Personnel: Juliette Pochin, James Morgan (keyboards, programming).
Audio Mixers: Juliette Pochin; Soren Mikkelsen; Jakob Groth; James Morgan.
Recording information: Dean Street Studios; DR Studios, Copenhagen, Denmark; Medley Studios, Copenhagen; Smecky Soundstage, Prague.
Editors: Juliette Pochin; James Morgan.
Photographer: Ray Burmiston.
Having earned a five-minute standing ovation for his recent performance in the lead role of Jean Valjean in the 25th anniversary of West End musical Les Miserables, Blackpool-born tenor Alfie Boe, arguably Russell Watson's closest rival for the title of the U.K.'s most popular opera singer, couldn't have timed the release of his fifth studio album any better. Whereas his previous four releases have focused on classical favorites, hymns, and established standards, Bring Him Home is a collection of some of his best-loved film and show tunes, from South Pacific's "Some Enchanted Evening" to the more recent Moulin Rouge love theme, "Come What May," performed here as a duet with Wicked actress Kerry Ellis. Recorded in Prague and Copenhagen, its 12 tracks are often surprisingly unpredictable, with songs from James Bond's On Her Majesty's Secret Service (Louis Armstrong's "We Have All the Time in the World") and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory ("Pure Imagination") sitting alongside more traditional pieces from Sunset Boulevard ("As If We Never Said Goodbye"), My Fair Lady ("On the Street Where You Live"), and, of course, Les Miserables (the title track, also the first song Boe sang in public). However, his collaboration with Little Britain comedian and recent co-star Matt Lucas provides the album's unexpected highlight, on a stirring rendition of Man of La Mancha's "The Impossible Dream." Backed by James Morgan and Juliette Pochin's simple but effective orchestral production, Boe performs the likes of Blood Brothers' "Tell Me It's Not True" and Carousel's "If I Loved You" in his own powerful and emotional style, without ever detracting from or overpowering the original melodies, ensuring that Bring Him Home is always a respectful and passionate homage to the world of musical theater. Like Katherine Jenkins, Aled Jones, and his idol, Andrea Bocelli, Boe's shift into more popular music territory will undoubtedly attract a new audience, but with no compromises to his own unique vocal abilities, his previous classical fan base shouldn't be deterred either. ~ Jon O'Brien