Known for their “sonorous baritone” (Broad Street Review) and “commanding stage presence," (Miami Herald) Philadelphia native Matthew Maisano (they/them) enjoys performing a variety of vocal music from the classical, operatic, musical theater, and popular repertoires. They have sung various solo and ensemble roles both in the Greater Philadelphia area as well as across the country! In April 2024, Matthew is thrilled to return to the Hogfish Festival to sing Escamilla (a drag queen toreador) in an exciting retelling of Bizet’s Carmen entitled, CarmXn! Stay tuned for details!
Most recently, Matthew appeared for their 4th season with Opera Philadelphia singing in the chorus of Verdi’s Simmon Boccanegra as part of the O23 Festival. They were also a guest performer (as their opera singing drag personality, Balena Canto) in Late Night Snacks, "A mixed-plate performance that’s 50% cabaret destination, 50% neighborhood jawn, and 100% good to the last bite" (co-produced by Opera Philadelphia/O23 Festival, The Bearded Ladies Cabaret, and Philly Fringe). In April of this year, Matthew made their solo role debut with the company singing "The Sargent" in Puccini’s La Bohème. In July, Matthew traveled to Leugny, France with Opera-Cation to perform a series of concerts at several local churches and venues throughout the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region of France! Opera-Cation's mission is to foster community and a shared love of music between American singers and the people of rural France. Matthew began the 2023 season by returning to Baltimore Musicales to sing Ravel’s Cinq mélodies populaires grecques for a program entitled, Songs of Solace. They had previously joined the ensemble in February 2022 for Love is in the Air, a Valentine’s Musicale where Matthew sang art songs by Barber, Hahn, Saint-Saëns & Schubert.
As a winner of Montpelier Arts Center 2022/2023 Classical Recital Competition, Matthew presented a program of vocal music by De Falla, Ravel, Respighi, and Vaughan Williams in November 2022 with pianist, Benjamin D'Annibale! In August 2022, Matthew joined Hogfish Festival in Cape Elizabeth, ME as an Artist-in-residence performing as Wood Sprite/Thomas (cover) in the company’s inaugural production of Gluck's L'arbre enchanté . In May 2022 Matthew was a soloist in Lancaster Symphony's Neighborhood Concert Series singing Leporello in scenes from Mozart's Don Giovanni and Schlendrian in scenes from Bach's Coffee Cantata under the baton of guest conductor, Chelsey Gallo.
Additional opera/theater highlights include, the title role in Eugene Onegin (Russian Opera Workshop), Count Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro (Wilmington Concert Opera and Cleveland Institute of Music Opera Theater), Pandolfe in Cendrillon (Miami Music Festival), Senex in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum & Schaunard (cover) in La Bohème (Natchez Festival of Music), Morbio in Strauss' Die schweigsame Frau and Baptista in Kiss Me, Kate! (Pittsburgh Festival Opera), The Strong Man in Sid the Serpent Who Wanted to Sing (Penn Square Opera), Bob in The Old Maid and the Thief and First Stepsister in Martin's The True Story of Cinderella (Opera Tutti!), Melissa in a queer retelling of Handel's Alcina entitled, Alcina REVAMPED (Alter Ego Chamber Opera/Philly Fringe Festival), Dr. Falke in Die Fledermaus, Albert in Werther, and Marco in Gianni Schicchi (Temple University Opera Theater).
Additional concert/recital highlights include bass soloist in Bach’s Magnificat and Mozart’s Coronation Mass (Vox Ama Deus Ensemble), Siméon in L'enfant prodigue, bass soloist in Schubert's Mass in G & Mass in C, Bach's Cantata 140, Mozart's Vesperae solennes de confessore & Charpentier’s Messe de Minuit, (Trinity Church Swarthmore), bass soloist in Haydn's Missa in Angustiis (Fairmount Presbyterian Church), bass soloist in Bach’s Cantata 58, Bruhn’s De Profundis, and Merula’s Credidi (Case Western Reserve University’s Baroque Chamber Ensemble, and baritone soloist (Cleveland Art Song Festival).
Matthew frequently performs in numerous concerts and shows with Opera on Tap: Philadelphia, including a semi-staged concert of Humperdinck's Hansel & Gretel where Matthew appeared as "The Witch!" They've also appeared as a soloist for many seasons with The Rose Tree Pops Orchestra (Media, PA) singing musical theater, American Song Book classics, and even larger classic works like Copland's American Folk Songs for voice and orchestra! You can catch Matthew singing at Fellini Cafe of Media's Opera Night on numerous Mondays every month! For 10 years, Matthew was the bass section leader/soloist at Trinity Church Swarthmore where they gave a number of solo recitals. For a full list of Matthew's performance credit's, please view their résumé here! Matthew received a BM in Vocal Performance from Temple University's Boyer College of Music & Dance and an MM in Vocal Performance from The Cleveland Institute of Music.
Matthew is a co-founder of Prismatic Arts Ensemble, a new chamber ensemble that creates immersive stagings of song literature, featuring new works and the works of lesser known composers. To learn more about Prismatic, please click here!
Matthew has a vibrant and active 5+ year career as drag artist, Balena Canto (Philadelphia's seductive song-wielding siren with a voice snatched for the gods)! Balena has performed extensively throughout the Greater Philadelphia area and loves combining her two loves of drag and opera! To learn more about Balena, please click here!