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Artists

Neil Balfour

Bass-baritone


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 Butterflyfor 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 PunchCrocodile (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.​​

Last updated: Aug 2021