Lord Ellington in La Vie Parisienne by Offenbach
"Neil Balfour used his attractive voice, smooth with a slight dark edge, to his best advantage."
Indian-Scottish Neil Balfour is a graduate of the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) and the National Opera Studio. A former Britten-Pears and Concordia artist, he is the first opera singer to be booked by the Glastonbury Festival and the first to beatbox in an opera at Longborough Festival Opera.
In the current season Neil performs Prince Yamadori Madama Butterfly for Welsh National Opera, premieres Jean Arp Sophie for the Tête à Tête Opera festival and a Sondheim recital for Oxford Lieder. He also looks forward to attending a Samling Artist Residency.
Operatic performances include Colline La bohème (Mananan Opera & OFMAN Madrid Opera Studio); Mercurio La Calisto (Longborough Festival Opera); Don Alfonso Così fan tutte, Quince A midsummer night’s dream and Lord Ellington La vie Parisienne (RNCM); Dottore La Traviata (Devon Opera); Cold Genius King Arthur (Glastonbury Festival); Mustafà L’Italiana in Algeri and Don Pasquale Don Pasquale (Mananan Opera); Claggart Billy Budd Re-imagined (The Royal Opera House L&P Department); being a Young Artist Macbeth (Buxton International Festival) and the nationwide tours of Aida and Fidelio (Chorus of Opera North). Roles understudied include Figaro Le nozze di Figaro (Longborough Festival Opera) and Lt. Ratcliffe Billy Budd (Opera North).
Contemporary opera roles created for Neil include Ibn Al-Haytham Al-Haytham’s light and Texy/Everywhere Back into the world (English Touring Opera); Father Mysterious 44 (the first electronic opera); Dad/La-La A shoe full of stars (YAM Awards Best Opera 2018) and Punch Crocodile (a dark-web animated opera).
Concert performances have included Gershwin’s Porgy & Bess (Leeds Philharmonic Orchestra), Haydn’s Mass in time of War, Bach’s St. Matthew Passion as well as an eclectic mix of song recitals for Leeds Lieder, &Piano, Britten-Pears Arts and the Leeds Opera Festival.
Neil is the first classical artist for sE Electronics and NORD (world-leading microphones & digital pianos), director of ArtSongStory (compelling videos of art-song) and founder of the Koko Koncerts (classical stars in a coffee shop). He is also in partnership with Penhaligon’s British perfume house, Kapow meggings and VivoBarefoot shoes. His work as a voiceover artist has had over 100 million plays.
Outside of opera, Neil is a keen barista, audiophile and yogi.
September 2021 - May 2022
MADAMA BUTTERFLY | Welsh National Opera
Neil is making his debut as Prince Yamadori in Welsh National Opera's new production of Madama Butterfly.
Where: Millenium Centre, Cardiff
17 October 2021
SONDHEIM RECITAL | Oxford Lieder
Neil is making his debut as a young artist for Oxford Lieder joining Nicky Spence and Kitty Whateley for an exciting programme of Sondheim's songs.
Where: Oxford Lieder
7 August 2022
SOPHIE | Tête à Tête Opera
Neil is creating the role of Jean Arp in a new opera by Helen Caddick. Inspired by the Dancer/Artist Sophie Taeuber and her relationship with the poet/dadaist Jean Arp.
Where: Cockpit theatre, Marylebone, London
27 June 2021
PEOPLE'S CHOICE CONCERT | Hull Urban Opera
Like being in charge? The HUO People’s Choice Concert allows you to programme next year’s full-scale production! Artistic Director, Russell Plows will take you through four great operatic contenders by Martinu, Ullmann and Milhaud and we’ll ask for your vote at the end.
9 - 19 June 2021
FIDELIO | Opera North
Neil joins the chorus of Opera North in this romantic melodrama, inspired by a true story from the French Revolution, speaks to our times with its themes of isolation, liberty and humanity.
BACK INTO THE WORLD | English Touring Opera
Neil created several roles in a new project which will address the severe isolation, uncertainty, challenging emotions, disrupted learning, anxiety and craving interaction with friends that thousands of children have faced throughout lockdown.
CROCODILE | Hull Urban Opera
The online premiere of Crocodile, music by Lente Verelst and libretto by Lena Vercauten. Four singers are stuck in an eternal loop wherein they have to relive the same events from the perspective of four different characters.
Neil is a skilled voiceover artist with over 80 projects under his belt and online work featuring over 100 million plays. He is a versatile performer, able to weave interchangeably between animation, narration and gaming as well as being heard on explainer videos. Neil was the original artist (recording all voices) for the viral sensation that was Baby-Shark on the Little Angel Kids Channel.
Equipped with a high-end home studio, Neil uses sE Electronics Rupert Neve Tube microphones, a Steinberg AXR4 Audio Interface, Cubase Pro DAW, NORD Stage Grand Piano and a professionally treated room by GIK Acoustics. All this enables an audio recording with an ultra-low noise floor, 32-bit converters and a 384 kHz sample rate.
Neil has the capability to record remotely, with video link, from his home studio using Cleanfeed, VST Connect and Zoom.
Please click the link below for full credits and CV.
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