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Maria Callas

Episode 1 of 3

Alfie celebrates Maria Callas, including historical recordings from La boheme, Madam Butterfly, Norma and Gianni Schicchi.

Alfie Boe - Britain's favourite tenor presents a short series about his opera heroes - the great voices who have inspired and influenced him throughout his career.

Alfred Giovanni Roncalli Boe or just plain Alfie Boe to you and me was born in 1973 and brought up in the fishing port of Fleetwood. Alfie is the youngest in a family of 9 children - three brothers and five sisters. Alfie's was a happy 70s childhood full of space invaders, action men and space hoppers. As a young lad he rode his chopper bike along the promenade to Blackpool listening to music on his Walkman - remember them.? It's a long way you might think from the opera houses , West End and Broadway productions he graces these days - but the family home was an important factor in his musical tastes and an important influence on his choice of career.

Mr and Mrs Boe had a record player - just a turntable - which one day was updated to a " hi fi" system - radio, turntable, tapes and huge speakers which took up half the living room. Stacked alongside it was the family vinyl collection. Young Alfie loved Led Zepplin and Pink Floyd as well as Elvis and the Beach Boys. His mother liked Alma Cogan and Val Doonican . So it was an ecletic mix of LPs to choose from. Sunday lunchtimes were always an important part of the family week and whilst the children helped their mother cook the weekly roast Alfie's father would play a selection of his favourites . Everyone has a seminal moment in their life - and for Alfie it was when his father played him a recording by the operatic soprano Maria Callas. "I had never heard anything like it before - such a powerful and emotional performance".

In this 3 part series Alfie Boe looks at the lives, loves, divas, disasters, tantrums and triumphs of 3 of his opera heroes - Maria Callas, Mario Lanza and the great Enrico Caruso. And he's going to tell it warts and all.
In this first programme Alfie recalls the life and career of Maria Callas. Often called La Divina - her own story could have been a plot of a tragic opera. She is recognised as one of the greatest dramatic opera sopranos of the 20th century - but her success hid an unhappy and turbulent life and her name hit the headlines more often for her well publicised affair with Aristotle Onassis than for her great vocal talent.

The programme includes historical recordings by Maria Callas from La Boheme, Madam Butterfly, Norma and Gianni Schicchi.

57 minutes

Last on

Mon 14 Mar 2016 22:00

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Alfie Boe's Opera Heroes Playlist

Alfie Boe's Opera Heroes Playlist

Britain's favourite tenor celebrates the artists who have inspired him.