The matrix converter (MC) is a direct frequency conversion device with high input power quality and regeneration capability. As a device without energy storage elements, it has higher power density than pulse-width modulation (PWM) inverter drives. However, for the same reason, the ac line side disturbances can degrade its performance and reliability. In this paper, the behavior of the MC drive under abnormal input line voltage conditions has been investigated. A technique to eliminate the input current distortion due to the input voltage unbalance has been developed and its feasibility proven via computer simulations and laboratory experiments. The power line failure behavior has also been investigated and the rapid restarting capability of the MC drive has been demonstrated via laboratory experiments.