Mezzo-soprano Carla Dirlikov 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 Sotomayor in a ceremony at the Supreme Court of the United States.

In August of 2014 she debuted the role of Adalgisa in Norma, with Angela Meade in the title role, at the Portland Summer Festival. Her 2014-2015 season featured a concert at the Napa Festival del Sole, where she collaborated with the Sphinx Virtuosi. In fall 2014, she took part in a special concert at the UNAM in Mexico, where she collaborated with Fernando de la Mora, Eugenia Leon, and Lila Downs on a special concert celebrating Mexican repertoire. The concert was televised and recorded, and will be released on Blue-Ray. Dirlikov will travel to South America as a Cultural Envoy to the U.S. State Department to perform and teach in Chile. She returns to Liège to sing Maddalena in Rigoletto with Opéra Royal de Wallonie, and in China she will perform the title role in Carmen with the Qingdao Symphony Orchestra. Dirlikov will also reprise Carmen with Opera Naples next spring.

For Dirlikov’s unflagging advocacy of empowerment through music, the U.S. State Department recently conferred upon her the title of Cultural Envoy, the duties of which include promoting American culture overseas, giving master classes, and teaching music to orphans and poverty-stricken youth. Most recently, she joined the roster of the Americans for the Arts Artists Committee, and was part of the closing plenary of the AFTA 2014 conference in Nashville. In summer 2015, Dirlikov will be a featured artist at the White House Initiative for Educational Excellence for Hispanics' Policy Forum for Music and the Arts.

Dirlikov is in demand at opera houses and concert venues around the world. Recent European engagements include the role of Preziosilla in La forza del destino in performances conducted by Paolo Arrivabeni at Opéra Royal de Wallonie, the same company with whom she performed the title role in Carmen and Princess Eboli in Don Carlo. In 2013, she joined the artist roster of the Glyndebourne Festival and covered the role of the Komponist in Ariadne auf Naxos. She made her European concert debut at Italy’s fabled Spoleto Festival, with Rossini’s Stabat Mater, conducted by Steven Mercurio.

At China’s National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing, Dirlikov triumphed in the role of Giulietta in Francesca Zambello’s 2013 production of Les contes d’Hoffmann, conducted by Stephen Barlow. This success was followed immediately by Beijing performances of the legendary Royal Opera House production of Carmen, in which she sang the title role. A particular favorite in China, Dirlikov returned to that country in the fall of 2013 for a nationwide recital tour under the auspices of the American Cultural Center.

In Mexico, Dirlikov debuted the role of Dalila in Samson et Dalila with the Sinfónica de Yucatán in six staged performances at the Teatro Peón Contreras in Mérida. Over the years, she has sung extensively as a soloist throughout Mexico.

In the United States, she made her Michigan Opera Theater debut as Fenena in Nabucco and returned to that company to sing Maddalena in Rigoletto, a role which she also performed at Grand Rapids Opera and Knoxville Opera. A different Maddalena, that of Linda di Chamounix, was the role with which she made her debut at the Caramoor Festival.

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, Mahler’s Second Symphony with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, Verdi’s Requiem with the New Jersey Master Chorale, Ravel’s “Shéhérazade” with the Delaware Chamber Music Festival, Mendelssohn’s “Elijah” with the Fairfax Choral Society, and Mozart’s “Coronation Mass” with MidAmerica Productions.

Dirlikov 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.

Last Updated: June 9, 2015

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This week on Sinica, Kaiser Kuo and David Moser are delighted to host Alexander Bernstein, son of Leonard Berstein and director of the Bernstein Family Foundation, who is now in China on part of a cultural tour. Accompanied by Alison Friedman of...