A conversation about men who hit the high notes: countertenors and sopranos.

We’ll explore the influence that gender-defying voices from the past have had on modern pop singers—from Prince and Freddie Mercury to Daniel Caesar and the Bee Gees. Today, Samuel Marino, Bruno de Sà, Maayan Licht, and Cameron Shahbazi are just a few of the new generation of renowned artists whose stratospheric voices have thrilled audiences around the world.

Together with our moderator and panelists, we’ll discuss the unique timbres of these voices, the differences between the natural male soprano and the countertenor, and what these voices tell us about the full range of human expression.

Box Office
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Running Time
About 75 minutes
Style of Music


April 12, 2023 7:00 pm


Michael Maniaci

Michael Maniaci is an extraordinary male soprano who has appeared with the Metropolitan Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, New York City Opera, Teatro La Fenice (Venice), Teatro Liceu (Barcelona), Staatsoper Unter den Linden (Berlin), Royal Danish Opera, LA Philharmonic, Orchestra of St. Luke’s at Carnegie Hall, Apollo’s Fire, Tafelmusik, and the Beijing International Music Festival. A Graduate of the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and  The Juilliard School, Michael won the Houston Grand Opera Competition and Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. He recorded Mozart Arias for Male Soprano with the Boston Baroque Orchestra (TELARC), and appears on DVD in the title role of Meyerbeer’s Il crociato in Egitto with Teatro La Fenice and as Nireno in Giulio Cesare with the Royal Danish Opera, in addition to being featured on documentaries for BBC Channel 4 and the Discovery Channel.

Michael was recently appointed to the role of Senior Philanthropy Officer – Major Gifts, Strategic & Capital Projects for Orlando Ballet following positions specializing in major gifts and development strategy for several performing arts organizations, including the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and Seattle Symphony.

Krisztina Szabó

Hungarian-Canadian, mezzo-soprano Krisztina Szabó is highly sought after in both North America and Europe as an artist of supreme musicianship and stagecraft. She is known for her interpretation of Baroque music as well as her promotion and performance of contemporary Canadian works. 

Ms. Szabó’s career has seen her on all the major opera and concert stages across Canada. She regularly performs with the Canadian Opera Company, Vancouver Opera, Tapestry Opera, Early Music Vancouver, and Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra.

Recent digital projects include Bartók’s Bluebeard’s Castle (Judith) with Canadian Opera Company, Tafelmusik’s The Voice of Vivaldi, Festival of the Sound’s Arias and Antics, Wagner’s Wesendonck Lieder with Vancouver Opera, An Italian Baroque Festive Celebration with Early Music Vancouver; performing in recital for the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts and Behind the Keys with Vancouver Bach Choir, and Tapestry Opera’s S.O.S. Sketch Opera Singers.

Krisztina Szabó is Assistant Professor of Voice and Opera at the University of British Columbia School of Music. 

Darryl Taylor

Countertenor Darryl Taylor’s performances have been noted for their compelling artistry and authority. His international career includes performances of art song, opera, and oratorio, and his repertoire extends from Bach to Britten, and beyond.

Among his operatic credits is the premier of the jazz-opera by Nathan Davis, Just Above My Head, based on the novel by James Baldwin, and lead roles in operas by Mozart, Verdi, Handel, Britten, and Gershwin.

Recent opera highlights include Orfeo in Gluck’s Orfeo ed Eurydice for De Utrechtse Spelen (Holland); the title role in Phillip Glass’s Akhnaten for Long Beach Opera; Dido and Aeneas and Patrick Cassidy’s Dante, both for L.A. Opera; Purcell’s The Fairy Queen with Chicago Opera Theater and Long Beach Opera; and the role of Zeezri in Deon Nielsen Price’s new opera, Ammon and the King in San Francisco.

Taylor won first place at the Alexander International Vocal Competition, culminating in a performance at New York’s Carnegie Hall.

Founder of the African American Art Song Alliance, Taylor has debuted numerous works. His many recordings on Naxos and Albany record labels have received lavish praise, including a Number One Critic’s Choice by American Record Guide for Love Rejoices: Songs of H. Leslie Adams.

A native of Detroit, Michigan, Darryl Taylor holds degrees from the University of Southern California and the University of Michigan. He is much sought after as a lecturer on African-American Art Song.


Matthew White

Matthew White spent his early career as a vocal soloist performing and recording with top-flight opera companies and symphonies around the world. Highlights included appearances at the Glyndebourne Festival, New York City Opera, Boston Early Music Festival, Houston Grand Opera and with the San Francisco Symphony, Toronto Symphony, National Arts Centre Orchestra, Vancouver Symphony, Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, Netherlands Bach Society, Bach Collegium Japan and many more. He then became an administrator and driver of classical music in the Lower Mainland providing strategic oversight and direction as the Executive and Artistic Director of Early Music Vancouver (EMV). From 2012, Matthew played a central part in more than doubling EMV’s budget and administrative capacity as well as in dramatically growing EMV’s audience. EMV now offers one of the most ambitious programs of its type in North America, presenting and producing between 40-50 concerts per year featuring internationally renowned local, regional and guest artists.

Known for his strength in artistic programming, audience development, community leadership and collaboration, White stepped into the position of CEO at the Victoria Symphony in October 2020 as it faced the new reality of COVID 19. He and the administrative team at VS quickly put in place an ambitious “Virtual Season” that kept the orchestra connected with its audience and supporters while in-person concerts were not possible. Since then Matthew has been managing the orchestra’s transition back to a full, in-person concert season. Pending further changes in the course of the pandemic, the 2022-23 Season will be the first full season presented by the Victoria Symphony since 2018-19.