Carla Dirlikov Canales to Reprise the Role of Flora in Opera Roanoke’s La Traviata

Mezzo-Soprano Carla Dirlikov Canales
Mezzo-Soprano Carla Dirlikov Canales

Beloved Mezzo-Soprano Carla Dirlikov Canales will play the role of Flora in Opera Roanoke’s production of Verdi’s La Traviata on Friday, April 8th at 7:30 pm and Sunday, April 10th at 3pm to conclude their 40th anniversary season. The production will take place in Shaftman Performance Hall at The Jefferson Center in Roanoke, Virginia.

Canales established herself in the world of opera through her dedication and a little bit of luck. She went through years of schooling to become a trained professional opera singer. She took language very seriously and is fluent in five languages.

“It is important to understand the language so you can understand the character and text more. Knowing so many languages made it possible for me to work in foreign countries. The training is very important.”, she said.

Her luck came when she got one of her first big breaks with this very opera company, when Maestro Steven White first hired her on the spot to play the role of Flora in Opera Roanoke’s 2005 production of Verdi’s La Traviata.

As an actress there is opportunity to repeat roles, and Canales was one of the fortunate ones to have done so with roles such as Flora in La Traviata, Carmen in Carmen, & Maddalena in Rigoletto.

“The more I sink my teeth into a role, the more I can deepen the growth with my character. It’s like wine, it gets better with age!” When asked about how she adapts each production and conceptual direction she replied, “There is always a different conductor, director, and cast and each time, I find more opportunities for myself to grow. I believe in what Scott (Williamson) and Amy (Cofield Williamson) are doing with this production and with this company.”

Canales was recently named one of the world’s top 100 leading global thinkers. Individuals that held the same title in the past as well as present include; President Barack Obama, Pope Francis, Bill Gates, and Lin-Manuel Miranda, who is the creator of the Broadway hit Hamilton. Carla is the first opera singer ever to receive this recognition.

Canales is also the founder, CEO, and the artistic director for her non-profit organization, The Canales Project. “My hope is to create bridges by bringing more interest to the world of the arts to people who don’t know yet much about it, and also to bring issues of identity and culture to a wider global audience.  There’s always a possibility to touch someone through music. The possibilities are tremendous, and where the excitement lies is what is possible now with the use of technology”.

Canales was recently the guest speaker at TEDxMidAtlantic in Washington, D.C. She has also been a performer as well as a guest speaker for the White House Initiative for Educational Excellence for Hispanics.

To purchase tickets to La Traviata please call The Jefferson Center Box Office at (540) 345-2550 or visit in person at 541 Luck Avenue, SW, Roanoke, VA 24016. Their hours are 9am to 5pm, Monday through Friday. To purchase tickets online please visit www.jeffcenter.org/la-traviata. Season ticket savings are also still available through the box office for patrons who attended Opera Roanoke Sweeney Todd in October. A limited number of free student tickets are also available.

Malia Diaz