Alfie Boe, the romantic tenor who led celebrations outside Buckingham Palace at the Queen’s diamond jubilee concert, has threatened to storm parliament if music education funding in Britain does not improve.
Speaking this weekend, Boe has called on whoever forms the next government to provide better academic support for young musicians. Attacking David Cameron’s record on arts funding, Boe said: “I would like to see some changes in music education. Whether that means me storming the houses of parliament with a group of my friends, I don’t know. I’d be up for it, because it is about time that this was recognised.”
The 41-year-old Lancashire-born singer, who was discovered in the late 1990s as he sang in a car garage where he worked as a mechanic, has sung at Glyndebourne and with the English National Opera at the Coliseum, and he won a Tony award on Broadway for his performance in Puccini’s La Bohème.
He is now also an ambassador for Nordoff Robbins, the UK’s leading private provider of music therapy, and he launched his criticisms at the launch of the charity’s Secret 7” project – an exhibition of exclusive record sleeves at Somerset House, London – to raise funds.
The tenor railed against the ignorance of politicians who fail to value the contribution music makes to Britain. “If Cameron hasn’t done it now, what’s going to be different in the future?,” he asked. “I’m not a big fan. It’s time for change. Music has to be recognised and brought on board. It’s their duty to rehabilitate society.”
Boe, who appears in the television series Mr Selfridge and recorded the official Team GB single for the 2012 Olympic Games in London, said singing had been his therapy throughout his life. “It can hypnotise you, mellow you out and massage your brain.”
The youngest of nine children, Boe sang with the indie band Inspiral Carpets before having his voice classically trained after working with the now defunct D’Oyly Carte light opera touring company.
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