Alfie ‘honoured’ to star in Who classic

Alfie Boe, pictured as he launches new orchestral recording of The Who classic album Quadrophenia, with, from left, Pete Townshend, Rachel Fuller and Phil Daniels
Alfie Boe, pictured as he launches new orchestral recording of The Who classic album Quadrophenia, with, from left, Pete Townshend, Rachel Fuller and Phil Daniels
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Alfie Boe may have just announced his return to Les Miserables, this time on the Broadway stage, but he gave nothing away when he spoke to The Gazette recently.

The Fleetwood tenor was promoting the release of a new orchestral album recording of classic The Who album Quadrophenia.

And despite being asked what else he had coming up this year, he remained tight lipped on the musical announcement, which was made on Friday.

The Classic Quadrophenia album, being released on Monday, June 8, was the brainchild of The Who’s Pete Townshend, as part of his plan to have all of his work arranged for orchestra - laying it down for future generations to enjoy - with the new ‘symphonised’ version created by Townshend’s partner Rachel Fuller.

Between his record label and a friend suggesting him to Townshend, Boe was invited to sing the revamped material and was offered the job for the new recording and a world premiere performance at London’s Royal Albert Hall on Sunday, July 5.

“It’s fantastic for me,” Alfie said. “I’m thrilled to be involved and to have the association with Pete Townshend, and Phil Daniels and Billy Idol on the album.

“I have loved every minute and am honoured to be part of it.

“I’m also trying to prove what I’ve said all along – classical and rock, music is music, it’s one big beautiful world.

“Pete sees that too; to bring a 200-piece orchestra for something strange/strong that has stood the test of time, it’s incredible. And Pete’s amazing like that. He doesn’t see boundaries with his music either.

“I’ve been mixing it up over the years any way, in my own shows and recordings, and in the past with an association with the Freddie Mercury Trust and Queen, so it’s not the first thing of this kind that I’ve done.”

With the album recorded and complete, Alfie’s now focusing on the live performance and will be working with the orchestra in preparation.

But whether it’s a rock, a musical or an operatic classic, he says singing is singing.

“I work to the same techniques I always have,” he explained. “There are different aspects to Quadrophenia, different musical dynamics. We have to know the piece and how to put it across properly, and do it well.

“The language and the accents are very broad. There’s American and a couple with South London accents to mix it up.

“There’s a lot to it; technical producing the sound and vocal, but that’s just what I do whether it’s opera or pop songs.”

Alfie sings the parts originally sung by Roger Daltrey and was born the year Quadrophenia was originally released - but has been listening to it for years.

“It’s in my blood. I’ve always thought the classical voice can lend itself to this type of repertoire. It’s harder than opera, but thrilling to sing. The music is so full of excitement, positivity and strength – I wouldn’t separate it from a symphony by Beethoven or Mozart.”

And he’s impressed Townshend with his take on the role.

“Alfie is a true star, who gives every performance his all,” he said. “He reminds me of Roger Daltrey in that – he’s also a real pleasure to work with. I never thought I’d hear a classical tenor singing my songs, and for them to work so well – but Alfie makes it happen. He’s a funny man too, and good looking.

“The girls like him. I can’t wait to be on stage with him. I’m going to push him into the orchestra pit.”