Monday, November 14, 2011

What It's All About, Alfie

I am more a soprano person than a tenor, so maybe that is why I have really not heard of Alfie Boe before he was cast as Jean Valjean on the 25th Anniversary of Les Miserables. But he impressed me with his performance there, and I wanted to hear more. And so I did, because he recently released his new album, "Alfie," which is right by my alley because it is mostly a collection of songs from musicals. And guess what, he does very well here and you don't get a sense that he is slumming.  You can actually sense his affinity for the material. There are no excesses to his singing, and that's why the songs sound sincere. Just listen to a very tender version of "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face," which is brimming with honesty. Even though there is great technicality in his voice, he is still very expressive which goes a long way in lyric interpretation. It never sounds like he is overselling the song. I love the quiet intensity of "When I Fall In Love," and the tempered bombast of "Wheels Of A Dream." Sometimes, the songs don't quite match the voice, like "When You Wish Upon A Star," where he sounds like he is auditioning for the wrong role.  And even the best of voices cannot get past the schlock of "It Was A Very Good Year." But her him duet with Michael Ball in "Empty Chairs At Empty Tables" and hear two superb voices blending. That's what it's all about, Alfie.  

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