CD Review: Italian Passion

2008-06-20 00:00

WHO is Alfie Boe? That was the first question which popped into my head on seeing this CD. Turns out, he’s an English tenor whose story is of the “rags to riches” variety.

From the north of England, he left a job as a mechanic to pursue a singing career, was trained at the Royal College of Music and London’s National Opera Studio, worked for several years as a chorus member with the Scottish Opera, English National Opera and at Glyndebourne before gaining a place on the Royal Opera House’s highly esteemed Young Artists Programme in 2001.

He progressed to solo roles and won a Tony Award for his Rodolfo in Baz Luhrmann’s production of La Bohème on Broadway. Last year he performed in a sell-out run of the English National Opera’s Kismet and his Onward album was nominated for a Classical Brit Award.

La Passione is a collection of Neapolitan songs, including old favourites like O Sole Mio, Santa Lucia, and Funiculi Funicula.

Boe says, “These Italian folk songs have always been close to my heart because of the passion they naturally express. Most of these songs were written in remembrance of their homeland. Many Italians emigrated west, in search of success and a new way of life.

“These songs were sung to evoke the life and land, they left behind. Whether the song is from the north, south, east or west of Italy, there is thing that connects them all … the passion.”

Boe wants more people to listen to classical music and I’d say that with La Passione he offers new listeners the perfect vehicle to do just that. Give it a listen.

Estelle Sinkins

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