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Alfie Boe: 'I can't wait to perform alongside Katherine Jenkins'

Ahead of Carousel opening at the London Coliseum next week, we talk to the actor about the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, and how he's learnt to deal with the pressures of the job

Katherine Jenkins and Alfie Boe
© Matt Crockett

I started out when I was about 19, and I didn't I realise how far I could go. I finished working at a car factory and went on to be employed by a company called D'Oyly Carte. They took me on a national tour for about a year before I went and studied. During my studies, I got to perform a lot and nurture my abilities, and I knew that I was on the path to something exciting.

There's a lot of pressure with every show you do. A lot of the stuff I've worked on in the past has been performed by people I respect, but I want to put a different slant or a different take on it. The pressure's inevitable. Once you're on stage, you've got to be engaged with that character and in the right frame of mind. If you start thinking about getting it right, the chances are you won't.

Fundamentally, Carousel is a love story. Carrie chooses the stability of a solid, hard-working business man and the vision of a family and the idealistic world - which comes with its own problems and challenges. Julie falls in love with the complete opposite, someone (Billy Bigelow) who doesn't see anything ahead, no opportunity. He wants to get it the cheap and easy way and commits a crime, which inevitably ends in his demise. Billy helps his daughter go on to achieve something he could never get. So in a sense it's redemption for him to get through the gates of heaven.

Alfie Boe as Jean Valjean in 2011
© Dan Wooller for WhatsOnStage

Katherine Jenkins is a wonderful colleague on stage. She's a great singer and acts really well, I'm looking forward to acting alongside her. Our production has a great cast, we have 71 performers on stage, and an orchestra of 40 players. It's looking spectacular.

At the end of the show, I have a scene with Nicholas Lyndhurst which I love. It's just straight acting, no singing involved, but it's very emotional and heartfelt. I also love to perform the soliloquy which is my big number in the middle of the show, and a joyful duet with Katherine in the first act.

People should come and see the show because is a real opportunity to hear some fantastic songs you will know. It's also something that's very unique, and very special. It's emotional, but uplifting. I think doing Carousel at the ENO will give a wider audience the opportunity to acknowledge the Coliseum as a diverse musical venue. Bat Out of Hell comes in straight after Carousel which is amazing.

Click here to buy tickets for Carousel

Carousel will run at the London Coliseum from 11 April to 13 May, with previews from 7 April 2017.