Another string to his Boe

Fleetwood born opera star Alfie Boe is to release a new album – La Passione – next month on EMI Classics.

And his homecoming concert next spring at Fleetwood Marine Hall sold out in just four hours.

Alfie says the new album, his third and set for a November 12 release, is the one he has always longed to make.

Taking us back to yesteryear it is a collection of traditional, mainly Italian folk songs which have stood the test of time and have served to celebrate the raw beauty and the passion of the Mediterranean through the generations.

"They are songs of the street musician, the cantautore and the social protester," says Alfie. "They are instinctive songs about loves lost and won, about grief and about the agony of leaving home – 'per la gente' – written by the people for the people. They are arias sung in the most glamorous of opera houses and on the most ordinary of street corners."

The album features some of the most famous examples of this genre such as O Sole Mio, Funiculi Funicula, Santa Lucia and Torna a Surriento but also explores some lesser known arias such as the wistful Feneste Che Lucive and the intense and beautiful Passione as well as the evocative Caruso, written in recent years by Lucio Dalle.

Recording with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and using traditional Italian musicians, Alfie's musical team have produced an evocative slice of modern/vintage Italian folk music. The album has been co-produced by Chris Porter, best known for his work with artists including George Michael and Take That and Matteo Saggaese.

Over the last 12 months Alfie has enjoyed two chart topping classical albums; was nominated for a Classical Brit Award for Best Album - sharing the category with Sir Paul McCartney and Sting; performed at the Royal Albert Hall with Lesley Garratt and Sir Willard White; performed in a sell-out run of the English National Opera's production of Kismet alongside Michael Ball and sang at Clarence House where he accepted the role as Ambassador for HRH's Arts & Kids Foundation.

His March 15 Marine Hall concert will be with the Lancashire Sinfonietta who teamed up with Alfie six years ago at the same venue before his recording career took off.

Sinfonietta manager Fiona Sinclair said: "It's very exciting. We have been trying to get him for the last couple of seasons.

"It's an opportunity for him to come home now he has made his name and it's going to be nice for him working with local players. He will be celebrating with other talented musicians. Alfie has a great affection for Fleetwood and he is genuinely keen to come back and perform there.

"It could be more nerve-racking for him than playing a bigger venue. It was funny when we worked with him last time, everyone including the cleaners wanted to come and see him rehearsing. He was very popular.”

To turn the visit into a community event Sinfonietta members are hoping to stage a rehearsal with Alfie at a local school to give youngsters a close-up taste of classical music.

The Sinfonietta has also given concerts with other Fylde-born operatic stars Jean Rigby and Jane Irwin, as well as Amanda Roocroft, who comes from Coppull near Chorley.

Fiona added: “These people tell us that although they make some very big appearances the opportunities to come home and sing to a smaller audience are very important to them.”

The Sinfonietta and Alfie will perform the same concert at Manchester University the night before.

Wyre Borough halls manager Kieran Clerkin said: “I have never known any show here sell out so quickly. It indicates what a big local following Alfie Boe has. The last time he was here every seat in the house was taken too.”

Alfie last sang at the Marine Hall last year with members of North Star Opera, a company run by his brother Michael Boe, who is also a tenor.