Wednesday, March 16, 2011

What’s opera all about, Alfie?

International opera star Alfie Boe to perform in Sun Valley

Express Staff Writer

Opera singer Alfie Boe will make his Sun Valley debut for the Sun Valley Opera on Saturday, March 19. Courtesy photo

Celebrating 10 years of bringing opera to the Wood River Valley, the Sun Valley Opera will present international opera star Alife Boe, who is no stranger to the Wood River Valley.

"I have a place in London, and I have spent a lot of time in Ketchum and Sun Valley," Boe said. "I spent most summers growing up at my grandmother's cabin in the valley."

Boe's appearance for the Sun Valley Opera's winter performance will be his first official Sun Valley singing engagement.

"Sun Valley is my favorite place on earth," he said. "I come from the north of England and that's home. I still live there but Idaho is a home too."

Boe said Paul Tillotson has invited him from the audience to sing in the Duchin Lounge at the Sun Valley Resort but that's about all for performances in Idaho.

Boe will appear in the Sun Valley Inn Limelight Room on Saturday, March 19, at 8 p.m. A diva party precedes the concert at 6:45 p.m. General admission tickets are available for $45 and $65 at or by calling 622-2135. Diva tickets, which include premier seating and a pre-concert cocktail party begin at $125 and are available at or by calling 726-0991.

An international opera star, Boe has had a tremendous year in his career, which he said has taken him 18 years to accomplish. Boe performed in the 25th anniversary production of "Les Misérables," broadcast Sunday, March 6, on PBS across the U.S. Boe was cast in the lead role of Jean Val Jean, causing a dramatic rise in his career. His latest CD, "Bring Him Home," has only recently been released in the U.S. has had much success in Great Britain.

"This year a lot has happened," he said. "I think taking part in the 'Les Misérables' 25th anniversary in October 2010 was incredible. It really turned a corner in my career."

Boe said singing with great opera masters made for a wonderful evening. He will continue his role as Jean Val Jean in a tour of "Les Misérables" in the United Kingdom, and said he hopes the tour will travel to the U.S.

Growing up the youngest in a large Catholic family in the British seaside town of Fleetwood near Blackpool, Boe was encouraged at school to get a trade. At 11, he took a Saturday job at the local garage to earn extra pocket money, not because his family struggled, but because he was eager to work from an early age. At 14, he joined a local amateur operatic company, mostly, he said, to meet girls. He had never seen a live musical show until he starred in one. At 16, he joined the chorus of amateur productions of "Carmen" and "Il Trovatore."

"My father would play old classic singers, rock, opera and musicals on Sundays after church," he said. "We would sit around the table and listen. I really appreciated it."

At 17, he began work as an apprentice mechanic in the local TVR car factory, where he spray-painted cars as they came off the production line. To relieve the boredom, he would often sing along to the radio for some of his work mates. On weekends he performed on the club circuit, singing ballads, show tunes and pop standards.

A customer at the TVR factory who worked in the music industry heard Boe singing and told him the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company was auditioning for a tour and that he should apply.

"I went down to London and sang," Boe said. "I was hired for the next UK tour and after that I studied at the Royal College of Music."

At 48, Boe said it has taken him 18 years to get to the level he is today with his singing career.

"I'm very grateful," he said. "Hopefully I will have the same impact in the U.S."

In London last October, Boe sang to a sold-out show of 23,000 people at the London 02 Arena for the "Les Miserables" 25th anniversary concert. In Sun Valley on Saturday, March 19, he will entertain attendees with some of his favorite popular Italian songs and selections from Broadway musicals, accompanied by a 35-piece orchestra. The program will include "A Marechiare" by Francesco Paolo Tosti and "Granada" by Isaac Alveniz as well as "If We Never Said Goodbye" by Andrew Lloyd Webber and many more opera songs and Broadway musical favorites.

"I have a surprise and some Irish songs to keep the evening spontaneous and light," Boe said.


More opera in HD

The Sun Valley Opera and Bigwood 4 Cinemas in Hailey will present the Metropolitan Opera's production of "Lucia di Lammermoor" at 11 a.m. Saturday, March 19. Gaetano Donizetti's tragic opera in three acts is loosely based on Sir Water Scott's historical novel "The Bride of Lammermoor." It is set in 17th-century Scotland.

Tickets are available online at or at the Bigwood 4 Cinemas. Tickets are $22 for general admission, $20 for seniors and $18 for students 18 and under.


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