Interview: Much-loved Alfie Boe excited by live date at Harewood House
Even the greats of the entertainment world have suffered during lockdown which is why famous performers such as Alfie Boe are so excited to be returning to the live stage from this summer onwards.
Britain’s leading tenor may be talking to this reporter via Zoom from his former home in Salt Lake City on a family holiday but it’s his appearance at Harewood House in the Picnic Proms Summer Concert Series that the acclaimed star of Les Miserables is looking forward to.
Million-selling Alfie said: “It’s very exciting to be thinking about being on stage again in front of a crowd and see people’s faces again.
“Covid has been tough for everyone and it’s been very hard for everyone in the entertainments industry.
“We’ve literally had our careers taken away from us.”
For his outdoors show in the beautiful grounds of Harewood House on Friday, September 3, the much-loved Blackpool-born singer wll be performing some of his favourite songs with fellow West End and Broadway stars, Louise Dearman and Rachel Tucker.
Picking the setlist has been less than easy. In a career which has spanned more than a quarter of a century, the good-natured Alfie, 47, has done the lot - from La Boheme to The Who’s Quadrophenia, not to forget being one half of the nation’s most-loved musical duo with Michael Ball.
Alfie, who was awarded an OBE in 2019 for services to music and charity, said: “You are always trying to reinvent yourself and I’ve been lucky to be able to adapt to whatever I’m doing.
“Even after all this time, I still have an element of nerves before each gig.
“It’s important that I do. “Nerves are telling you that you want to put on a good show.
"You have to channel that into excitement at performing.
“Back in the day, singing opera in opera houses used to make me the most nervous.
“But I’ve found doing other types of music over the years like rock music has helped me relax.
“Pete Townsend of The Who told me it’s really all about the feel. As long as I am putting the emotion across, I know I am doing okay.”
Although he loves seeing other cultures and learning new things, touring can be hard for a family man like Alfie, who lived in the USA for more than a decade with his wife and two children before moving back to Britain.
The enforced lay-off during lockdown has given the restlessly creative Alfie time to write his own material, in fact, he says he’s written 40 to 50 songs, a selection of which will feature on a new, all-original ‘solo’ album.
Not that Alfie is giving up on musicals or opera or pop concerts or acting or starring on TV or his incredibly successful partnership with Michael Ball.
Alfie said: “There’s an element of competition with Michael but we both have so much respect for each other. We’ve become great friends over the years of touring and recording albums together.
“We always have a lot of fun but, whatever type of music you’re doing, you should never compromise on the way you sing.”
This reporter suggests the pair should have their own ‘old skool’ light entertainment TV show on a Saturday night like Val Doonican in the 1970s.
At that, Alfie laughs .
“I can see Michael and me sitting on a couple of rocking chairs with our pipes,” he suggests with a chuckle.
Tickets for the Picnic Proms Summer Concert Series are available from www. https://harewood.org/whats-on/
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