Plaque erected in 1912 by London County Council.
“Michael William Balfe (15 May 1808 – 20 October 1870) was an Irish composer, best remembered for his operas, especially The Bohemian Girl.
After a short career as a violinist, Balfe pursued an operatic singing career, while he began to compose. In a career spanning more than 40 years, he composed at least 29 operas, almost 250 songs, several cantatas and other works. He was also a noted conductor, directing Italian Opera at Her Majesty’s Theatre for seven years, among other conducting posts.”
From the website of the National Portrait Gallery:
“Dublin-born musician and composer, Balfe came to London in 1823, where he became a violinist at the oratorios at Drury Lane. Between 1825-6, he studied with Rossini, in Italy, where he became a successful opera singer. On returning to London in 1833, he found singing engagements at the Philharmonic Concerts, and was later appointed conductor of the London Italian Opera in 1845. Balfe’s numerous operas and operettas included popular compositions The Bohemian Girl (1843), Rose of Castille (1857) and Satanella (1858).”