SUPERSTAR tenor Alfie Boe says he “can’t wait” to return to North Wales as he gets set to headline Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod this summer.
The renowned English singer and actor will open the event alongside Britain’s Got Talent semi-finalists Welsh of the West End at a glitzy evening concert on Tuesday, July 4.
Alfie, who has appeared at the cultural festival on several occasions, said fans will be treated to “fantastic bloody music” with a hand-picked programme created just for Llangollen.
Supported by Welsh of the West End – which is made up of some of Wales’ own home-grown talent – Alfie said fans are in for a great night.
Speaking about his return to the town, he said: “Performing in Llangollen is very exciting because it’s a real buzz.
“There’s a great musical atmosphere – everybody’s there from around the world celebrating music and culture and it’s a wonderful thing to be a part of.
“The last few times I’ve been, I’ve loved every minute.
“And when you get to play the main stage and you have a day of your own, it’s even better, I can’t wait.”
Alfie, who has collaborated with many choirs during his career said he’s looking forward to teaming up with Welsh of the West End – the musical theatre supergroup and Britain’s Got Talent semi-finalists.
Commenting on what fans can expect, Alfie said: “Fantastic bloody music – a good concert, lots of fun and laughter.
“My aim is to deliver a good show with lots of different music.
“It’s always nice to try new songs out with a festival crowd.”
Alfie, who is gearing up for his UK tour this September, said he has lots in the pipeline for his loyal fans including a book and a new album.
“I just want to keep coming up with ideas, keep working and doing the best I can. I’m trying my hand at some original songs too so I’ll be drip-feeding them to the public.”
Welsh of the West End star Steffan Hughes from Llangwyfan near Denbigh, who has been a Youth Ambassador for Llangollen Eisteddfod and also presented the S4C coverage of the festival in 2019, said appearing at the festival with Alfie is a real “full circle moment” having competed in the event for many years growing up.
He said: “The Llangollen International Eisteddfod holds a dear place in my heart. A truly unique festival, that I had the privilege of representing as a youth ambassador in my teens.
“I spent many years competing on that wonderful stage and enjoyed the most varied and high-quality concerts there too. I’m so excited to be bringing the Welsh of the West End to Llangollen.
“We represented Wales on an international stage through our appearance on Britain’s Got Talent, but there’s truly no place like home – and as a Denbighshire boy myself, I’m thrilled to be singing on home turf. We’ll be performing some of our favourite songs from the world of musical theatre and film.”
Steffan added: “Sharing the stage with the wonderful Alfie Boe is the icing on the cake. We were a guest act on his UK tour with Michael Ball last year, so we’re very excited to be reuniting with him once more.”
Fellow members, Jade Davies from Denbigh, sister of Love Island winner Amber Davies, and Mared Wiliams from Llannefydd, who alongside Steffan, all went to Ysgol Glan Clwyd in St Asaph said they are also excited for the event.
Jade, who has performed in shows such as Les Miserables and Phantom of the Opera said: “It’s a dream come true to share the stage with Alfie Boe – someone who I really admire. It’ll be a joy to perform on that iconic Llangollen stage.”
Mared, who is a previous winner of the Musical Theatre International Voice of the Future at Llangollen said: “I’m thrilled to be singing at the Llangollen International Eisteddfod again. Having grown up competing and visiting the Eisteddfod, it’s a lovely feeling to be coming back to perform with professional musical theatre experience behind me.”
The Eisteddfod will be back for its 76th year this summer – the first full length festival to be held since before the coronavirus pandemic.
And this year, the Parade of Nations will be back for the first time since 2019.
Llangollen Eisteddfod executive producer Camilla King said: “There was a lot of excitement last year when we came back for the first time since 2019 but people then were still cautious about covid and travel, whereas this year, everyone’s ready to be back out there celebrating.
“People can expect to see a lot of the things that the festival has developed a reputation for – fantastic world renowned artists, competitions which showcase performers from around the world, exciting live finals like Choir of the World, Dance Champions and Voice of the Future – where you’ll see some of the top choirs, dance groups and operatic soloists.
“There’ll also be spectacular international concerts which bring lots of different performers together including The White Flower which sees massed forces of Welsh, Bosnian and Ukrainian performers. We’re also delighted that the 2022 Pendine International Voice of the Future winner, Emyr Lloyd Jones, will be joining us on stage as a soloist for this concert.
On the Eisteddfod line-up will be well known jazz performer and conductor, Guy Barker with his Big Band on Friday 7 July, collaborating with top soloists such as Tommy Blaize, lead singer on Strictly Come Dancing, and soul and jazz musicians, Clare Teal, Giacomo Smith and Vanessa Haynes performing a one-off set.
“It’s going to be a real summer’s evening party – if you’re into jazz and you like that punchy big band Sinatra sound, this is the night out for you,” Camilla said.
Commenting about Alfie Boe’s return to Llangollen, Camilla added: “It’s a few years since Alfie has been to the Eisteddfod but he’s a real favourite with our audience.
“It’s also a brilliant showcase for Welsh of the West End – really talented young Welsh musical theatre stars.”
Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod runs between July 4 and 9, and features a combination of competition and performance with choirs competing for the coveted Choir of the World title and the Pavarotti Trophy.
Each year around 4,000 participants take to the stage with around 25,000 visitors attending.
There will also be lots of entertainment on the outside site including workshops, talks, international showcases, outdoor theatre performances and circus skills.
The Eisteddfod will also crown the 2023 dance champions with the Lucille Armstrong Trophy, in addition to the Pendine International Voice of the Future event.
Tickets are available online at www.llangollen.net or on 01978 862001.