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From 'Bring Him Home' to 'Trust,' Alfie Boe says, 'I just love to sing'

Published: Saturday, April 26 2014 4:15 p.m. MDT

Alfie Boe's "Trust"

Capitol Records

From Renée Fleming to David Archuleta. From Audra McDonald to the King’s Singers. During its 14-year history of presenting Christmas concerts, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir has performed with an engaging variety of celebrity guest artists. But for many concertgoers, Alfie Boe singing “Bring Him Home” in 2012 was the musically dramatic highlight of the series.

“That song is so special to me,” Boe said of the hymnlike breakout from “Les Misérables.” “It’s a wonderful, emotional piece. It changed my life. It developed my career and turned things around for myself. Every time I sing it, I love it, and I never get tired of singing it."

While he performed the lead in Baz Luhrmann’s reinvention of “La Bohème,” which earned a Tony Award in 2003, Boe earned a coveted landmark in musical theater history when the opera star played Jean Valjean at London’s O2 arena for the 25th anniversary of “Les Misérables.”

With the vocal range and passion invested in “Bring Him Home,” which is officially titled “The Prayer,” Boe has a power and resonance that give operatic scale and strength to his performance. He leaps up the majestic song’s octaves with aplomb and elegantly triumphs with the formidable, soaring final note. “I knew I had to get that right,” he said of the climatic A note.

As a writer for Entertainment Weekly noted, “You would have to have a heart full of stones to not fall in love with Alfie Boe’s version of ‘Bring Him Home.’ ”

In a telephone interview to promote the release of his new album, “Trust,” which will be available April 29, Boe was as cheerful and entertaining as he is on the concert and theater stage.

Of his invitation to perform with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Boe said, “I was blown away. I was very flattered. It was a concert I was looking forward to for more than a year once I was asked to participate. I was counting down the days. The choir has such a great reputation, a wonderful history. They are amazing singers, amazing performers.”

Boe made his Utah debut in the concert, but he and his wife, Sarah, and their two children maintain a home in Salt Lake City. While the couple met in "La Bohème" rehearsals in San Francisco, Sarah grew up in the Beehive State. She is a U. of U. graduate and performed locally before her own professional career was launched.

“Because I have to travel quite a lot for work, it’s nice to know that whenever I am away that Sarah and my children are with family and friends, and they’re safe and sound,” Boe said. “It’s nice we have a part-time home in Utah.

“Salt Lake City is a great city, and Utah is an incredible state. The way of living in Utah is wonderful. I connected with it the first time I was here. It’s really nice to be part of the community, and I enjoy my time here very much. It’s wonderful.”

It’s rare for an artist to successfully make the crossover from classical music to musical theater, yet the tenor has never felt comfortable with the title “opera singer.” In “Trust,” Boe modulates his extraordinary gifts to a soulful set of blues, folk, gospel, standards and originals to sound coolly contemporary.

“ ‘Trust’ is a bit different from what I’ve done in the past,” he said of his fifth solo CD release. “But it’s just a new flavor. I wanted to show what the classical voice was capable of doing. I also wanted to show that those songs are just as beautiful as a classical aria.”

The track list includes Bob Dylan’s “Forever Young,” Jacques Brel’s “If You Go Away,” the Irish standard “Danny Boy” and the Burt Bacharach/Elvis Costello collaboration “God Give Me Strength.”

Boe noted that Warren Zevon’s “Keep Me in Your Heart,” from the rock songwriter’s swan-song album, “The Wind,” personally resonates. “It’s the emotion behind this song,” he said. “The words are very sentimental; it’s incredibly beautiful.”

The lyrics include “Hold me in your thoughts / Take me to your dreams / Touch me as I fall into view / When the winter comes / Keep the fires lit / And I will be right next to you.”

“I just love to sing,” Boe said. “I love performing and pleasing a crowd, no matter where it is — whether it’s a palace in England or a small venue in America, or even somewhere out in a field. I love singing; it’s something in my blood, and I know I can’t ignore or change.”

For more information on "Trust," visit alfie-boe.com.

From 'Bring Him Home' to 'Trust': Alfie Boe says, 'I just love to sing.'

Alfie Boe performs "Danny Boy" from his CD release "Trust."

From 'Bring Him Home' to 'Trust': Alfie Boe says, 'I just love to sing.'

Alfie Boe performs "Bring Him Home" at the Mormon Tabernacle Choir's 2012 "Home for the Holidays" Christmas concert.

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