The Hermitage Artist Retreat unveils this year’s Artful Lobster program details with an international opera star as the featured performer mezzo-soprano Carla Dirlikov Canales, Saturday, November 12 from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm

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The Hermitage Artist Retreat unveils this year’s Artful Lobster program details with an international opera star as the featured performer. The date and time for the annual event is Saturday, November 12 from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm. In addition to the lavish lobster and barbeque luncheon on the historic Hermitage campus provided by Michael’s On East, and the unique and compelling live and silent auction items, this year’s lobster celebration will include an appearance by mezzo-soprano Carla Dirlikov Canales, whose voice has been described by Opera Magazine as one that “grabs at the heartstrings with its dramatic force and musicality.” Tickets to the event are $175 for individuals and $250 for patrons. For questions or to reserve a place, visit the website, or call 941-475-2098, ext. 2.

“We are very excited for this year’s Artful Lobster, which has become our kickoff event for the season’s activities,” remarked Bruce E. Rodgers, executive director. “Beth Cannata and her committee added a few surprises to the auction offerings; we’ll have a houseful of artists to introduce; as well as the performance by Carla Dirlikov Canales. Our Artful Lobster performance piece has become a popular addition to our event which is unique to the Hermitage because of our access to some of the best artists who are both creating for and performing on the world’s stages. It’s always a great thrill to introduce these unique talents to the community and this year is no exception to say the least.”

Carla Dirlikov Canales performs all over the world, including Italy, Mexico, China, Chile and of course, the United States. Among her many honors are many firsts; the first singer to be awarded a Sphinx Medal of Excellence, given by Justice Sotomayor in a ceremony and concert at the Supreme Court; the first opera singer named among Foreign Policy’s 100 Leading Global Thinkers (2015); and the first opera singer on the President’s Committee of the Arts and Humanities’ Turnaround Arts initiative promoting arts in public schools. Among her many opera roles, Ms. Canales is a frequent interpreter of Carmen and has sung the title role in 12 countries over 80 times during the last four years.  For her 2015 portrayal of Carmen in Le Tragedie de Carmen last spring, Opera News proclaimed, “Carla Dirlikov, a well-practiced, sexy Carmen, dominated the show.”

Among the other outstanding attractions to this year’s event will be live auction trips, parties and unique jewelry. Special wines will highlight the “wine pull,” with chances to “pull” an extra special bottle for the price of a raffle ticket. Visitors to the event will have a first opportunity to see renderings of interpretive signage being designed by Hermitage fellow Malcolm Robertson which will integrate the Hermitage historic campus with the Palm House, as well as tell the story of this now established and well-known retreat. Funding kicks off at the event with the paddle raise.

“I am so excited to chair this year’s event,” said Beth Cannata. “We hope to introduce many new faces to the Hermitage, as well as wow long-time supporters when they experience the few new touches our committee has added. This event has a great reputation for its food, fun and friend-centric environment. It’s been great to plan and we are all looking forward to being there on November 12th.”

The Hermitage is a not-for-profit artist retreat located at 6660 Manasota Key Road in Englewood, FL. It invites accomplished painters, sculptors, writers, playwrights, poets, composers and other artists from all over the world for residencies on its beachfront historic campus. Artists are asked to contribute two services to the community during their stay and as a result, Hermitage artists touch thousands of Gulf Coast community residents with unique and inspiring programs each year. Hermitage community programs are partially sponsored by Philanthropist Gerri Aaron, the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs and the Woman’s Exchange. In addition, the Hermitage awards and administers the prestigious Greenfield Prize, an annual $30,000 commission for a new work of art, rotating among visual art, music and drama. The Hermitage also partners with the Aspen Music Festival and School to award the annual Hermitage Prize to a composition student during the Festival. For more information about the Artful Lobster or The Hermitage Artist Retreat, call 941-475-2098, ext. 2, or visit the website at


Mezzo-soprano Carla Dirlikov 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 Sotomayor in a ceremony and concert at the Supreme Court of the United States.  In 2015 she became the first opera singer to be names as one of Foreign Policy’s 100 Leading Global Thinkers of 2015.

Ms. Canales is in demand at opera houses and concert venues around the world.  In 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, and returned to China for a series of solo recitals at China’s National Center for the Performing Arts and Guangzhou Opera House, among other venues. Ms Canales made her European concert debut at Italy’s Spoleto Festival, and has been a part of the artist roster of the Glyndebourne Festival.  

At China’s NCPA in Beijing 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 in twelve countries over eighty times over the last four years.  For her 2015 portrayal of Carmen in Le Tragedie de Carmen this spring, Opera News claimed, “Carla Dirlikov, a well-practiced, sexy Carmen, dominated the show”.

Ms Canales began 2016 with a recital appearance at Chile’s acclaimed Teatro del Lago.  She appeared on the opening plenary session of the Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP) conference alongside artists Bill T Jones and Anna Devere Smith, and was also a featured speaker and performer at SphinxCon.  She returns to Opera Roanoke this spring as Flora in La Traviata.  She will make her Alice Tully Hall debut in a work by Mohommed Fairouz as part of the Poetry & the Creative Mind event.  Later in the year, she will reprise the title role in Carmen with the Shanghai Opera.  Future scheduled performances include premiering a work by noted contemporary composer Roberto Sierra with the Orchestra of St Luke’s as well as a recital of Leonard Bernstein music at the Kennedy Center.

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.  In September of 2014 she was featured in the UNAM Anniversary Concert which was nationally televised in Mexico .  This year, she performed on the Hispanic Heritage Awards which is  nationally televised in the United States through PBS, and was a guest artist for Vice President Biden’s Hispanic Heritage Month Reception, and also for the National Endowment for the Art’s 50th Anniversary Celebration.  

Carla Dirlikov Canales is the proud daughter of a Bulgarian father and a Mexican mother. For her advocacy work with underpriviledged youth of 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 join the roster of the President’s Committee for the Arts and the Humanities’ Turnaround Arts initiative, which promotes arts education in public schools.  She was also recently added to the prestigious roster of the Americans for the Arts Artists Committee. and she is a board member of the Artful Learning model, established by Leonard Bernstein. 

Ms Canales  was recently a guest speaker at the Business Innovation Factory Summit as well as at TEDxMidAtlantic in Washington DC.  She has also been a guest speaker and performer with the White House Initiative for Educational Excellence for Hispanics as well as with the Aspen Institute.

In an effort to give voice to issues of identity and culture Ms Canales founded the The Canales Project  in 2016.  

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. 


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