Big Week for Alfie Boe - Receives RCM Fellowship and Featured on South Bank Arts Show


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"My parents really did give me a lovely upbringing and a really, really happy upbringing. We never wanted for anything," Alfie Boe tells Melvyn Bragg during this Thursday's The South Bank Show.

View attachment 2345 Boe, the youngest of nine children to Alfred and Patricia Boe, grew up in the small fishing town of Fleetwood in Lancashire, UK. He loved it, but wanted more for himself and once he discovered he had a voice worth reckoning with, he followed the advice of family, friends, co-workers, and one very mysterious TVR car owner and auditioned for the famous D'Oyly Carte Opera Company. He was hired, an event that actually caused his father to cry with joy upon hearing the news. It was his father, after all, who had introduced Boe to an eclectic array of music, though a nod has to go to his mother and his older siblings who played everything from Elvis to Led Zeppelin when Boe was a lad.

After a year with the D'Oyly Carte, Boe was asked to stay with them for another year, but he wanted to learn more about his voice and how to make sure he got the most out of it, so he chose instead to get scholarships and go to school at the Royal College of Music.

That prestigious institution will tomorrow, May 15, present Boe with a fellowship, the honor to be handed out by Prince Charles of Wales with whom Boe has worked with in the past via the Prince's Foundation for Children and the Arts. The Fellowship of the Royal College of Music is awarded to individuals for "exceptional contribution to life at the RCM and the wider musical community." Boe is slated to receive another such honor in the future from the University of Lancaster.


Boe's journey from a lad in Fleetwood to Tony Award winner for La Boheme on Broadway and beyond is discussed in Bragg's hour-long show on Friday. Some of it was taped at Boe's Cotswolds' home.

They also returned to Fleetwood and visited the Marine Hall where Boe worked as a youth, doing everything from waiting on tables to being part of the stage crew. It was noted on Twitter that he took time out during the visit to talk to old friends who still work at the Hall.

In addition, Bragg's cameras followed Boe while he toured America earlier this year, filming at his concert at the Birchmere in Alexandria, Virginia. The sellout concert was one of four Boe did at the venue between his October 2012 tour and this one in February.

At age 39, Britain's favorite tenor is known worldwide from years of operatic and classical singing. It was his 2010 performance as Jean Valjean in the 25th Anniversary Concert of Les Miserables that allowed the singer to branch out with his wide range of musical interests. He calls it a train that stops at different genres and at each, new fans board the train, journeying with him as he makes stops at country, pop, rock and roll, classical, folk, blues, opera, and wherever else the songs may take him. He is hoping to gain more success in America and wants to tour here again soon.

Boe will, in fact, be in America very shortly as he is a headliner at the annual National Memorial Day Concert to be held on May 26 in Washington D.C. He is excited to be singing "Bring Him Home" to the troops on the West Lawn of the Capitol.

The first song Boe had success with was You Are My Heart's Delight, the song his father had played for him over and over again as a youngster. Alfred Boe was a big Richard Tauber fan, so songs like this one played constantly. When Boe went for his D'oyly Carte audition, this was the only song he really knew. He sang his heart out and at the end, the room was silent.

"I obviously made lots of technical mistakes because I wasn't trained," Boe told Bragg in their conversation, noting he couldn't see any faces but could hear voices out in the auditorium. He went on to say he, "... sang the song to the best of my ability ... just lost myself in it."

When the room went quiet at the end, Boe was certain he'd blown it, making a fool of himself, but he got a call back and was subsequently taken on. Most recently, Boe performed You Are My Heart's Delight in German at London's Hyde Park in front of 40,000 fans during the Last Night of the Proms in 2012. He also sang it a capella in April while performing his Storyteller tour in Blackpool which is near his hometown of Fleetwood.

Boe's Storyteller Tour in March and April was a sellout in the UK. The April 8th performance was filmed and is scheduled to be aired in American on PBS starting August 3rd. Entitled "Alfie Boe - Storyteller At The Royal Albert Hall,” the DVD will showcase Boe singing songs such as If I Can Dream, Wayfaring Stranger, Shine A Light, and the Jimi Hendrix song, Angel. The special coincides with release in the United States of the Storyteller CD, currently available for pre-order at

The news of this special program first gained notice in February when Boe's good friend, Matt Lucas, tweeted a picture of Boe holding a giant Yorkshire pudding. The picture was at Boe's home. It was later that fans learned that Lucas wasn't the only guest, that indeed Bragg was there and the huge Yorkshire was part of the meal Boe prepared for his guests that Sunday afternoon. The singer loves to cook and has appeared on several UK cooking shows, including one in which he infamously cut his finger. On a brief visit to America in 2012, he spontaneously stuck around after performing on a regional show in America to participate in their cooking segment.

Alfie Boe is married to Sarah, an American. Together, they have two children. The family also has a dog named Guinness. The couple lived in Salt Lake City for several years and have said they are looking to buy a house here again.

The South Bank Show is considered to be one of the best arts programs in the world. Airing on the Sky Arts 1 HD channel and also available on-demand on Sky Go in the UK, Boe's story can be seen at 9:30pm.

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