The Boston Musical Intelligencer recently credited bass-baritone Matthew Burns with “a rare combination of comic timing, musical ability and stellar acting.” Mr. Burns was seen on opera stages across the country in the 2017-2018 season, including the Center for Contemporary Opera and Los Angeles Opera in new works by Gordon Getty, a house debut at Michigan Opera Theatre in his role debut as Dr. Bartolo in Le nozze di Figaro, a return to Virginia Opera as Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and debut with Lyric Opera of Kansas City in one of his signature roles: Dr. Bartolo in Michael Shell’s colorful and imaginative production of Il barbiere di Siviglia, which he has performed to great acclaim at Virginia Opera and Opera Omaha. Of his performance with Virginia Opera, the Washington Post said, “The evening’s real strengths proved to be […] Matthew Burns as Dr. Bartolo, who in this production, and thanks to Burns’ strong performance, became the comic focus.” The 2018-2019 season includes Suplice in La fille du regiment with Opera Carolina, Dulcamara in L’elisir d’amore with Virginia Opera, and Dansker in Billy Budd with Central City Opera.
A master-interpreter of comedic roles, Mr. Burns is highly sought-after as Leporello in Don Giovanni, which he has performed with Utah Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, Austin Lyric Opera, Opera Memphis, Opera Cleveland, and Opera Omaha. He is also well-known for his performances of Don Basilio in Il barbiere di Siviglia (Dayton Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Sarasota Opera) and Figaro in Le nozze di Figaro (Virginia Opera, Opera Grand Rapids).
Frequently reengaged by companies around the country, Mr. Burns is often seen with Opera Theatre of St. Louis (Rambaldo in La rondine, Otec in Smetana’s The Kiss, Pish-Tush in The Mikado, Lord Gualtiero Valton in I puritani, and Titta in Martín y Soler’s Una cosa rara), Palm Beach Opera (Alidoro in La Cenerentola, Angelotti in Tosca), Virginia Opera (The Poet in Glass’ Orphée and Pallante in Agrippina), Utah Opera (George in Of Mice and Men, Don Alonso in Così fan tutte, and Leporello in Don Giovanni), and Opera Southwest (Don Geronio in Il turco in Italia, the title role in Gianni Schicchi, and Taddeo in L’italiana in Algeri). Other opera roles include Raimondo in Lucia di Lammermoor (Dayton Opera), Sparafucile in Rigoletto (Crested Butte Music Festival), Kuno in Der Freischütz (Macau International Music Festival), Falstaff in The Merry Wives of Windsor (Fargo Moorehead Opera), Don Giovanni (Arizona Opera), Papageno in Die Zauberflöte (Opera Coeur d’Alene), Collatinus in The Rape of Lucretia (Toledo Opera), Pirate King in The Pirates of Penzance (Kentucky Opera), as well as roles in La bohème: Colline with Boston Lyric Opera and Opera Birmingham and Schaunard with New Orleans Opera. Mr. Burns made his début with New York City Opera as Masetto in Don Giovanni, and subsequently returned to the company as Agrippa in Antony and Cleopatra, Colline in La bohème, Zuniga in Carmen, Angelotti in Tosca, and Junius in The Rape of Lucretia. In addition, as a member of the Juilliard Opera Center he performed Blitch in Floyd’s Susannah and created the villainous role of William de Champeaux in Stephen Paulus’ Heloise and Abelard.
A sought-after concert artist, Burns’ orchestral engagements include his Carnegie Hall début singing Händel’s Messiah, which he has performed across the country, Mozart’s Coronation Mass with the Atlanta Symphony, Stravinsky’s Pulcinella with the Brooklyn Philharmonic Orchestra, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with Mobile Symphony, Albany Symphony Orchestra, and the Hong Kong Sinfonietta, Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast with the New Choral Society, Grandpa Moss in The Tender Land with the Charleston Symphony, Bach’s B Minor Mass with the Pensacola Choral Society, Mozart’s Coronation Mass and Haydn’s Missa in Angustiis with New York’s New Choral Society, and Rossini’s Stabat Mater with the Dayton Philharmonic. Mr. Burns is a two-time recipient of the Richard F. Gold Career Grant for Singers. He is featured on the commercial recordings of Die Gezeichneten from Los Angeles Opera, the American Symphony Orchestra’s recording of Haggadah shel pessach, and Florentine Opera’s live recording of Carlisle Floyd’s Wuthering Heights.