Categorized | Events

Little Boe Peek: Smashed Music Ventures into the World of Classical

Posted on 21 December 2011 by Neil Paterson

Tuesday 13th December, Birmingham Symphony Hall

Before I begin, it’s important to know something about Alfie Boe. And that thing is – he is huge. Massive. An absolute superstar in his field. And whilst a large swathe of the country have never heard of him, a generous middle-aged dollop of the UK owns an album by ‘The Bad Boy of Opera’. Over 400,000 this year alone, to be precise.

However, it is with some trepidation that I approach this concert. After all, my musical diet has for 10 years consisted of 90% standard-issue indie-rock, 10% other modern toss. But rarely have I ventured towards the classical option, especially that of the operatic-musical variety.

It seems to me though that Mr Boe would empathise entirely. He goes to great pains to ensure the stuffiness so often surrounding classical music is not present as his shows. “To prove how informal this concert is,” he states after the opening number, “Here’s some chocolate!” Cue the throwing of Quality Street into the audience. (The number of missile-related deaths is not known at this point.)

Throughout the show, Alfie treads a difficult line of between-song banter and seriousness musicality. But it’s a line he treads with remarkable ease, his audience by turn in raptures of laughter then tears of emotion. It helped that sound produced by Boe’s Band was simply sensational, accentuated by the sublime acoustics of the hall. His rendition of In My Daughter’s Eyes was particularly moving, and his signature tune – Bring Him Home, from the musical Les Miserables – was met with an instant standing ovation.

And Alfie himself proved his musicianship, with a turn on the drums for his encore.

As an newcomer to the world of classics, I felt it would be hard to find a more fun, and fine, introduction. 4/5