I had always been a huge admirer of Alfie Boe. He first came to my attention when he took on the role of Jean Valjean at the 25th Anniversary Performance of “Les Miserables” at the o2 Arena. All the way through, he commanded the stage and took the huge audience with him on every step of that emotional journey. The stand-out moment had to be when Alfie stood centre stage, alone and began to sing “Bring Him Home.” This was the moment when so many people fell in love with this man’s magnificent voice. His heartbreaking rendition of this classic song was greeted with a rapturous standing ovation – and a star was born!
After taking his performance of Jean Valjean to London’s West End, Alfie returned to his roots and has now established himself as one of the greatest performers that the UK has ever produced.
This past Friday, I was lucky enough to see Alfie perform live for the first time. I should also explain something before I go on – I went to the concert with my parents, as the tickets were their Christmas present. They had both seen Alfie perform in Les Miserables and said that his version of “Bring Him Home” was one of the best things they had ever heard! Me on the other hand, I had only heard Alfie sing on YouTube or on the TV. And I will be honest, the main reason I booked myself a ticket to go with my parents was so that I could hear him sing THAT song!
Little did I know that I would leave the National Indoor Arena that night (in the Siberian weather conditions!) being, as one of my lovely followers stated, well and truly Boe-d!!!
From top to bottom, the concert was magnificent! Such an eclectic range of songs which showcased every level of Alfie’s stunning voice – from enchanting slow ballads, to rock classics, even performing in different languages – no matter what style of music you like, Alfie had something for you!
Starting off with current album tracks “It’s Over“, and one of my favourites “The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore“, the set-list took us on a journey through the songs that Alfie loves, as well as the songs that his fans love him for. For me, hearing him sing for the first time ever, I could not get over how versatile his voice was – I mean, I knew he was good, but I was totally blown away! It was also great as an audience member to see how much fun Alfie was having on stage – this was a chance for him to unleash his inner rock-star, and he certainly did that with a little Elvis and Jimi Hendrix mixed in for good measure!
Stand out moments for me were, as I just said “The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore“, “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face“, “Please Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” and “Bridge Over Troubled Water.”
And how can I forget THAT song? Being the HUGE Les Mis fan that you all know I am, when I heard the opening chords of “Bring Him Home”, I knew that I was about to experience something special – this was the sole reason I had come to the show. And I am glad to say that Alfie didn’t let me down! His absolutely breath-taking version of this song took me on the rollercoaster of emotions that it always does during Les Mis – and then some! (Even if I did have to turn round and tell the drunk woman behind me, who was singing along very loudly and badly to shut up! Nothing was ruining that moment for me!) It earned Alfie yet another standing ovation from everyone in the Arena, and with tears streaming down my face, I had gained yet another magical memory – and ticked something else off my Theatre Bucket List!
A special mention must also go out to support act Emilia Mitiku – who has the most stunning voice and even being heavily pregnant, commanded the stage with a classy and stylish grace that totally endeared her to the audience. This girl is going to be a BIG star – make sure you check her out!
As you can see, I had a sensational evening, and I am so glad that I booked myself that extra ticket to go! I will definitely be going back to see Mr Boe next time he is in town!
Signing off for now,
Blue Eyed Girl Xxx
So anyone who knows me knows what a HUGE Phantom of the Opera fan I am – and I talk about this phenomenal show on a regular basis on this blog!
But I have been very blessed this week as this sensational 25th Anniversary production of the show – that has been touring all over the UK since January 2012, has FINALLY come to my hometown of Birmingham and had it’s first preview this past Wednesday. Needless to say, I was in attendance! 🙂
I had visited the Tour before, but it had been 11 months since my last visit! Yes – you read that right – 11 months! All the way back in April 2012, I spent a few days in Manchester, where I was honoured and privileged to see this production for the first time. Those two visits will stay in my heart for so many reasons – my first ever visit to Manchester, the first time I met the person that I now consider to be my closest friend, and the first time I was witness to the outstanding talents of Katie Hall, Simon Bailey and the magnificent John Owen Jones (who became my favourite Phantom bar none in less than 1 show!)
Fast forward to March 2013 – and there have been many changes!
Earl Carpenter now leads the cast as the masked man, and some key scenes have been changed ever so slightly! But, one thing I can say is that this cast, from ensemble all the way through to the leads, continue to be some of the most talented people I have ever seen on a stage!
When I walked into the Birmingham Hippodrome on Wednesday evening (which was looking particularly splendid adorned in it’s Phantom regalia!), I knew I was going to be in for a brilliant evening – but never did I expect to enjoy the show as much as I did!
You all know the story, so I will focus on what stood out most to me!
The sets continue to be absolutely sensational and for a touring production, they are of such a high standard! My particular favourites have to be the journey down and the reveal of the Lair during the title song, and all the effects that go with “Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again” followed by the Confrontation (and I don’t mean Les Mis!)
The slight changes that have been made since Earl took over are also extremely effective. And when I say slight, I do mean slight! From single words, to standing on the stage – if you hadn’t seen the show before, you wouldn’t spot them! But being the “huge geek” that my friends say I am (and proud may I add!), I picked up on quite a few! The most obvious change had me in floods of tears! I won’t say exactly what – all I will say is the end of the Final Lair – if you don’t usually get emotional about it, I guarantee you will now!
The cast, as I said before, continues to blow me away with the amount of talent that they all possess! Earl is a very different Phantom to John Owen Jones, but he still brings a charismatic quality to the Phantom, and his Music of the Night was truly beautiful! Katie Hall has grown so much as a performer since I last saw her – and she completely blew me away at this performance! Her vocal range is totally unbelievable, and she was absolutely enchanting throughout. Simon Bailey continues to combine the suave and sophisticated with the arrogance and strength that makes him one of the best Raouls I have ever seen – and his vocals continue to be absolutely superb. They are backed up by a ridiculously talented cast (with a special shout out to the wonderful David Phipps Davis!) who continue to show why they have made this Tour become such an amazing success!
I am very lucky and blessed to say that I will be going back to see this show on a number of occasions while it is here – seems wrong not to! Ha ha!
For more information about tickets and availability, check out www.birminghamhippodrome.com or on Twitter @brumhippodrome
Signing off for now
Blue Eyed Girl Xxx
I first had the privilege of seeing Katy Treharne perform when I visited Phantom of the Opera in August 2012. Her portrayal of Christine Daae was absolutely enchanting and Katy was also an absolute sweetheart to chat to at the Stage Door post show too!
Since then, Katy has taken on many challenges, including a Tour of Sweden with former London Phantom Peter Joback, as well as taking on the role of Nina in Gillian Lynne’s production of Dear World.
Now, she is taking on yet another challenge, but this is one that is very close to her heart. Katy is the main organiser for “West End Has Faith” – a concert where a variety of West End performers will join together to share their faith in aid of three very worthy charities.
I had the chance to sit down with Katy and chat about the event, and what she hopes it will achieve . . .
What was the inspiration behind West End Has Faith?
What’s next for Taylor Rowan and Hughes in 2013?