Personalities | Michael Balfe | High Romantic | Opera

1808–70, Irish

Michael Balfe was an Irish-born composer, singer and violinist and wrote some 29 operas. His debut as a violinist took place when he was only 15. Balfe went on to sing Figaro in Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia in Paris in 1827. Subsequently, he was principle baritone in Palermo, where he made his debut as an opera composer with I rivali di se stessi (‘Their Own Rivals’, 1830). Five years later, he returned to England and launched his career as a composer of English operas. Balfe had a fine talent for charming ballads and his first two operas – The Siege of La Rochelle (1835) and The Maid of Artois (1836), which he wrote for Maria Malibran – were very successful. In 1841, Balfe tried, unsuccessfully, to establish English opera at the Lyceum Theatre in London. Later, though, his The Bohemian Girl (1843) was enthusiastically acclaimed at the Drury Lane Theatre, London. Balfe went on to devote himself to the cause of English national opera.

Introduction | High Romantic | Opera
Personalities | Franz Betz | High Romantic | Opera


An extensive music information resource, bringing together the talents and expertise of a wide range of editors and musicologists, including Stanley Sadie, Charles Wilson, Paul Du Noyer, Tony Byworth, Bob Allen, Howard Mandel, Cliff Douse, William Schafer, John Wilson...


Classical, Rock, Blues, Jazz, Country and more. Flame Tree has been making encyclopaedias and guides about music for over 20 years. Now Flame Tree Pro brings together a huge canon of carefully curated information on genres, styles, artists and instruments. It's a perfect tool for study, and entertaining too, a great companion to our music books.

Rock, A Life Story

Rock, A Life Story

The ultimate story of a life of rock music, from the 1950s to the present day.

David Bowie

David Bowie

Fantastic new, unofficial biography covers his life, music, art and movies, with a sweep of incredible photographs.