will put anyone off!  Shall I confidently say I’ll see you there?

Here is Alfie in Nottingham last week to whet your appetite (thanks Linda):

Click here for more info about the concert (tickets on sale 9am 13 December 2014).

Alfie Boe’s album, Serenata is now available:

serenata

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