Balfe, Michael William (1808-1870)

Balfe, Michael William, composer, was born in Dublin, 15th May 1808. In his ninth year he made his debut as a violinist, having begun to compose two years earlier; in 1823 he came to London, and during 1825-26 studied in Italy under Paer, Galli, Federici, and Rossini. In 1826 he Wrote the music for a ballet, La Perouse, performed at Milan ; and in 1827 he sang in the Italian Opera at Paris with great applause, his voice being a pure rich baritone. In 1833 he returned to England, and in 1846 was appointed conductor of the London Italian Opera. He died at Rowley Abbey, his estate in Hertfordshire, 20th October 1870. Of his numerous operas, operettas, and other compositions, produced in rapid succession from 1830, the most permanently successful have been The Bohemian Girl (1843), The Rose of Castile.(1857), and 11 Talismano (1874). Many of his songs are admirable. See works by Kenney (1875) and Barrett (1882).
1. Chamber's Biographical Dictionary, Philadelphia, 1926, page 63.

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