Where we're going, where we've been

After a hectic year, I've finally had the time to curate materials to be added to our re-designed project website.   It's given me an opportunity to reflect on Cuatro Corridos - where we've come and where we are going. 

Cuatro Corridos grew from a conversation that I had with Pablo Gomez in June of 2011.   We spoke about our mutual interest in creating a performance project that spoke to U.S. -Mexican border issues.   At that time, I had little knowledge about human trafficking, and certainly no idea about the extent of the problem.  As Jorge Volpi joined the project and proposed creating a libretto which focused on the issue,  my journey toward awareness began. 

Now, a little over three years later, many things have changed.  It's fair to say that the issue of human trafficking has been in the spotlight repeatedly throughout the past few years.  I would imagine that more and more people have gained a fundamental awareness about the issue.  And that's a very good thing.   But there is an enormous amount of work that needs to be done, both in terms of raising awareness and bringing political and social pressure to bear on the forces that enable human trafficking to exist. 

Through our performances of Cuatro Corridos, I have met some of the people and organizations who do the difficult daily work that can effect change.   We have had the privilege of having representatives from prominent NGOs and state governments, academics, journalists and activists on our forums.   I wanted to share excerpts from those forums and am pleased that to able to do so.   I hope that you will take a moment to explore the recordings;  when I listen to them, I am inspired by what these amazing people and organizations are doing

I am honored that Cuatro Corridos will be presented by the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles at Zipper Hall on August 8.  Our UC San Diego forum participant, Daliah Setareh, is an attorney for LAFLA and we are very pleased to be featured at their gala benefit. 

I am also happy to share some excerpts of Jorge Volpi, our librettist and our four composers Lei Liang, Hilda Paredes, Hebert Vazquez and Arlene Sierra in a panel discussion that coincided with the project's world premiere.   Their thoughtful remarks give an insight into their creative process and the astonishing musical landscape they've created for the four characters of Cuatro Corridos. 

People often ask me if art makes any difference.  The scope of human trafficking is enormous and the situation so incredibly complicated.   One audience member told us that he approached the project with skepticism, wondering if it was just "another tragic story" told by folks whose lives were far, far away from the problem.   I was heartened to hear that he was drawn in - completely convinced by what he saw.  

I'm also pleased to report that Cuatro Corridos was one of 38 opera projects to have been awarded an ArtWorks Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.  Looking to the future, the grant will help to support domestic touring of the project, now in the planning stages.

I want to live in a world in which human trafficking does not exist.  Can art make a difference?  It depends on the difference you allow art to make in your life.   

- Susan Narucki