Violetta – Praised by the New York Times for her “lovely, rich tone,” soprano, Amy Cofield Williamson has performed to critical acclaim across the U.S. and in Italy, France, Croatia, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, Austria, England, Santo Domingo, Taiwan and Guam. Highly regarded for her “technical facility,” her “beauty of interpretation” and an “arresting presence,” her operatic roles have included Elcia (cover) in Rossini’s Moses in Egypt at New York City Opera, Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni with Nevada Opera, Lucia di Lammermoor and Micaela with Opera Roanoke, Violetta with Annapolis Chamber Orchestra and Chorale, a role that marked her debut at Houston Grand Opera where she covered Renee Fleming’s Traviata, a return to HGO for the role of Berta to Joyce DiDonato’s Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Mimi, with Pro Cantus Lyric Opera (TX), Cunegonde and Susannah with Fort Worth Opera, Musetta and Pamina with Knoxville Opera, Gilda with Wildwood Opera, Gilda, Norina and Violetta with Lyric Opera San Antonio, Konstanze and Violetta with Teatro Lirico D’Europa, Musetta with American Opera Theater, Mimi with Opera Lenawee (MI)and Frasquita with Fort Wayne Philharmonic and Greenville Symphony Orchestra.
Amy’s busy concert schedule has included performances of Orff’s Carmina Burana with Virginia Symphony, Einhorn’s Voices of Light, Haydn’s Creation and Handel’s Messiah with Annapolis Chamber Orchestra and Chorale, Ravel’s Sheherazade with Norfolk Chamber Consort, Mendelssohn’s Elijah and St. Paul Oratorio, Haydn’s The Seasons, Bach’s St. John Passion, Handel’s Judas Maccabaeus and Beethoven’s Mass in C with Southern Nevada Musical Arts Society and in works from Mozart’s Requiem and Mass in C Minor, to Handel’s Messiah and Brahms’ Requiem with Garden State Philharmonic and Fort Wayne Philharmonic. In addition Amy has appeared with Opera Camerata of Washington, Norfolk Chamber Consort, Virginia Arts Festival, Festival Chamber Music in recital at Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall and with The Masterwork Chorus (NJ) in Handel’s Messiah at Carnegie Hall.
Recent engagements included the role of Cleopatra in Handel’s Giulio Cesare with Opera Roanoke, Rosalinda in Die Fledermaus with Greensboro Light Opera at the Eastern Music Festival, Handel’s Messiah with Roanoke Symphony Orchestra, Orff’s Carmina Burana with Roanoke College, Brahms’ Requiem with the U.S. Naval Academy, and a recital tour in Japan including a concert at Yamaha Hall in Tokyo. Upcoming engagements include recitals with Asbury Sacred Arts, and The Prizery (VA), a return to Southern Nevada for Mozart’s Mass in C minor, Mozart’s Requiem with Trinity Ecumenical Parish (VA), Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Hodie with Symphonicity (Va Beach Symphony) and the role of Violetta in Opera Roanoke’s production of Verdi’s La Traviata.
Flora – Carla Dirlikov Canales is an award-winning mezzo-soprano who has become known worldwide not only for her on-stage achievements as an opera singer as well as for her work as a cultural entrepreneur and envoy, speaker and writer. Ms. Canales has been praised by Opera Magazine for possessing a voice that “grabs the heartstrings with its dramatic force and musicality.” In 2014, she became the first singer ever to win the prestigious Sphinx Medal of Excellence, an honor bestowed upon her by Justice Sonia Sotomayor in a ceremony and concert at the Supreme Court of the United States. In 2015, she also became the first opera singer to be named by Foreign Policy Magazine to its prestigious annual listing of the year’s 100 Leading Global Thinkers for her work using music to bridge cultural barriers. Ms. Canales is in demand at opera houses and concert venues around the world. During 2015, she reprised the role of Maddalena in Rigoletto with Leo Nucci at the Opéra Royal de Wallonie, the same company with whom she performed the title role in Carmen, Preziosilla in La Forza del Destino at and Princess Eboli in Don Carlo. She debuted Berlioz’s Les Nuits d’Ete with the Orquesta Sinfonica de Yucatan in Mexico.Ms. Canales made her European concert debut at Italy’s Spoleto Festival, and has been featured as part of the artist roster of the Glyndebourne Festival. At China’s NCPA Ms. Canales sang the role of Giulietta in Les Contes d’Hoffmann as well as the title role in the legendary Royal Opera House production of Carmen.
A frequent interpreter of Carmen, Ms. Canales has sung the title role over eighty times in twelve countries during the last four years. The 2015-2016 season includes appearances as Flora in La Traviata with New Orleans Opera as well as Opera Roanoke, and a recital appearance at Chile’s acclaimed Teatro del Lago. She will appear as a featured guest artist with SphinxCon and APAP (Association of Performing Arts Presenters). Later in the year, she will reprise the title role in Carmen with the Shanghai Opera. As a concert soloist she has sung Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony at Avery Fisher Hall with the National Chorale, Handel’s Messiah at Carnegie Hall and at the Kennedy Center. She also was a featured performer in a presentation of the Messiah by the Street Symphony in Los Angeles that was cited by Alec Ross in The New Yorker as one of the ten most notable performances and recordings of 2015.
Carla Dirlikov Canales is the proud daughter of a Bulgarian father and a Mexican mother. For her advocacy work with under-privileged youth for over a decade, the U.S. State Department recently conferred upon her the title of Cultural Envoy. Ms. Canales is the first opera singer to be named to the roster of the President’s Committee for the Arts and the Humanities’ Turnaround Arts initiative (2015), which promotes arts education in public schools. Ms Canales has also been a guest speaker and performer with the White House Initiative for Educational Excellence for Hispanics, the Aspen Institute, POLITICO, Harvard University, the Hispanic Heritage Awards on PBS, The National Endowment’s 50 Anniversary Celebration, Vice President Biden’s Hispanic Hertige Month Celebration and TEDx MidAtlantic.
In an effort to build upon her work creating and improving international connections through the arts and culture, Ms Canales founded the The Canales Project in 2015. The Canales Project is a not-for-profit organization specializing in issues of identity and culture through music and conversatoin.
Ms. Canales is an alumna of the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia, where she studied with Bill Schuman. She received a Bachelor of Music degree in Music from the University of Michigan, where she studied with Shirley Verrett. She continued her studies at the Conservatoire National de Paris, and completed her Master of Music in Opera Performance degree at McGill University in Montreal. She is fluent in Spanish, French, Italian and English.
Alfredo – Dinyar Vania, tenor, has recently emerged as one of the country’s most exciting young tenors. With a voice that combines both power and beauty, he has earned critical acclaim portraying several of the most beloved roles in opera. His engagements for 2015-16 include singing Cavaradossi in Tosca with Utah Opera and Opera Grand Rapids, a return to Opera Omaha making his role debut as Dick Johnson in La Fanciulla del West , and singing Rodolfo in La Bohème with Pensacola Opera and Opera Birmingham.
In 2014, he joined Opera Omaha for their production of Rigoletto as the Duke, made his Opera Colorado debut as Lieutenant Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly, and was welcomed to the roster of the Metropolitan Opera for its production of La Bohème. In the summer, he made his debut with The Glimmerglass Festival as Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly.
His engagements in the 2013-14 season included his debuts with Minnesota Opera as Des Grieux in Puccini’s Manon Lescaut, with Lyric Opera Baltimore as Cavaradossi in Tosca, and Virginia Opera as Don Jose in Carmen.
He made his Carnegie Hall debut as soloist in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, which he has also sung with the Harrisburg Symphony. Other concert appearances include singing as soloist with the Naples Philharmonic in a gala holiday series, and with the Jacksonville Symphony in an all-Verdi evening.
In 2015, Mr. Vania was honored as a distinguished alumni by Onondaga Community College, naming him as one their ‘Alumni Faces’ for his professional achievements and contributions to the college and community. He has also been awarded Syracuse Opera’s ‘Artist of the Year’ award, First Place in the Giulio Gari Vocal Competition, Second Prize in the Licia Albanese-Puccini Competition and was a semi-finalist in Placido Domingo’s Operalia in Madrid, Spain.
Giorgio Germont – Baritone Levi Hernandez is gaining momentum as a sought after artist on the operatic stage. Levi was last seen with Opera Roanoke as Dandini in La cenerentola. Most recently he returned to the Metropolitan opera to cover the title role in The Death of Klinghoffer and Dancaïre in Carmen, sang the title role in Gianni Schicchi with Intermountain Opera, and Figaro in Il barbiere di Siviglia and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony in his debut with Pine Mountain Music Festival. The 2015-2016 season sees debut with Arizona Opera as Alvaro in Florencia en el Amazonas, and returns to Opera Omaha as Sonora in La fanciulla del West, and Opera Theatre of St. Louis as the Music Master in Ariadne auf Naxos. Additionally, he will join the Choral Society of El Paso for Handel’s Messiah. Recently, the El Paso native made his Houston Grand Opera debut as Sharpless in Madama Butterfly next to Ana Maria Martinez and Joseph Calleja. He also joined the rosters of San Francisco Opera and the Metropolitan Opera in their productions of Puccini’s Il trittico and Fanciulla del West. Other recent highlights include engagements with the Metropolitan Opera for Die Frau ohne Schatten and Carmen, Opera Omaha as Don Magnifico in La cenerentola, Opera Theatre of St. Louis as Papageno, the Philadelphia Ballet for Carmina Burana, and Intermountain Opera Bozeman for Germont in La traviata. Nashville Opera for Sharpless in Madama Butterfly, Opera Memphis as Marcello in La bohème, the El Paso Symphony for Handel’s Messiah, and the role of Guglielmo in Puccini’s Le Villi with the Spoleto Festival, USA. Levi made his European debut with Komische Oper Berlin’s Pique Dame in the role of Tomski, and has been featured with the Los Angeles Opera Don Lucas in Luisa Fernanda, Sciarrone in Tosca, and Crébillon in La rondine. An alumnus of the Lyric Opera center for American Artists, Mr. Hernandez made his Lyric Opera main stage debut during the 2004-05 season. During his tenure at Lyric he was also seen as Marullo in Rigoletto, Sciarrone in Tosca, the Innkeeper in Manon Lescaut and the Bartender in the world premiere of William Bolcom’s A Wedding. A 2002 Metropolitan Opera National Council Awards finalist, his many awards include a Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation grant as well as being a 2002 OPERALIA competition finalist.
Annina – Tatiana MacMartin, soprano, is originally from Québec, Canada. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music as well as a Master of Arts degree in Education with a vocal/choral concentration from Virginia Tech. She most recently performed the role of Eileen in Wonderful Town and won the award for Outstanding Supporting Actress from the Thalian Association.
While participating as a young artist in La Scuola Italia per Cantati Lirici in Urbania, Italy, she was given the opportunity to perform such roles as Susanna (Le Nozze di Figaro), Rosina (Il Barbiere di Siviglia), Zerlina (Don Giovanni), and Meg (Falstaff), in various concerts around the region. She has also performed in the Wilmington Opera House Theatre Company production of Evita. During her time in Opera Roanoke’s Apprentice Artist Program, she has performed in productions such as Carmen, Der fliegende Holländer, and Sweeney Todd. Tatiana is currently a chorus teacher for Roanoke City Public Schools.
Gastone – Jason Nichols, tenor, is currently pursuing his M.M. in Vocal performance at Appalachian State University, where he studies under John Fowler. A winner of the 2016 South Carolina District Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, he is a versatile singer with ample experience onstage and in the studio. Jason was last seen on the Opera Roanoke stage where he “shined” as Tobias Ragg. Jason recently finished a run with Appalachian Opera Theatre as Vasek in Smetana’s “The Bartered Bride”, and will be performing the role of Pinkerton in Puccini’s “Madama Butterfly” this June with Opera Experience Southeast.
Marchese – Theodore (Tadd) Sipes, baritone, has enjoyed a varied carrier as a professional musician in church music, academia and performance. He has been a music director for churches in Kansas and Rochester, NY and has taught in Michigan, Idaho and Virginia. Sipes has sung a wide variety of music as a soloist, including concert works, oratorio, opera, musical theatre and works from the “great American songbook.” Most recently, Sipes has built a studio of students whose interest in singing ranges from professional ambitions to personal pleasure.
Barone Douphol – Robb Zahm, baritone, is a graduate of the Washington & Lee School of Law, class of 2013. He now works as a Loan Officer at CornerStone Bank in Lexington. His local performance credits include multiple productions at W&L, including Cabaret; Bye, Bye, Birdie!; Comedy of Errors; Arsenic & Old Lace; and Spamalot. Robb has also worked with the Hollins University Theatre Department as a guest artist in their recent production of Little Women. Robb is making his Opera Roanoke debut in this production of La Traviata.
Zach Helms, tenor, hails from the small town of Riner, Virginia. He will graduate in May with his B.A in Music, with an emphasis on Music Business, from Radford University. While at Radford, Zach was heavily involved in their Opera Workshop, was a member of the professional music fraternity Mu Phi Epsilon, and was involved in a number of productions in the RU Theatre Department. Some of his favorite roles he’s performed include Shrek in Shrek the Musical and Ernst in Cabaret. Zach will sing the role of Giuseppe in Opera Roanoke’s production of La Traviata.
Dottore Grenvil – Jack Chandler, baritone, is from Arlington, Virginia. He is a junior at Virginia Tech where he is studying vocal performance with Ariana Wyatt. Jack was in the company of Opera Roanoke’s Cinderella, and he covered the role of the King in Opera Roanoke and Virginia Tech’s collaborative production of The Three Feathers, a world premiere opera by Lori Laitman. He was a part of A Weekend in the Country, featuring the Opera Roanoke Apprentice Artists, and he participated in the Druid City Opera Workshop at the University of Alabama. Most recently, he played Jonas Fogg in Opera Roanoke’s Sweeney Todd. Jack has had opportunities to perform with multiple ensembles at school, including Virginia Tech’s Chamber Choir and Opera Workshop.
Commissionario – Hayden Keefer, bass, is from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He is a junior at Virginia Tech where he is studying vocal performance with Ariana Wyatt. Hayden is excited to join the Opera Roanoke Apprentice Artist Program this year. He played the role of Beetle in Virginia Tech’s Theater production of The Burial at Thebes. Last fall, he performed in the chorus in Opera Roanoke’s and Virginia Tech’s collaborative effort The Three Feathers, under the musical direction of Scott Williamson. For his education, Hayden is also pursuing music technology. Along with these studies, he actively participates in the Virginia Tech Chamber Singers as well as their Opera Workshop program.