Armatae face et anguibus: Juditha triumphans devicta Holofernis barbarie (Antonio Vivaldi) Morgan Balfour, soprano
Peter Grunberg, piano
Praised for her “thrilling clarity” (Sydney Morning Herald) and “impressive vocal control and dynamic sensitivity” (San Francisco Classical Voice), Australian soprano Morgan Balfour is quickly garnering attention in both the United States and Australia. The 2021-2022 season saw Ms. Balfour joining the San Francisco Opera Guild’s tour of The Magic Flute where she performed the roles of Pamina and First Lady. This summer, she appeared at the 2022 Carmel Bach Festival as a Virginia Best Adams Fellow and in the fall, she will make her West Bay Opera debut as Annina in La traviata. In 2023, she will join the San Francisco Symphony as the Soprano II soloist for Bach’s Magnificat conducted by Jane Glover, will perform the role of Céphise in Rameau's Pygmalion with the American Bach Soloists, and will join Cantata Collective for their final concert of the season.
With a strong affinity for early music and the concert stage, Ms. Balfour has numerous oratorio and concert credits to her name. She recently covered the Soprano Soloist in Carmina Burana with the San Francisco Symphony, was seen as the Soprano Soloist in UC Berkeley Chamber Chorus’ production of James Whitbourn’s Annalies and was scheduled to perform a recital at the 2020 London Handel Festival (COVID19). Past concert credits include Ms. Balfour appearing as the Soprano Soloist with Madison Bach Musicians in their concert of Haydn and Mozart, Australian Brandenburg Orchestra in their Noël Noël tour, California Bach Society in their productions of Bach’s Magnificat and Zelenka’s Missa Divi Xaverii, American Bach Soloists’ Summer Festival, Canberra Symphony Orchestra’s 2018 Prom’s Concert, Sydney Philharmonia’s 2017 Tudor Portraits Concert, Sydney University Graduate Choir’s production of Mozart’s Requiem, and Brisbane Baroque Festival’s production of Vivaldi Women of the Pieta. She also joined the 2016 Coriole Music Festival and 2015 Port Fairy Spring Music Festival for concert performances as well.
As a Resident Artist with the Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Ms. Balfour spent her 2019-2020 season covering the roles of Blondchen in Die Entführung aus dem Serail and Musetta in La bohème and was scheduled to perform Mrs. Grady in The Shining (COVID19). Other recent operatic credits include Younger Alice in Glory Denied, the titular role in Handel’s Rodelinda, Meleagro in Atalanta, and the Governess in The Turn of the Screw, all with the San Francisco Conservatory of Music; the Voice of Dawn in La rondine with Pocket Opera; and Cephise in Pinchgut Opera’s production of Rameau’s Pigmalion.
Ms. Balfour has numerous experiences and accolades from appearing in the international competition circuit. She was the 2019 Handel Aria Competition First Prize Winner, 2022 Lyndon Woodside Oratorio-Solo Competition Esther Korshin Award Winner, 2021 Colorado Bach Ensemble Second Prize Winner and 2021 Kentucky Bach Audrey Rooney Vocal Competition Encouragement Award Winner. Ms. Balfour was a finalist in the 2022 Grand Rapids Symphony Linn Maxwell Keller Award and the 2020 and 2021 James Toland Vocal Arts Competition, received 2nd Place at the 2020 Grand Junction Symphony Young Artist Competition, is a two-time recipient of the Encouragement Award from the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, and won the Tony Cuevas Award from the Holt Competition, as well as the 2nd Place Winner at the 2018 East Bay Opera League Competition. Internationally, Ms. Balfour was a semi-finalist in the 2021 Normandy International Baroque Competition in Rouen, France. In Australia, she was the recipient of the Australian Opera Awards Committee’s 2016 Sheila Prior Memorial Scholarship for special operatic talent and has been a finalist and prizewinner in the IFAC Australian Singing Competition, Joan Sutherland and Richard Bonynge Bel Canto Award, German-Australian Opera Grant, Sydney Eisteddfod Opera Scholarship, and Joan Carden Award.
Ms. Balfour has extensive training from the United States and her birthplace in Australia. In addition to spending the 2019 season with the Lyric Opera of Kansas City, she is an alumna of the Melba Opera Trust as an Amelia Joscelyne Memorial Scholar, the Lisa Gasteen National Opera Program, and the Hawaii Performing Arts Festival Professional Fellow where she performed the role of Pamina in Die Zauberflöte.
Ms. Balfour holds a Master of Music from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and a Bachelor of Music from the Queensland Conservatorium of Music.