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 Texy Back into the world for English Touring Opera and 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 (RNCM), Quince A midsummer night’s dream (RNCM), Lord Ellington La vie Parisienne (RNCM), Dottore La Traviata (Devon Opera), Cold Genius King Arthur (Glastonbury Festival), Mustafà L’Italiana in Algeri (Mananan Opera), Don Pasquale Don Pasquale (Mananan Opera), Claggart Billy Budd Re-imagined (The Royal Opera House L&P Department), Young Artist Macbeth (Buxton International Festival) and the nationwide tour of Aida (Chorus of Opera North).
Roles understudied include Figaro (cover) 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 (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 and Kapow meggings. His work as a voice-actor has had over 100 million plays.
Outside of opera, Neil is a keen barista, audiophile and crossfitter.
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
June - July 2021
BACK INTO THE WORLD | English Touring Opera
Neil stars 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.