Michael William Balfe Irlande Michael William Balfe (May 15, 1808 - October 20, 1870), was an Irish composer, best known today for his opera The Bohemian Girl.
Balfe was born in Dublin, where his musical gifts became apparent at an early age. The only instruction he received was from his father, who was a dancing master, and from a musician, C. E. Horn (1786 ? 1840). Between 1814 and 1815 he played the violin for his father's dancing-classes, and at the age of seven composed a polacca. In 1817 he appeared as a violinist in public, and in this year composed a ballad, first called 'Young Fanny' and afterwards, when sung in Paul Pry by Madame Vestris, 'The Lovers' Mistake'. On the death of his father in 1823 he was engaged in the orchestra of Drury Lane, and being in possession of a small but pleasant baritone voice, he chose the career of an operatic singer. An unsuccessful debut was made at Norwich in Carl Maria von Weber's Der Freischütz. In 1825 he was taken to Rome by Count Mazzara, being introduced to Luigi Cherubini on the way. In Italy he wrote his first dramatic work, a ballet, La Perouse. At the close of 1827 he appeared as Figaro in Rossini's The Barber of Seville, at the Italian opera in Paris. (Hide extended text) ... (Read all) Source : Wikipedia