He used to sing arias while he washed cars, but now he’s one of the world’s most popular opera singers. I chat to Alfie Boe about performing in his birthday suit and preparing to entertain the Queen
Alfie Boe is, in a word, charming. A happily married father of two with a voice to die for and looks to match, it’s no wonder he caused such stir when he arrived on the opera scene 18 years ago. Since then, opera’s enfant terrible has won a Tony award, captured fans as Jean Valjean in the Les Misérables anniversary concerts and released six albums.
The DVD of his latest tour is just out, and his baby boy, Alfie, is just three months old – but the 38-year-old singer’s soft Lancashire burr betrays no sign of tiredness. Brimming with enthusiasm for the tour, he says, ‘It was a wonderful time in my career to be on the road.’
The tale of how he was discovered is well documented. Alfie was 17 and working as an apprentice mechanic in Blackpool when a client with connections in the music industry overheard him singing opera arias while polishing the cars. He suggested the lad went to London and audition for the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company, which Alfie duly did. And so a star was born.
Alfie muses, ‘Opera is a crazy little world. When I first started working, I did feel intimidated by the conductors, the directors, the prestige of the venues. But when you’re young, you do feel like that. You have to stamp your own authority and make your own mark in this world. Continue reading