He is best known for his internationally critically acclaimed performances as Jean Valjean in the musical Les Misérables, playing the role in the Queen's Theatre in London, the Les Misérables: 25th Anniversary Concert in October 2010, and in the Broadway revival. He has been playing the lead role in Finding Neverland on Broadway beginning March 29, 2016. As well, Boe shared a Tony Award with the other members of the ensemble cast of Baz Luhrmann's 2002 revival of La bohème in 2003. He has sold over one million albums in the United Kingdom.
Boe, the youngest in a family of nine children, was born in Blackpool, Lancashire, and brought up in nearby Fleetwood. He is of Irish and Norwegian descent. His mother and father named him after the Italian name of Pope John XXIII. He attended St Wulstan's and St Edmund's School and Cardinal Allen Catholic High School in Fleetwood. His earliest musical memories were of listening to his father's Richard Tauber records and at the age of 11 he discovered Puccini's La Bohème for the first time.
Boe's first public performance, aged 14, was at Fleetwood's Marine Hall in a "Songs from the Shows" presentation organised by inspirational local singing teacher Lottie Dawson. He states that although he sang only a couple of lines he was extremely nervous.
At the age of 17, Boe became an apprentice mechanic at the TVR factory in Bispham, Blackpool. He enjoyed entertaining his colleagues by singing opera arias while he polished the cars, and one day was overheard by a client with connections in the music industry who was so impressed that he suggested Boe should go to London and audition for the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company. His audition was a success and he gave up polishing cars to embark on a singing career. Boe has never been able to trace the customer who suggested he go for the audition, having lost the man's business card.
Boe moved to London and studied singing at the Royal College of Music, the National Opera Studio and the Royal Opera House's Vilar Young Artists Programme. In 1999 and 2000, he was featured as the "opera dude" on albums by the Clint Boon Experience, led by the former organist of the Inspiral Carpets. In 1999 he sang Ernesto for Scottish Opera in their Opera-Go-Round production of Don Pasquale, touring widely throughout Scotland.
Baz Luhrmann, who had spent two years looking for the lead for his Broadway production of La Bohème, approached Boe for the role. Boe subsequently appeared (credited as Alfred Boe) on the 2002 Broadway Cast Recording released by Bazmark Live Pty Ltd. Boe and the other principal leads received a Tony Honors Award in 2003. He has also sung the role at Glyndebourne and the English National Opera.
In 2006, Boe was signed to the Classic FM Presents label as their first signing in a new venture for the radio station, and his album Classic FM Presents Alfie Boe reached number three in the UK classical chart. At the 2006 Canterbury Festival, on 27 October, Boe performed with soprano Hayley Westenra at a concert in Canterbury Cathedral. In November 2006 he was signed to the EMI Classics label and his first album on that label, Onward, was released in March 2007.
Boe toured the United Kingdom with the Fron Male Voice Choir in February 2007 and took part in the first Classic FM webcast concert with soprano Natasha Marsh in March. The same month, he was appointed as an ambassador of the Prince of Wales Arts & Kids Foundation, a British educational charity working to inspire and educate children by introducing them to the arts. Boe's role being to bring music, and opera in particular for those children involved.
In April, Boe starred opposite Lesley Garrett and Willard White in the ITV Music of Morse concert at the Royal Albert Hall. He was also nominated for a Classical BRIT for Best Album, missing out to Paul McCartney at the ceremony on 3 May 2007.
Boe also performed with Michael Ball in the English National Opera production of Kismet. His live performance of the song "Stranger in Paradise" from Kismet on the Michael Parkinson show was released as a digital download single on 25 June 2007. In August, Boe realised an ambition to record an album of Neapolitan songs which was released in November under the title La Passione. On 24 August 2007 he performed at the Arundel Festival alongside Natasha Marsh. On 19 October 2007 he performed at Canterbury Cathedral during the Canterbury Festival. Boe also performed at the annual Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall on 10 November 2007.
On 31 January 2008, Boe performed at the Pleasure Beach Arena, Blackpool, to over 1,600 local children, in a special Music Quest concert to help introduce the classics to a new generation and to celebrate the end of the Music Quest three-year project which was sponsored by the Prince of Wales Arts & Kids Foundation and Classic FM MusicMakers.
On 3 October 2010, Boe took on the role of Jean Valjean in a concert performance of the musical Les Misérables at the O2 Arena in London to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the show, released on DVD and Blu-ray Disc. The concert encore performance of "Bring Him Home", credited as the "Valjean Quartet" — Boe with Colm Wilkinson, John Owen-Jones and Simon Bowman (each of whom has portrayed Valjean in various theatrical productions) — was re-recorded at the Abbey Road Studios and released as a charity CD single and digital download on 13 December 2010. On 16 December 2010, Boe once again performed as Valjean in the Royal Variety Performance in front of Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall singing "What Have I Done?", and "Bring Him Home" again alongside Wilkinson, Owen-Jones and Bowman.
Boe appeared as Valjean in Les Misérables at the Queen's Theatre, London, from 23 June to 26 November 2011. His friend Matt Lucas also joined the cast as Thenardier. During his run as Valjean, Boe appeared in the "Les Misérables v Lend Me a Tenor Battle of the Tenors" at Soho's Winnett Street, London on 13 July 2011. In August, Boe performed with the National Symphony Orchestra at Beau Sejour and Gloucester Hall.
On 8 May 2015, it was announced that Boe would return to the role of Valjean in the Broadway production of Les Misérables at the Imperial Theatre in New York. He succeeded Ramin Karimloo - who played Enjolras in the 25th Anniversary concert - on 1 September 2015.
Alfie starred as the romantic lead Billy Bigelow in Rodgers and Hammerstein's Carousel in a limited run at the English National Opera directed by Lonny Price, opposite classical vocalist Katherine Jenkins.
In January 2011, Boe performed for English National Opera in La Bohème and The Mikado. In March 2011, Boe performed three concerts in Idaho: two in Rexburg, and one in Sun Valley. In April, Boe appeared in The Great British Musical – The Famous and the Future at the Criterion Theatre and the St George's Day celebration concert in Trafalgar Square. In May, Boe went on to perform at the Classical BRIT Awards ceremony at the Royal Albert Hall, in the Isle of Man, and then headlined the Hampton Court Palace Festival finale on 18 June 2011.
Boe appeared in the BBC Last Night of the Proms concert at the Caird Hall on 10 September 2011 and the Llanelli Choral Society's Grand Performance Concert at Tabernacle Chapel, Llanelli on 24 September 2011. Boe commenced the "Alfie Boe 'Bring Him Home' U.K. Concert Tour" in Bristol on 6 December 2011, finishing in Gateshead Sage on 4 February 2012.
In October 2011, Boe announced that he would be appearing in the Lytham Proms Festival Weekend on 4 August 2012. Tickets went on sale on 14 October 2011. The festival is held in the town of Lytham St Annes close to his home town of Fleetwood. The local newspaper Blackpool Gazette described his concert as a 'homecoming' using the title 'Bring HIM Home'.
On 6 May 2012, Boe performed at the Kauffman Center in Kansas City, Missouri. On 4 June 2012, Boe performed at the Diamond Jubilee Concert for the Diamond Jubilee of Elizabeth II. He sang "’O sole mio" leading into Elvis Presley's "It's Now or Never". He also sang, with American soprano Renee Fleming, "Somewhere" from West Side Story, this performance taking place on the balcony of Buckingham Palace. He appeared on The One Show on 30 August 2012. On 2 October 2012, Boe embarked on a major U.S./Canada concert tour starting in Dallas, Texas, ending in Toronto on 29 October.
In December 2012, Boe was featured as a guest artist for the holiday concert series of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Orchestra at Temple Square and Bells on Temple Square. The concerts also featured legendary broadcaster Tom Brokaw who narrated the story of Gail Halvorsen (who also made an appearance) and the candy bombers of the Second World War. Boe performed several Christmas favourites as well as 'Bring Him Home'.
Boe returned to the U.S. in late January 2013 for a short (8 cities) tour, starting in Albany, New York 27 January and ending in Pittsburgh 9 February. In February 2013, Boe, colloquially known as the Lancashire Michael Bublé, was awarded two platinum albums by the BPI for Alfie (2011) and Bring Him Home (2010). Back in the UK, Boe did a three-week, 14-city tour, which started in Birmingham and ended in Belfast, Northern Ireland. On 15 April 2013, Boe was awarded a Fellowship of the Royal College of Music from his Alma Mater. On 26 May 2013, Boe sang "Bring Him Home" at the U.S. National Memorial Day Concert on the West Lawn of the Capitol in Washington, D.C.
On 9 May 2015 he performed at VE Day 70: A Party to Remember in Horse Guards Parade, London.
On 4 and 5 June 2015, Boe performed two concerts at Symphony Hall with the Phoenix Symphony, filling in for Colm Wilkinson, who was forced to drop out due to illness.
Boe appears as music-hall singer Richard Chapman in episode 2.6 of Mr Selfridge.
Boe met his wife Sarah while rehearsing La Bohème in San Francisco. They have two children, daughter Grace and son Alfred Robert. They currently live in Utah.Classic FM Presents Alfie Boe (Classic FM, 2006/Reissued with alternate cover photo, Universal Music, 2008/Reissued with alternative title The Sound Of Alfie Boe as HMV exclusive on Decca, UK, Feb 2011)
Onward (physical CD contains 12 tracks – some digital download versions feature an additional track "Where'er You Walk (from Semele)" – EMI Classics, 2007)
A Living Prayer (Radio Edit)/Abide With Me (EMI Classics, 2007 – digital download single)
Stranger In Paradise (Live On Parkinson)/You'll Never Walk Alone (EMI Classics, 2007 – digital download single)
Live At Abbey Road – The Napster Sessions (Napster exclusive 4-track digital download includes 3 live songs from "La Passione" and a cover of The Beatles' "Eleanor Rigby" – EMI Classics, 2007)
La Passione (physical CD contains 15 tracks – some digital download versions feature an additional track "Lolita". Another track "La Paloma" recorded but not issued. EMI Classics, 2007)
Franz Lehár: Love Was A Dream (Linn Records, 2009/Reissued as "Love Was A Dream" with new artwork on Decca, July 2011)
Bring Him Home (studio version, credited as the Valjean Quartet – Alfie Boe, Simon Bowman, John Owen-Jones and Colm Wilkinson – Cameron Mackintosh Limited, 2010 – CD/digital download charity single)
Bring Him Home (includes duets with Kerry Ellis & Matt Lucas, Shakira and Melanie C – Decca Records, December 2010)
You'll Never Walk Alone – The Collection 16-song compilation CD features 6 songs not included on Boe's solo CD albums – 2 songs from Eternal Light, plus "Where'er You Walk", "Brindisi", "Abide With Me" and "Fratello Sole, Sorella Luna". (EMI Classics, 21 March 2011)
Alfie U.K. version – 15 tracks, includes tracks featuring Michael Ball & Robert Plant (Decca Records, 31 October 2011)
Alfie U.S. version – 15 tracks, includes tracks featuring Nick Jonas & Robert Plant. The U.S. version substitutes the "Empty Chairs" duet from Michael Ball to Nick Jonas, and deletes "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" replaced with the studio version of "Bring Him Home". (Decca Records, 5 June 2012)
Storyteller U.K. version – 13 tracks (Decca Records, 12 November 2012)
Storyteller U.K. digital download version - 16 tracks [adds "Always A Woman To Me", "I Can't Help Falling In Love With You (Secret Rehearsal Take)", and "Bring Him Home (Live Version)" plus 4 "Song Commentary" video clips (Decca Records, 9 November 2012 – Amazon.co.uk and iTunes UK]
Storyteller U.K. Sainsbury's Entertainment version – 15 tracks (adds "Wayfaring Stranger – Bonus Track – Live From Dallas", and "Rank Strangers To Me – Bonus Track – Live From Dallas" (Decca Records, 12 November)
Storyteller U.S. version – 14 tracks includes exclusive bonus track "Angel" (Decca Records, 6 August 2013)
Trust U.K. version – 12 tracks (Decca Records, 11 November 2013)
Trust U.S. version – 13 tracks - adds a bonus version of "Danny Boy" (Mr. Selfridge version) (Manhattan Records, 29 April 2014)
"Johann Strauss: Die Fledermaus - Sung in English - D'Oyly Carte Opera Company, John Owen Edwards - conductor" (The first released studio recording of Alfred Boe - 2-CD, Sony Classics S2K 64573, 1995)
The Compact Guide to Pop Music and Space Travel (The Clint Boon Experience! aka CBX! - guest appearance on two tracks: "Comet Theme Number One" & "Only One Way I Can Go" - credited as Alf Boe: Opera Vocal - Artful Records, 1999)
"Gilbert & Sullivan: HMS Pinafore - The 1999 D'Oyly Carte Cast Complete Dialogue & Songs Recording" (Performing the role of Ralph Rackstraw, credited as Alfred Boe - 2-CD, TER, 2000 - Reissued 2008)
Life in Transition (The Clint Boon Experience! aka CBX! - guest appearance on four tracks: "This is the Sound", "Life in Transition", "17 & Over!" & "In Chaos I See" - credited as Alf Boe: Opera Vocal - Artful Records, 2000)
"The Most Happy Fella - First Complete Recording - Studio Cast" (3-CD Box Set - appears on 6 tracks, performing the role of Giuseppe, credited as Alfred Boe. Recorded 1997-1999 - JAY, 2000 - Reissued on TER, 2010)
"Verdi: Aida - The 2002 Opera In English Recording" (2-CD Box Set - appears on 2 tracks in the role of "A Messenger" - credited as Alfred Boe - Chandos "Opera In English", 2002)
"La Bohème - The 2002 Broadway Cast Recording" (credited as Alfred Boe - Bazmark Live Pty Ltd., 2002)
"Barry Banks Sings Bel Canto Arias" (Alfred Boe as Pilades duets on "Palace of Horrors! - Ah, How Can I Hide the Flames" from Rossini's "Ermione", Recorded September 2001 - Chandos "Opera in English", 2004)
"Sleigh Ride" (Alfred Boe appears on 2 tracks: "'Twas the Night Before Christmas" & "O Holy Night" - The Boston Pops Orchestra - Conducted By Keith Lockhart, Artemis Classics, 2004)
"Myleene’s Music For Romance" (Myleene Klass - 2-CD Compilation features previously unreleased Alfie Boe track "Fratello Sole, Sorella Luna" written by Donovan from the Zeffirelli film "Brother Sun, Sister Moon" - EMI Classics, 2007)
"Elizabeth Marvelly" (Self-titled debut CD features Alfie Boe duet on "Stranger in Paradise" - EMI, 2007)
Howard Goodall, Eternal Light: A Requiem (tenor soloist on 4 tracks, with Natasha Marsh; Christopher Maltman; Choir of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford; London Musici; and Stephen Darlington; EMI Classics, 2008)
"Natasha Marsh" (Self-titled CD featuring Alfie Boe duet on "Brindisi" (La Traviata) - EMI Classics, 2008)
"Pride of the Nation" (The Band of the Coldstream Guards, CD featuring Alfie Boe on "Jerusalem" (Parry, arr. Eyton) - Decca CD/DVD + Digital Download, 28 March 2011)
"Downton Abbey" (Original Music from the Television Series - Alfie sings 2 tracks "If You Were the Only Girl (In the World)" and "Roses of Picardy") - Decca CD + Digital Download, 19 September 2011)
"First Night" (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack - Alfie sings 1 solo "Un'aura amorosa", 1 duet "Volgi a me (Fra gli amplessi)" and appears on 1 ensemble track "Fortunato - Act II Finale", all from Mozart's "Così fan tutte" - Sony Classical CD + Digital Download, 17 October 2011)
"Summon The Heroes" (The Band of H.M. Royal Marines - Alfie sings 1 solo "Over the Hills and Far Away" - Decca CD + Digital Download, 14 November 2011)
"One Vision" (Alfie Boe & Kimberley Walsh featuring Youth Music Voices Choir - Decca (UMO) U.K. Digital Download Only, 11 May 2012)
"Sing - E.P." (Gary Barlow & the Commonwealth Band Feat. Alfie Boe & Military Wives - Alfie sings on "Land of Hope and Glory" - Decca CD + Digital Download, 28 May 2012)
Home for the Holidays feat. Alfie Boe (Mormon Tabernacle Choir CD + Digital Download + DVD, 15 October 2013)