Michael Balke recently made his highly successful Asia debut by conducting Lehar’s THE MERRY WIDOW at Tokyo Metropolitan Theater with Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra. Shortly before, he received cheering reviews conducting a new Danish National Opera production of LA BOHEME.
In 2011 the young German conductor Michael Balke was named Principle Resident Conductor at Magdeburg Opera where he has conducted new productions of ELEKTRA, DER ROSENKAVALIER, DON CARLO, LE NOZZE DI FIGARO, IL BARBIERE DI SIVIGLIA, LA CENERENTOLA, MARIA STUARDA, HÄNSEL UND GRETEL, CARMINA BURANA and LE SACRE DU PRINTEMPS. He has also been leading productions of WERTHER, CARMEN, DON GIOVANNI, DIE ZAUBERFLÖTE, LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR and DIE FLEDERMAUS as well as several symphony concerts, such as the 10. Symphony of Shostakovich and Bartoks CONCERTO FOR ORCHESTRA.
Upcoming engagements include UN BALLO IN MASCHERA, DIE TOTE STADT and Verdi’s REQUIEM in Magdeburg. He will debut with a new production of TOSCA at the St. Gallen Theatre, before he will return with MADAME BUTTERFLY to Tokyo Metropolitan Theatre.
Highlights of the recent past include gala concerts with Ludovic Tézier at Opéra national de Montpellier, with Ian Bostridge and the Orchestra Siciliana Palermo, and with Lawrence Brownlee and the Aarhus Symphony Orchestra (Denmark). He led the new production of ROMÉO ET JULIETTE (with the Orchestra I Pomeriggi Musicali Milano) at the Teatro Grande in Brescia, with further performances at the Teatro Sociale in Como, and the Teatro Ponchielli in Cremona as well as the revival of LA TRAVIATA at the Mannheim National Theatre (Achim Freyer production) and conducted HÄNSEL UND GRETEL at the Kassel State Theatre.
Between 2008 and 2012 he was assistant of Riccardo Frizza (e.g. for DON PASQUALE at Maggio Musicale in Florence and CARMEN at the Circuito Lombardo). Also he was invited by Zubin Mehta for the rehearsals of the new production of Verdi’s LA FORZA DEL DESTINO at the Vienna State Opera. He started his career at the Hamburg Chamber Opera in 2004 where he served as Musical Director. Symphonic engagements include “I Concertisti della Fenice” (Chamber Orchestra of the Teatro La Fenice), the Budapest MAV Symphony Orchestra, the Bavarian Chamber Orchestra, Copenhagen Phil, Nancy Symphony Orchestra and the Hamburg Symphony Orchestra. Michael Balke was born in Braunschweig, Germany and studied conducting under Christopher Zimmerman and piano under Frank Weinstock at the Cincinnati Conservatory (USA) where he received a full scholarship. There he worked regularly with the members of the legendary LaSalle Quartet, Peter Oundjian, Menahem Pressler and the Tokyo String Quartet. He continued his studies in Luebeck, Germany with renowned Arrau-student James Tocco.