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Neil Balfour - Headshot

"A natural actor... he is as comfortable singing Mozart

as he is performing Sondheim."

-Garth Bardsley

Neil Balfour as Lord Ellington in La Vie Parisienne - Royal Northern College of Music 2016

"Neil Balfour used his attractive voice, smooth with a slight dark edge, to his best advantage."

-SeenandHeard International

Indian-Scottish Neil Balfour is an award-winning British Baritone and Voiceover Artist. He started musical life as a pianist, punk-rocker and conductor, graduating from Leeds College of Music, the Royal Northern College of Music and the National Opera Studio, before falling in love with all-things-voice to tell stories. A former Britten-Pears, Samling, Momentum and Concordia artist, he has performed at the Glastonbury Festival and is the first to beatbox in an opera at Longborough Festival Opera..

In the upcoming season engagements include Maslenitsa/Herald The Snowmaiden for English Touring Opera; Guillermo Kahlo Frida for the Northern Opera Group; King Hrothgar Beowulf  (world premiere) for Proper Job Theatre; Jacob Displaced (world premiere) for Tête-à-Tête/English National Opera; Navin The End of the World Party (world premiere) for Hull Urban Opera; Bartley Riders to the Sea OperaUpClose; Handel’s Messiah for the City of London Sinfonia; Horovitz’s Captain Noah and his Floating Zoo for the Yorkshire Philharmonic Choir; a recital paired with perfumes for Oxford International Song Festival; and new recordings of songs by Fanny Hensel, Reena Esmail and Cheryl Frances-Hoad.

Highlights in recent seasons include his American debut as Father Thumbprint for Portland Opera; Prince Yamadori Madama Butterfly and The Shoemaker (world premiere) for Welsh National Opera; Alice Through the Looking Glass (world premiere) for the London Symphony Orchestra; Jean Arp Sophie (world premiere) for Tête à Tête; a recital with Roderick Williams for Thaxted Festival and recitals on Schumann and Sondheim for Oxford International Song Festival.

Operatic performances include Colline La bohème (Mananan Opera & OFMAN Madrid Opera Studio); Mercurio La Calisto (Longborough Festival Opera); Don Alfonso Così fan tutteQuince A midsummer night’s dream and Lord Ellington La vie Parisienne (RNCM); Eustache The Six of Calais (Pegasus Opera); Diktator Der Diktator (Northern Opera Group); Dottore La Traviata (Devon Opera); Cold Genius King Arthur (Glastonbury Festival); Broadcaster The Flying Dutchman (OperaUpClose); Young Artist Macbeth (Buxton International Festival) and the nationwide tours of Aida and Fidelio (Chorus of Opera North). He has also understudied Figaro Le nozze di Figaro (Longborough Festival Opera).

Contemporary opera roles created for Neil include Ibn Al-Haytham Al-Haytham’s light and  Texy/Everywhere Back into the world (English Touring Opera); Jean Arp Sophie (Tête à Tête Opera festival);  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 is proud to be supported by Penhaligon’s British Perfumers, VivoBarefoot shoes, Tailfin and Mason Cycles. His work as a voiceover artist has had over 100 million plays.

 

Outside of opera, Neil is a keen barista, climber and adventure cyclist.

Steven Swales Artist Management represents Neil Balfour worldwide.

Biography
Neil Balfour as Don Alfonso in Cosi fan Tutte - Royal Northern College of Music 2017

MUSIC

music

 

 ARTSONGSTORY 


The discovery, practice and performance of song enriches understanding of emotion, relationships and all human interaction for performer and audience. Neil collaborates regularly to create artistic videos of songs and stories that are relevant, beautiful and fascinating in today's modern world. To see the full collection visit: www.artsongstory.com

DISCOGRAPHY

CREATOR

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SID

SHORT FILM

2023

WINNER

SOUND DESIGN

Vesuvius International

Film Festival

Neil Balfour as Mustafa in L'Italiana in Algeri - Mananan Opera 2017

SHOWS

Shows
  • THE END OF THE WORLD PARTY!
    THE END OF THE WORLD PARTY!
    Multiple Dates
    Sat, 20 Apr
    Princes Quay Event Space, Hull
    20 Apr 2024, 19:00 – 22:00
    Princes Quay Event Space, Hull, Waterhouse Ln, Hull HU1 2PQ, UK
    20 Apr 2024, 19:00 – 22:00
    Princes Quay Event Space, Hull, Waterhouse Ln, Hull HU1 2PQ, UK
    Hull Urban Opera are creating a new and innovative piece about the end of the world. Music by Lente Verelst & words by Russell Plows. 18-20 April 2024 at Princes Quay Event Space in Hull.
  • ANIMAL MAGIC
    ANIMAL MAGIC
    Sat, 08 Jun
    Wakefield Cathedral
    08 Jun 2024, 19:00 – 21:00
    Wakefield Cathedral, Northgate, Wakefield WF1 1HG, UK
    08 Jun 2024, 19:00 – 21:00
    Wakefield Cathedral, Northgate, Wakefield WF1 1HG, UK
    Neil joins the Yorkshire Philharmonic choir and local schools as the soloist in Horowitz's fantastic children's cantata Captain Noah and his Floating Zoo composed in a popular style for unison voices, piano, bass and drums.
  • THE MAGIC FLUTE
    THE MAGIC FLUTE
    Multiple Dates
    Mon, 17 Jun
    Newcastle
    17 Jun 2024, 13:00 – 14:00
    Newcastle, Newcastle, UK
    17 Jun 2024, 13:00 – 14:00
    Newcastle, Newcastle, UK
    Neil joins The Royal Opera House's L&P department to sing Papageno for hundreds of children across the Tees Valley.
  • THE LAST BIT OF THE MOON RECORDING
    THE LAST BIT OF THE MOON RECORDING
    Sun, 30 Jun
    Hallé at St Michael's
    30 Jun 2024, 10:00 – 17:00
    Hallé at St Michael's, 36-38 George Leigh St, Ancoats, Manchester M4 5DG, UK
    30 Jun 2024, 10:00 – 17:00
    Hallé at St Michael's, 36-38 George Leigh St, Ancoats, Manchester M4 5DG, UK
    Neil creates the role of Bartley for a new prologue to Vaughan Williams' Riders to the Sea, composed by Michael Betteridge. Today is a recording day with orchestra and The Sunday Boys Choir ahead of a full-production tour in early 2025.
  • THAXTED FESTIVAL RECITAL
    THAXTED FESTIVAL RECITAL
    Sat, 06 Jul
    Thaxted Church
    06 Jul 2024, 19:30 – 20:30
    Thaxted Church, 1 Margaret St, Thaxted, Dunmow CM6 2QN, UK
    06 Jul 2024, 19:30 – 20:30
    Thaxted Church, 1 Margaret St, Thaxted, Dunmow CM6 2QN, UK
    Neil Balfour and Sholto Kynoch perform a programme that includes Faure's Cinq melodies de Venise and Schumann's Frauenliebe und Leben interspersed with songs by Cheryl Frances-Hoad's One Life Stand.
  • SUMMER CONCERT
    SUMMER CONCERT
    Mon, 08 Jul
    The Cairn Hotel
    08 Jul 2024, 19:00 – 22:00
    The Cairn Hotel, Cairn Hotel, Ripon Rd, Harrogate HG1 2JA, UK
    08 Jul 2024, 19:00 – 22:00
    The Cairn Hotel, Cairn Hotel, Ripon Rd, Harrogate HG1 2JA, UK
    Neil joins the Fisher Singers for a sparkling evening of hits from popular Musicals and Operas. Expect a few surprises too!
  • AUTUMN TOUR
    AUTUMN TOUR
    Sat, 28 Sept
    National Tour
    28 Sept 2024, 19:00 – 01 Dec 2024, 22:30
    National Tour
    28 Sept 2024, 19:00 – 01 Dec 2024, 22:30
    National Tour
    Neil joins English Touring Opera as Maslenitsa/Herald in Rimsky Korsakov's The Snow Maiden; cover baritone solo in Masque and baritone soloist in The Wellies.
  • RIDERS TO THE SEA
    RIDERS TO THE SEA
    Multiple Dates
    Mon, 27 Jan
    Location is TBD
    27 Jan 2025, 19:00 – 23:00
    Location is TBD
    27 Jan 2025, 19:00 – 23:00
    Location is TBD
    This masterful miniature is partnered with a specially commissioned choral prelude, The Last Bit of the Moon, bringing hope, light and the modern world to a classic. Combining projection, recorded sound and live performance, this is powerfully direct musical storytelling at its most visceral.
  • UNTOLD LIVES (World Premiere)
    UNTOLD LIVES (World Premiere)
    Wed, 15 Oct
    Holywell Music Room
    15 Oct 2025, 15:00 – 16:00
    Holywell Music Room, Holywell St, Oxford OX1 3SB, UK
    15 Oct 2025, 15:00 – 16:00
    Holywell Music Room, Holywell St, Oxford OX1 3SB, UK
    Neil Balfour has commissioned Cheryl Frances-Hoad to create a song cycle based on letters sent by Indian Soldiers during World War I. This project is funded by Arts Council England and a world premiere.
Cosi Fan Tutte - Royal Northern College of Music 2018

PAST SHOWS

Neil Balfour - La Traviata - Devon Opera 2019

PRESS

Press