Balfe, Michael William. Born in 1808. Musical composer. As a boy, showed great musical talent, and at the age of 16, going to London, he was engaged in the Drury Lane orchestra. While there, he attracted the attention of an Italian nobleman, Count Mazzara, who took him to Italy to study music. After singing at Paris in the Italian Opera under Rossini, Balfe returned to Italy and produced several operas in 1830. In 1835 he went to England as a vocalist and composer of opera, and after five years of successful composition, he produced two operas in Paris. In 1843 his most popular work, "The Bohemian Girl," appeared at Drury Lane, to be followed by several other operas before the fertility of Balfe's genius was checked by a fatal attack of bronchitis. Died 1870.