Alfie Boe

COMPOSERS: Alfie Boe
LABELS: EMI
ALBUM TITLE: La Passione
PERFORMER: Alfie Boe (tenor); Royal PO/Valeriano Chiaravalle

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CATALOGUE NO: 504 41129
Alfie Boe was a genuinely talented operatic tenor of significant potential who seems to have switched entirely to crossover. His latest album draws largely on the repertory of popular Neapolitan song sung by generations of Latin tenors – often, it has to be said, with more vocal imagination than here – plus the odd Italian pop song, like Lucio Dalla’s ‘Caruso’. Boe sings this in an uncomfortably high key, causing him to mangle vowel sounds. There’s some microphone hugging, as in Tosti’s ‘A Vucchella’, but the intimate setting of Bixio’s ‘Parlami d’amore, Mariù’ does suit it.

Most of the arrangements are unimaginative to a degree, with some awkward harmonic moments and a relentless plugging of the violins that regularly steals the sonic limelight. The arranger’s most notable contribution is to make the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra sound like a synthesizer, which is not good. The sound isn’t flattering to Boe, either. While applauding his desire to ‘reach a wider audience with classical music’, I can’t honestly see how this tacky album moves towards that much-desired goal.

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George Hall