Covered Covered & Performed Scenes Premiere of New Work Concert
Concordia Artist - Concordia Foundation (2019)
Opera North Mentor Scheme - Opera North & RNCM (2016)
Scholarship for Masters Study - Jane Anthony Memorial Award (2016)
Scholarship for Masters Study - South Square Trust Scholar (2016)
Full RNCM Scholarship - Royal Northern College of Music (2015)
One Year Scholarship - SingforPleasure (2013)
Lesley Garrett Opera Class Winner - David Clover Festival of Singing (2017)
1st place French Song & Lied Class - David Clover Festival of Singing (2016)
Frederic Cox Singing Competition - Finalist (2015)
1st place British Composer & Vocal Duet - The Warde-Aldam Cup - Pontefract Singing Festival (2010)
"A principal with authority, command and style. Generous, empathetic artist with an exceptional stage personality . Evident attention to textual detail , musical nuance and interpretive expression . Elegant leading man. Characterisation of depth and insight, displaying a broad span of dramatic Interpretation . An energised visceral performer that provokes excitement." - Stefan Janski, Director of Mananan Opera (2018)
"Neil Balfour possesses an exceptionally beautiful baritone voice … an outstanding soloist. He directly contributed to the production's winning of the YAMAward for Best Opera for Young People 2018. Neil is an entrepreneur, an artist, a leader, an educator and an open heart with whom I hope everyone has the privilege of working with repeatedly." - Omar Sharyar, Artistic Director - Opera Schmopera (2018)
"Neil is without a doubt one of the top singers I've ever worked with. In fact he is a director's dream -- always completely prepared for a role but very flexible and inventive in the rehearsal room, and completely physically and emotionally engaged with both voice and body." - Ruth Mariner, Director - Gestalt Arts (2018)
“His voice was brilliant for the role, with very good clarity and purity as well as very careful projection and diction. At stage level, he was unbeatable, granting realism and quality to the character.” - Francisco Antonia Moya, Musical Director - OFMAN Opera, Madrid (2018)
"Charismatic stage artist , you cannot take your eyes off him. Strong sense of dramatic timing . Evident physical co-ordination . Expressive face and body A creative artist and musician , an exceptional ensemble player . A mime artist in the style of Marcel Marceau with a flair for comedy . His improvisation skills in the context of live theatre keep you on the edge of your seat." - Stefan Janski, Director of Mananan Opera (2017)
"The Bey himself, Mustafa (a devilishly handsome Neil Balfour), flirted insanely with the audience and his compatriots on stage with a mischievous zeal. We should hate this man for his misogeny but love him for his ridiculousness." - Fiona Helleur, Reviewer for the IOM Today (2017)
"Neil's artistry was perfect for the principle baritone role in the premiere of the Mark twain opera Mysterious 44. Intelligent, passionate, flexible, golden-toned singing and impressive acting, and excellent integration with the rest of the cast. A gem of a musician to work with." - Kevin Malone, Opera Composer of Mysterious 44 (2016)
"A late but enforced cast change meant that Neil took on the role of Don Alfonso only three weeks before the first night. This was a very courageous and impressive decision in itself. More impressive still, he went about approaching what would be a hugely daunting - albeit exciting - task for anyone in such a sensible, open, organised way, that he didn’t appear to waver for a moment either in his assessment of the size of the task or his faith and determination and confidence that he would get there. Given that so many other people are involved in a process like this, that to me showed a crucial balance of sensitivity, care and self possession, and these qualities held him in good stead as he continued. Neil presents a unique, clear, entertaining and honest character, free in the moment but disciplined in the structure. I feel enormously appreciative and respectful of that." - Thomas Guthrie - Director, 2016
"Neil Balfour brought this part to riveting life ... Outstanding. The best Don Alfonso I have ever heard!" - Gwenda Meredith, www.list.co.uk
"Neil Balfour excelled as Lord Ellington, giving a convincing performance with considerable stage presence ... He used his attractive voice, smooth with a slight dark edge, to his best advantage." - Michael Cookson, SeenandHeard - International
"Neil took on the role at very short notice... His Alfonso was dramatically alive and compelling... he sang extremely well." - Roger Hamilton, Conductor
“Neil is an intelligent and sensitive performer with an innate ability to adapt to varied styles of repertoire... a natural comic actor - he is as comfortable singing Mozart as he is performing Sondheim." - Garth Bardsley Director of Opera
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 and premieres Nexy Back into the world for English Touring Opera.
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.
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