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Michael William Balfe

(1808—1870) composer


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(b Dublin, 1808; d Rowney Abbey, Herts., 1870).

Irish composer, violinist, and baritone. Lived for a time in Paris and Berlin and prod. his operas there and in St Petersburg. Sang Figaro in Il barbiere de Siviglia in Paris, 1827, and sang at La Scala with Malibran in 1830s. Sang Papageno in The Magic Flute in Eng. at Drury Lane, 1838. First opera, I rivali di se stessi, was prod. Palermo 1829. He followed this with The Siege of Rochelle (1835), The Maid of Artois (1836), Catherine Grey (1837, the first Eng. Romantic opera without spoken dialogue), and Falstaff (1838), all except the last (Her Majesty's) prod. Drury Lane. His greatest success was The Bohemian Girl in 1843. It contains the songs ‘I dreamt that I dwelt in marble halls’ and ‘When other lips’. Cond. of opera at Her Majesty's, London, 1845–52.

Subjects: Music.


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