March 26, 2017
WHEN JORGE VOLPI, the librettist of Cuatro Corridos, received a commission from soprano Susan Narucki, an esteemed champion of new music who now teaches at the University of California at San Diego, he knew he wanted to write about human trafficking, a subject that had tormented him for years. Volpi’s libretto consists of one monologue for each of four characters, and he enlisted four different composers to set each. Reflecting the bi-national nature of the project, two of the composers are Mexican, and the other two are from the U.S.
In the first monologue, with music by Hebert Vázquez, we hear from Azucena, a prostitute. The piece starts as a Mexican folk ballad, a simple waltz tune on the guitar, with an overlay of creatively dissonant piano. After two stanzas, however, it turns ominous and distorted. “Off you go, daughter,” Azucena recalls her father saying. The music is still rhythmic, but syncopated, jagged and much more discordant. It’s like warped calypso music, mirroring the horrible life into which the young woman is about to be forced. There’s a return to the more comfortable rhythm and harmony of the beginning, but then it turns slow, shard-like and menacing with rapidly oscillating guitar figures, bowed marimba and insinuating upper register piano figures. After a Bartókian frenzy for piano and percussion, the cheery song accompaniment returns in E major, and it’s devastating.
In the second monologue, with music by Arlene Sierra, we hear from Dalia, a former prostitute who is now a trafficker herself. This movement doesn’t bother, like the first one does, with familiar harmonies and rhythms. Sierra makes calculatedly spare use of the instruments, emphasizing bleakness and pessimism. Dalia reacts with shame and bitterness to what her life has become. The movement dies away with quiet despair.
The third section, by Lei Liang, is the only one in English. Now we hear from a policewoman announcing that the Salazar brothers, ringleaders of the real-life Tenancingo trafficking network, have been arrested (this actually happened in 2001). The first stanza is spoken to the stern rhythmic accompaniment of a drum; the character doesn’t sing until the end of the second stanza, on the phrase “a gang of criminal pimps.” This fragmented and frenzied monologue seems inspired by Chinese opera in its use of percussion and swooping vocals; it gives the policewoman a blazing characterization.
In the final monologue, with music by Hilda Paredes, a woman (Violeta) sings about her friend Iris, who did not survive the ordeal. The musical language is economical, anguished and almost anarchic; then it builds to savage pounding and thrashing, giving the impression that societal norms have disintegrated. The syllabically intoned final line (“I wither from sadness / a flower without dew”) is heartbreaking.
Narucki is a Ninja warrior in her ability to traverse this unrelentingly difficult (both musically and emotionally) hour-long work with such immersive passion and intensity. All four composers make brilliantly imaginative use of the instrumental forces, and the astoundingly virtuosic players—Pablo Gómez on guitar, Aleck Karis on piano and Ayano Kataoka on percussion—are vital to the success of the performance. This piece is bracingly fresh, continuously fascinating and deeply disturbing; somehow, though, you emerge with a sense of optimism that, in the proper hands, ghastly human tragedies can result in great art.
— Joshua Rosenblum
January 29, 2017
...Cuatro Corridos (“Four Ballads”, 2012-3) is a very different proposition, though its tragic bearing is coupled with a high seriousness of purpose in exposing a terrible wrong. The four scenes of this viscerally gripping chamber opera, scored for just four performers to Jorge Vilpi’s no-holds-barred libretto, are by four different composers—split equally between Mexico and the US, male and female—and relate stages in the exposure of an horrific human trafficking ring in northern Mexico. Each scene is in effect a monologue centred on a particular character in the sorry tale. Azucena, by Hebert Vasquez, is one of the trafficked women whose journey into abuse takes the form of the Mexican ballad form, the corrido. Vasquez’s use of the folk idiom is entirely different in technique to Holst’s use of folk idiom Dalia is the matriarchal pedlar caught in the panic of imminent arrest by British-resident Arlene Sierra’s subtle score, combining raw vocal terror with an at times euphonious accompaniment the furious pace of which emulates the criminal’s racing heartbeat. Rose (by Lei Liang) is a police officer almost imprisoned in the press conference relating the details of the ring’s breaking. Hilda Paredes’ concluding La Tierra del Miel tells the story of the murdered iris, but through the voice of another victim, Violeta. The soprano Susan Narucki, who commissioned the project for the University of California at San Diego, commands as the various women in an operatic tour-de-force, but credit must go too to her more-than-accompanists: guitarist Pablo Gomez, pianist Aleck Karis and percussionist Ayano Kataoka, whose contributions are just as individually and collectively vital as that of the four musicians in what seems, with hindsight, the progenitor work of Cuatro Corridos: Henze’s El Cimarron which also dealt with a difficult subject, the endurance of and escape from slavery. Cuatro Corridos is a remarkable achievement. The performance is superb and Bridge’s recording a triumph. "
- Guy Rickards
January 12, 2017
"...Clearly, Cuatro Corridos is not for the faint of heart. This is powerful, compelling, excruciatingly dramatic music. Although each composer has his or her own voice, the fact that they share both the subject and the instrumentation manages to give the work a strong artistic unity... Cuatro Corridos is music that demands your full attention, .... the work has a surprisingly strong overall shape.
The first, Herbert Vázquez’s Azucena, begins with music that clearly is rooted in the folk music of Mexico... Vazquez’s vocal writing is particularly effective and powerful. Dalia is next, by Arlene Sierra, and is the most starkly dramatic scene in some ways... inner torment, guilt, and pain is searingly reflected in Sierra’s music. Rose’s monologue covers a huge range..Liang’s music is unbearably searing, making wide use of the colors available to him in the percussion instruments and writing a jagged vocal line that conveys the bitterness and frustration in the text. Last is Violetta, who tells a story of both herself and a murdered friend, Iris. This is the most horrible of all the stories, the immediacy of its impact made conveyed by both the words and by Hilda Paredes’s music.
The performance seems ideal. Narucki manages the huge vocal and dramatic demands with ease, displaying an ability to sing softly and at full throttle without ever losing tonal body, and an equal ability to invest what she is singing with meaning. Her instrumental partners are completely committed and perform brilliantly.
This is a work of art that demands engagement, requires that you give it 100% of your intellectual and emotional attention. If you do, I believe you might find it as rewarding as I did—chilling, at moments horrifying, but, yes, rewarding. It is clearly not music for everyone. But for those with an adventurous soul, open to various strands of music being written today, this one is highly recommended."
- Henry Fogel, Fanfare
READ THE ENTIRE REVIEW
November 17, 2016
"If classical music and classically trained artists are relevant in the contemporary canon, it is because of projects like Cuatro Corridos (Four Songs). While opinion makers argue about the issue of relevancy, artists like American soprano Susan Narucki and her collaborators are making it happen."
Lou Fancher, SF Classical Voice
November 16, 2016
Cuatro Corridos Released on Bridge Records
The world premiere recording of the remarkable chamber opera, set to a libretto by Mexican novelist Jorge Volpi, and commissioned and performed by American soprano Susan Narucki has been released on Bridge Records. In his program note, librettist Volpi writes that "the stories told in the opera help us to hear and see precisely what we prefer to ignore and pass over in silence".
The recording of Cuatro Corridos was supported in part through generous grants from the Alice M. Ditson Fund, NewMusicUSA, and the University of Calfornia at San Diego. It features music by Hebert Vázquez, Arlene Sierra, Lei Liang and Hilda Paredes with performances by Aleck Karis (piano), Ayano Kataoka (percussion) and Pablo Gomez (guitar).
August 16, 2016
Cuatro Corridos broadcast on CANAL 22 International August 20
On August 20 2016, CANAL 22 International will broadcast Imaginante Productions film of Cuatro Corridos on international affiliate stations, including in the United States. The hour-long broadcast will take place on at 16:30 Central Time/14:30 Pacific Time. Cuatro Corridos was performed at the Theatre de las Artes, CENART, Mexico City in May, 2015; the hour long film is a full presentation of the last performance of three performances. This is the fourth broadcast of Cuatro Corridos on Canal 22 since its debut in September 2015.
June 22, 2016
Cuatro Corridos CD Release on Bridge Records Slated for Fall 2016
Bridge Records, one of the finest American independent classical recording labels, has announced its release list for Fall of 2016, includingthe world premiere recording of CUATRO CORRIDOS, produced by Grammy Award winningproducer Adam Abeshouse. The recording of the opera, supported in part by NewMusicUSA and the Alice M. Ditson Fund, takes it place alongside world premiere recordings by some of the world's leading musicians, all to be released before the close of the year.
March 18 2016
Cuatro Corridos national re-broadcast on Mexico's CANAL 22
On Saturday, March 19, 2016 at 4 p.m. C.S.T., Cuatro Corridos, will be re-broadcast nationally on Canal 22, Mexico's national arts and culture broadcast station.
The film was of a live performance that we gave in Mexico City on May 17, 2015 at CENART performing arts center, Mexico City's most prestigious center for the performing arts.
The film was first broadcast last September, and is being rebroadcast now by popular demand.
February 1, 2016
Cuatro Corridos earns award from NewMusicUSA
Cuatro Corridos has been awarded a grant from NewMusic USA, the national service organization devoted to the music of our time. The grant will aid in the completion of the forthcoming CD recording on Bridge Records to be released in early summer 2016.
January 14, 2016
The chamber opera addressing human trafficking made a lasting impression
Amanda Caniglia, San Diego Magazine
The sight and sound of the chair as she dragged it across the stage made me cringe. When I headed last night to the opera Cuatro Corridos on campus at the Conrad Prebys Concert Hall, I didn’t know what to expect. The only operas I had ever seen were Aida and Madame Butterfly. And rock operas are my favorite, Jesus Christ Super Star, Elton John’s Aida, and yes, Phantom. Melodic, catchy, powerful. Music that you would want to download and listen to again and again while driving, cleaning the house, or daydreaming about a lover. Cuatro Corridos was anything but catchy and melodic, with its trio pounding and plucking away the cacophonic scores. What it was, however, was powerful. Unnerving and disturbingly powerful.
The sight of the chair scraping against the stage mixed with the chords the pianist played to mimic the movement of the protagonist got under my skin and made me want to scream. Think fingernails on a chalkboard. Times 10. But maybe that’s just the reaction Cuatro Corridos is trying to provoke? Repugnance and disgust for what happened in the lives of these innocent victims of human trafficking. I noticed I was uncomfortable the entire performance and that the music pushed me to places I didn’t want to go. But the subject matter was an uncomfortable one and the way the libretto unfolded on the screen, it was as if the music and the unveiling of the story verse by verse kept us moving forward, unwillingly at times. And then there were moments when you knew the ending but remained intrigued. Fascination with the abomination? Perhaps.
Cuatro Corridos paints four perspectives of women involved in the human trafficking that went on between the small village of Tenancingo and the U.S.–Mexico border. A young victim, a female member of the Salazar Juárez brothers’ kidnapping ring, a Chicano policewoman in San Diego, and another young woman forced to work in the “Fields of Love.”
This opera is definitely an experience that strikes a harsh chord in your gut. The music, the singing and the visuals projected on the screen all played integral roles in the telling of the stories. Unlike your usual opera, the three musicians were on stage and with a solo performer the audience was able to change their focus between the three. They could move from the pianist, guitarist, and percussionist to the soprano center stage, to the images and libretto on the screen stage left. Back and forth, letting the music and images take them on the journey. In an opera, we usually don’t focus on the musicians themselves. This chamber opera gave us the opportunity to do just that. At a symphony or concert, when on stage, a musicians performance is perceived as passionate yet graceful. The pianist last night, standing to hit high notes or pluck the strings of the piano from his baby grand, played with passion but broke from the norm. The guitarist created such odd sounds cradling his guitar while the percussionist switched neurotically from one instrument to the other. Their awkward movement added to the element of uncomfortability, mimicking the tone of the opera. At times it didn’t make sense. Yet the weaving of the three—sound, song and visuals—together had such a powerful impact. Part of me wanted to stand and run from the ugly truth. Another part of me was too intrigued to stop listening.
Is my interpretation of this production completely off? Perhaps. But art is subjective and this was my experience with the opera. I would have given anything to read the minds of the others in the audience. Were they as uncomfortable? What questions or reactions were swimming through their minds? Were they shifting in their seat, uneasy, unsettled, wanting the music to stop? It will be interesting to read about other people’s reactions. Art is meant to push and challenge us, to provoke conversation, to leave a lasting impression. Cuatro Corridos did just that.
This month is human trafficking month. Let’s not turn a blind eye. Let’s discuss.
All too often, a new opera gets a single production and is never heard from again.
“Cuatro Corridos,” a chamber opera addressing human trafficking, has received more than a dozen performances around the world since its development and premiere at UC San Diego in 2013. It’s now returning to UCSD for a production at 7 p.m. Jan. 13 at the Conrad Prebys Music Center.
“Human trafficking is a global issue; during the past year instances of international and domestic trafficking continue to come to light. Yet, there is a growing awareness – a shared context for understanding the issue and the first step toward effecting meaningful change,” said soprano Susan Narucki, the opera’s only singer and the artistic director of the project, in a statement. “I am pleased that ‘Cuatro Corridos’ continues to be a part of that change.”
Based on a libretto by Jorge Volpi, the work’s four parts (each telling the story of a different female character) are composed by four different composers: Lei Liang, Hilda Paredes, Arlene Sierra, and Hebert Vázquez. The music is performed by Narucki and pianist Aleck Karis, guitarist Pablo Gomez, and percussionist Ayano Kataoka.
It’s been presented in Los Angeles, Dallas, Albuquerque, N.M., Amherst, Mass., Tijuana, Mexico City, and Guadalajara, Mexico, among other cities, often accompanied by a panel discussion on the issue. But it has special resonance in the San Diego/Tijuana area.
“Young women are sold and exploited by mafias to serve as prostitutes for migrant workers in Southern California,” said Volpi in a statement. “In 2001 the authorities dismantled the network of the Salazar-Juárez brothers who for years kidnapped Mexican women and forced them to work as prostitutes in the ‘Fields of Love’ in the strawberry farms around San Diego.”
The project has been supported by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, UC MEXUS, The MAP Fund for the Performing Arts/Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, UC San Diego Department of Music and Division of Arts and Humanities, and the Alice M. Ditson Fund for Recorded Music, which will fund an upcoming recording. - James Chute
Cuatro Corridos - A special event at FIL
Approximately one thousand people attended the November 30, 2015 performance of Cuatro Corridos at the Teatro Diana in Guadalajara. Approximately two hundred people remained after the performance for a talkback session with Jorge Volpi, Susan Narucki and Pablo Gomez. The topics ranged from discussion about the production and its artistic impact to speculation on the role that art can play in dealing with the most complex societal issues.
The Guadalajara International Book Fair is the most important book fair in the Spanish speaking world and is second only to the Frankfurt International Book Fair in its size and scope. Cuatro Corridos was one of several special performing arts events presented by the conference.
Internationally renowned writer Jorge Volpi presented his newest work, a full length novel based on his libretto of Cuatro Corridos. In addition, the conference held an International Symposium on Border Security and Human Rights as one of its activities.
Press coverage was extensive and includes:
El Periodico (Mexico)
El Universal (Mexico)
El Diario NTR (Mexico)
La Jornada Jalisco (Mexico)
Cuatro Corridos will be performed at the Guadalajara International Book Fair/Feria Internacional del Libro de Guadalajara on November 30, 2015 at 9 p.m. in the Teatro Diana, one of Guadalajara's premiere cultural performing arts venues.
The Guadalajara International Book Fair is the most important book fair in the Spanish speaking world and is second only to the Frankfurt International Book Fair in its size and scope.
Internationally renowned writer Jorge Volpi will be presenting his newest work, a full length novel based on his libretto of Cuatro Corridos. In addition, the conference will hold an International Symposium on Border Security and Human Rights as one of its activities.
The Guadalajara performance is the twelfth performance of Cuatro Corridos since its premiere in May of 2013, and its third tour to Mexico.
The UMASS performance of Cuatro Corridos on October 4, 2015 was supported by an ARTWORKS grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Department of Music at UMASS Amherst.
The eleventh performance of the critically acclaimed chamber opera was preceded by a panel discussion, The Reality of Human Trafficking. Lauren McCarthy, UMASS Amherst Assistant Professor of Legal Studies and author of the recent book Trafficking Justice, served as moderator. Panelists included Julie A. Dahlstrom, Clinical Legal Fellow at Boston University and Quinn Kepes, Program Director at Verité, an organization dedicated to fair labor practices worldwide, and Dan Johnson from Freedom Cafe, a student run cafe that supports anti-trafficking efforts from proceeds of its sales. The 2 p.m. panel discussion was free and open to the public.
Cuatro Corridos broadcast on CANAL 22 (Mexico)
Ópera de cámara, en cuatro escenas con libreto de Jorge Volpi, sobre el tráfico de mujeres, que comienza su recorrido en el poblado de Tenancingo, en Tlaxcala, hasta llegar a los “Campos del Amor”, de California, EEUU.
Proyecto binacional, aclamado por la prensa estadounidense y la crítica especializada. Dirige e interpreta la reconocida soprano estadounidense Susan Narucki.
Broadcast on 19 September, 2015 at 4:00 p.m. on CANAL 22, Program Escenarios.
Following the successful series of performances at CENART, Mexico City in May, 2015, Cuatro Corridos was featured in the July Issue of Mexico's Siglio Nuevo Magazine. The six page article written by Saul Rodriguez is an in-depth look at the opera and the myriad contributions by the remarkable group of people who brought it to life. Download article
Cuatro Corridos at University of Massachusetts at Amherst - Public Forum & Performance on Sunday, October 4, 2015
Eleventh performance of the critically acclaimed forum will be preceded by public forum discussing the reality of human trafficking, led by Dr. Lauren McCarthy.
Cuatro Corridos, the critically acclaimed chamber opera, will be presented in Bowker Auditorium at UMASS Amherst for one performance only on October 4, 2015 at 4 p.m.
The opera will be preceded at 2 p.m. by a panel discussion on the reality of human trafficking led by Lauren McCarthy, UMass Amherst Assistant Professor of Legal Studies. Panelists include Julie A. Dahlstrom Clinical Legal Fellow and head of the Human Trafficking Clinic at Boston University and representatives from Verité, an organization dedicated to fair labor practices worldwide. The panel discussion is also in Bowker Auditorium and is free and open to the public.
The UMASS performance of Cuatro Corridos is supported by an ARTWORKS grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Department of Music at UMass Amherst.
For tickets and information: 413.545.2511 or fineartscenter.com/musicanddance
Cuatro Corridos in Mexico City
Associated Press May 15, 2015
La ópera “Cuatro Corridos” presenta los horrores que viven las víctimas de la trata de personas en la frontera entre México y Estados Unidos.
Con un libreto del destacado escritor mexicano Jorge Volpi, la obra presenta las historias de cuatro mujeres cuyas vidas se ven marcadas por el tráfico de personas: dos víctimas, una policía y una víctima convertida en traficante.Las historias fueron tomadas de casos reales y son narradas por medio de monólogos compuestos como corridos, un género musical mexicano de narrativas populares.
La producción, concebida por la soprano estadounidense Susan Narucki y la artista y activista Karen Guancione, incluye una “pared fronteriza” sobre la que se proyectan textos y animaciones para ilustrar los corridos interpretados por Narucki. La soprano ganadora del Grammy señaló que el objetivo de la puesta en escena, que se presentará en el Centro Nacional de las Artes de la Ciudad de México del 15 al 17 de mayo, es que ayude a visibilizar esta problemática.
“El tráfico de personas no es sólo un problema estadounidense o mexicano, es un problema en todo el mundo, y esperamos que este proyecto cree una mayor conciencia sobre él, no sólo la trata de mujeres, sino de menores de edad” en todo el planeta, dijo Narucki. En la ópera las mujeres son traficadas desde la ciudad de Tenancingo, en el estado mexicano de Tlaxcala, a las plantaciones de fresa en California. Está dividida en cuatro movimientos, uno para cada mujer, creados por el compositor chino Lei Lang, la estadounidense Arlene Sierra, la mexicana Hilda Paredes y el compositor uruguayo Herbert Vázquez, quien radica en México.
“Cada una de esas mujeres tiene una historia muy diferente y cada movimiento fue escrito por un compositor distinto, con un estilo único, así que cada uno de los movimientos es diferente en términos de estilo”, dijo el pianista estadounidense Aleck Karis, quien junto a la percusionista japonesa Ayano Kataoka y el guitarrista mexicano Pablo Gómez interpretan la música de la ópera, estrenada en 2013 en el Conrad Prebys Music Center de la Universidad de California, San Diego con el mismo elenco.
May 15, 2015
Watch the video broadcast
Con un libreto del escritor mexicano Jorge Volpi llega a México, "Cuatro corridos", una ópera de cámara inspirada en el tráfico de mujeres que comienza su recorrido en el poblado de Tenancingo, en Tlaxcala, hasta llegar a los “Campos del Amor”, cerca de las plantaciones de fresas de San Diego, California.
Esta es resultado de un proyecto binacional, aclamado por la prensa estadounidense y la crítica especializada, que dirige e interpreta la reconocida soprano estadounidense Susan Narucki.
Fuerte, dramática y real, es la ópera “Cuatro corridos”, del escritor Jorge Volpi, quien incursiona como libretista con un tema que atañe a México y Estados Unidos, la trata de personas.
El espectáculo iniciará mañana una breve temporada en el Teatro de las Artes del Centro Nacional de las Artes (Cenart), donde hoy se realizó un ensayo general.
Pablo Gómez, uno de los guitarristas del montaje, explicó que se trata de un proyecto binacional integrado por cuatro monólogos escritos a manera de corridos con música de los compositores Lei Liang, Hilda Paredes, Arlene Sierra y Hebert Vásquez.
“La intención es llevar a escena una obra dramática sobre un tema actual, y ese sentido, la ópera resulta un vehículo fantástico”, dijo el músico.
Agregó que el montaje está dividido en cuatro diferentes escenas, interpretadas por la soprano estadounidense Susan Narucki, el pianista estadounidense Aleck Karis, la percusionista japonesa Ayano Kataoka y el guitarrista mexicano Pablo Gómez, quien también es productor del montaje.
“Con esta obra buscamos hacer conciencia sobre la trata de personas, que el espectador tenga, independientemente de la historia trágica, una experiencia artística a la que se suma la música”, indicó.
La primera intención de Volpi fue escribir la historia como un guión de cine, el resultado fue la película "Las elegidas", dirigida por David Pablos y que representará a México en el Festival de Cine de Cannes.
“Cuatro Corridos” se estrenó en mayo de 2013 en el Conrad Prebys Experimental Theater de la Universidad de California, San Diego, cuyo departamento de música produjo el montaje
El Financiero MX May 15 2015
Este fin de semana no te puedes perder, en el Teatro de las Artes, una nueva ópera mexicana que se enmarca en el discurso del narcotráfico y los feminicidios.
El más reciente capítulo de la ópera mexicana se cuece al olor de la delincuencia organizada y la violencia en el país: los feminicidios, la trata de personas y el narcotráfico comienzan a trazar un nuevo discurso en la historia de la lírica, al que se suma Jorge Volpi con su primera aportación al género.
En Cuatro corridos -comisionada por la Universidad de San Diego como un proyecto binacional-, el escritor mexicano hilvana cuatro monólogos femeninos en torno a la ruta del tráfico de mujeres que inicia en Tenancingo, Tlaxcala, donde –dice- existe la leyenda de que desde tiempos prehispánicos se preparaba a las jovencitas para fungir como prostitutas. El periplo continúa por Tijuana, hasta llegar a los campos del amor, cerca de San Diego, California.
Escrito parcialmente en verso, el libreto presenta a cuatro mujeres: dos víctimas, una más que termina por unirse a los criminales, y una policía, cuyas líneas están en inglés. “Una de las mujeres muere asesinada en este proceso y su voz aparece en náhuatl, en resonancia con la leyenda”, explica Volpi, quien comenta que su historia original sirvió de base a David Pablos para escribir el guión de Las elegidas, que se exhibe el 18 de junio en el Festival de Cannes.
Con partitura de los compositores estadounidenses Lei Liang y Arlene Sierra, y los mexicanos Hilda Paredes y Hebert Vázquez, la pieza para tres instrumentos fue estrenada en San Diego. Se presenta por primera vez en la Ciudad de México hoy, mañana y el domingo, en el Teatro de las Artes del Cenart, bajo la dirección de Susan Narucki.
México.- Fuerte, dramática y real, es la ópera “Cuatro corridos”, del escritor Jorge Volpi, quien incursiona como libretista con un tema que atañe a México y Estados Unidos, latrata de personas.
El espectáculo iniciará mañana una breve temporada en el Teatro de las Artes del Centro Nacional de las Artes (Cenart), donde hoy se realizó un ensayo general.
Pablo Gómez, uno de los guitarristas del montaje, explicó que se trata de un proyecto binacional integrado por cuatro monólogos escritos a manera de corridos con música de los compositores Lei Liang, Hilda Paredes, Arlene Sierra y Hebert Vásquez.
“La intención es llevar a escena una obra dramática sobre un tema actual, y ese sentido, la ópera resulta un vehículo fantástico”, dijo el músico. Agregó que el montaje está dividido en cuatro diferentes escenas, interpretadas por la soprano estadounidense Susan Narucki, el pianista estadounidense Aleck Karis, la percusionista japonesa Ayano Kataoka y el guitarrista mexicano Pablo Gómez, quien también es productor del montaje. “Con esta obra buscamos hacer conciencia sobre la trata de personas, que el espectador tenga, independientemente de la historia trágica, una experiencia artística a la que se suma la música”, indicó.
La primera intención de Volpi fue escribir la historia como un guión de cine, el resultado fue la película “Las elegidas”, dirigida por David Pablos y que representará a México en el Festival de Cine de Cannes. “Cuatro Corridos” se estrenó en mayo de 2013 en el Conrad Prebys Experimental Theater de la Universidad de Calfornia, San Diego, cuyo departamento de música produjo el montaje
May 6, 2015
El Economistaa Historias dramáticas y transfronterizas
Sobre la tradición de Tenancingo, Tlaxcala: educar y vender a las hijas para la prostitución.
Luego de hacer un recuento del tráfico de personas y la trata de blancas, problema que comparten en más de un aspecto México y Estados Unidos, Jorge Volpi escribió Cuatro corridos, guión que pronto se estrenará en cine, ya debutó como exitosa ópera de cámara y en breve saldrá en forma de novela.
El escritor y actual director del Festival Internacional Cervantino anunció que el estreno de la ópera se dio en Estados Unidos, mientras que en México estará en temporada en el Centro Nacional de las Artes (Cenart) del 15 al 17 de mayo.
El texto de Cuatro corridos, explicó Volpi, aborda el tráfico de mujeres entre México y Estados Unidos, y tiene como primera intención retratar uno de los temas más graves de violaciones a los derechos humanos que comparten ambos países, dijo el autor y adaptador para las tres versiones.
Enfatizó que la obra está inspirada en el tráfico de mujeres que inicia su largo recorrido en el poblado de Tenancingo, en Tlaxcala, hasta llegar al centro de los Campos del Amor, cerca de las plantaciones de fresas de San Diego, California.
Al frente del proyecto, que se estrenó en mayo del 2013 en el Conrad Prebys Experimental Theater de la Universidad de California, San Diego, está la soprano estadounidense Susan Narucki. “La ópera está compuesta para que se cuenten cuatro puntos de vista a partir de la historia de cuatro mujeres: dos víctimas, una mujer que fue víctima y luego se convierte en traficante, y una mujer policía chicana”, indicó. Cada mujer narra su versión personal del tema mediante cuatro monólogos escritos a manera de corridos, cuya música fue creada por Lei Liang, Hilda Paredes, Arlene Sierra y Hebert Vásquez.
Volpi refirió que desde tiempos prehispánicos “el pueblo de Tenancingo, entonces señorío independiente, se distinguió por una extraña y oscura tradición: educar a las niñas para que fueran prostitutas que luego serían vendidas o entregadas a los enemigos”.
“Desde pequeñas eran seleccionadas y educadas con ese solo propósito; paradójicamente, siglos después, esa pavorosa tradición continúa. Sólo que ahora son los padres quienes eligen a sus hijas para engrosar las filas de la prostitución”.
Cuatro corridos fue hecha para ser interpretada por un trío de instrumentos que incluye piano, que tocará Aleck Karis; percusiones a cargo de Ayano Kataoka, y la guitarra de Pablo Gómez, también productor de esta obra.
La ópera Cuatro corridos se presentará el viernes 15 (20:00), sábado 16 (19:00) y domingo 17 (18:00 horas) en el Teatro de las Artes del Cenart.
Cuatro Corridos featured in Opera (China)
Cuatro Corridos was the subject of an extensive feature article in the journal Opera, China's only publication devoted solely to criticism and discussion of Western Opera. Entitled "On the Opera Cuatro Corridos and the Tragedy of the American Underclass" the article was written by two of China's leading musicologists and is an extensive look at the project and the collaboration. To download the complete article
February 20, 2015
Cuatro Corridos will be presented in the Teatro de las Artes, Mexico City for three performances May 15, 16 &17, 2015. One of Mexico City's premiere venues, the 600 seat theater is housed within the Centro Nacional de las Artes (CENART) . The May 2015 series of performances will be the second international presentations of Cuatro Corridos (the first international performance was given in the Casa de la Cultura, Tijuana B.C. in September, 2013. This series of performances will also mark the second anniversary of the project's premiere and bring the total number of performances to ten. In addition to the Tijuana performance, Cuatro Corridos has been performed in San Diego, Albuquerque, Dallas and Los Angeles.
February 5, 2015
Cuatro Corridos earns recording grant from Ditson Fund
We are pleased to announce that Cuatro Corridos has earned a grant from the Alice M. Ditson Fund to support our forthcoming recording on Bridge Records. Long considered one of the finest independent recording labels in the United States, Bridge has earned critical praise and numerous awards throughout its history. Grammy Award winning producer Adam Abeshouse will lead the recording. The recording will be the first commercially available release of the complete opera, which includes music by Lei Liang, Hilda Paredes, Arlene Sierra and Hebert Vazquez with libretto by Jorge Volpi.
August 8, 2014
Cuatro Corridos presented by Legal Aid Foundation Los Angeles
The non-profit organization, Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles will present Cuatro Corridos on August 8, 2014 at 7:30 p.m at the Colburn School's Zipper Hall in downtown Los Angeles. The gala benefit will include the performance of the critically acclaimed opera and a post performance reception.
Celebrating its 85th anniversary, The Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles (LAFLA) is one of the oldest and largest nonprofit, public interest law firms in the USA. It serves more than one million poor and low-income people in the greater Los Angeles area and has worked tirelessly on behalf of victims of human trafficking. LAFLA’s Executive Director Silvia R. Argueta says of the event, “We feel that Cuatro Corridos is a beautiful, engaging, and innovative way for our organization to draw attention to this critical issue.”
Cuatro Corridos had its first performance at the Conrad Prebys Music Center at the University of California, San Diego in May, 2013, with subsequent performances in Tijuana, Dallas, and Albuquerque. The innovative project seeks to heighten public awareness about human trafficking by offering public forums in conjunction with performances. Cuatro Corridos has been the recipient of support from the MAP Fund for the Performing Arts/Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, UC MEXUS, and most recently, by the National Endowment for the Arts.
April 17, 2014
Cuatro Corridos receives NEA ARTWORKS Grant
SAN DIEGO, CA — National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Acting Chairman Joan Shigekawa announced today that Cuatro Corridos Chamber Opera, which was developed and premiered at University of California, San Diego, is one of 36 opera projects nationwide to receive an NEA Art Works grant. Cuatro Corridos is recommended for a grant to support an upcoming East Coast tour of Boston, New York and Washington D.C.
Cuatro Corridos addresses one of the most critical human rights issues of our time: human trafficking. Based on true events, it tells the story of women trapped in a cycle of prostitution and slavery in and around the San Diego/Tijuana border region and represents an unprecedented collaboration between internationally acclaimed Mexican and US-based creative artists.
NEA Acting Chairman Shigekawa said, "The NEA is pleased to announce that the Cuatro Corridos chamber opera project is recommended for an NEA Art Works grant. These NEA-supported projects will not only have a positive impact on local economies, but will also provide opportunities for people of all ages to participate in the arts, help our communities to become more vibrant, and support our nation'sartists as they contribute to our cultural landscape."
UCSD professor and Cuatro Corridos artistic director, Susan Narucki says of receiving the NEA grant,“I am honored that our project has been selected to receive support from the NEA. Our goal is to bring the project to new audiences and tell the stories of these women whose voices need to be heard. We believe that the music of our time can be a significant force in raising awareness. Receiving an ArtWorks grant tells me we are the on right track."
Art Works grants support the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts, and enhancement of the livability of communities through the arts.
The NEA received 1,515 eligible applications under the Art Works category, requesting more than $76 million in funding. Of those applications, 886 are recommended for grants for a total of $25.8 million. For a complete listing of projects recommended for Art Works grant support, please visit the NEA website at arts.gov.
April 7, 2014
Cuatro Corridos at John Donald Robb Composers' Symposium, University of New Mexico
The centerpiece of the 2014 John Donald Robb Composers’ Symposium will be an exciting new multi-media chamber opera that brings important social and political issues to the stage. The symposium will take place from April 5-10 and will feature concerts every evening, complemented by a daytime schedule of workshops, panel discussions and masterclasses. All events on the University of New Mexico campus are free.
An unprecedented collaboration between internationally acclaimed Mexican and United States-based creative artists, Cuatro Corridos is based on true events and tells the story of women trapped in a cycle of prostitution and slavery across the U.S.-Mexico border. The opera will be performed at 7:30 p.m. April 7 at the South Broadway Cultural Center, with a pre-performance panel on human trafficking.
October 4, 2013
Cuatro Corridos opens 2013-14 Soundings Series at Nasher Sculpture CenterDallas, Texas
Cuatro Corridos was performed at Nasher Sculpture Center's critically acclaimed series Soundings: New Music at the Nasher in Dallas. Soprano Susan Narucki, pianist Aleck Karis, guitarist Pablo Gomez and percussionist Ayano Kataoka performed. A public forum on human trafficking featuring Bill Bernstein and Tasha McGhie of Mosaic Family Services followed the performance.
September 28, 2013
Cuatro Corridos partners with IMAC for first international performance at Casa de la Cultura, Tijuana B.C.
Cuatro Corridos formed a unique bi-national partnership with IMAC (the Municipal Institute for Art and Culture) in Tijuana to host a free performance on September 28, 2013 in the historic Casa de la Cultura Theater. The performance was preceded by a Spanish language forum on human trafficking with Alma Tucker and Manolo Guillén from the International Network of Hearts, Yetzira Shandiel Alonso from Grupo Apoyo, and Sara Amelia Espinosa Islas from the Universidad Iberoamericana de Tijuana.
September 28, 2013
Cultural Excursion to the First International Performance of Cuatro Corridos in Tijuana
Cuatro Corridos partnered with Turista Libre, a modern tour service providing cultural day trips throughout Northern Baja, to create an enriching excursion for those from points north who wanted to attend the performance and experience the new Tijuana.
The tour included a brief tour of the downtown “pasajes” described by the New York Times as “Tijuana’s true new cultural nexus,”, attendance of the chamber opera performance and post performance reception.
Tijuana is alive with an organic cultural vibrancy; from individual efforts such as Miguel Buenrostro’s attempts to reactivate Tijuana’s beautiful abandoned spaces, to community based projects like Opera en la Calle or the grassroots rejuvenation of some of the city's deserted tourist shopping corridors.
May 8, 10 and 11, 2013
Cuatro Corridos World Premiere at UC San Diego
The world premiere of Cuatro Corridos at the Conrad Prebys Music Center's Experimental Theater at the University of California, San Diego. The fully-staged, one-hour production featured UCSD Department of Music faculty soprano Susan Narucki, pianist Aleck Karis, percussionist Steven Schick, and guitarist Pablo Gomez.
May 9, 2013
Cuatro Corridos' Forums on Human Trafficking at UC San Diego
As part of the Cuatro Corridos chamber opera project, two free public events were held May 9th, 2013, at the Conrad Prebys Experimental Theater. An 11 a.m. panel discussion that featured Jorge Volpi and all four composers that focused on the development of the work and its place in their larger artistic concerns.
A second forum at 2 p.m. included Mr. Volpi and experts on human trafficking in the San Diego/Tijuana border region including: Elizabeth Aguilera, reporter from San Diego Union Tribune, Coleen Lassegard, Caring Residents of Carlsbad/La Posada Homeless Shelter, Daliah Setareh, Senior Attorney at Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles and Dr. Jay Silverman, Professor of Medicine and Global Public Health at UCSD.
March 23 - 30, 2013 Putney, Vermont
Cuatro Corridos Yellow Barn Artist Residency
Cuatro Corridos' project members gathered for a week-long residency at Yellow Barn in Putney, Vermont which allowed them to focus intensely on the musical preparation of Cuatro Corridos in advance of its world premiere in San Diego in May, 2013.
Soprano Susan Narucki, pianist Aleck Karis, guitarist Pablo Gomez, percussionist Ayano Kataoka, librettist Jorge Volpi, and composers Hilda Paredes, Arlene Sierra, Lei Liang and Hebert Vázquez participated in this residency which was supportedby the University of California Institute for Mexico and the United States UC MEXUS as well as the University of California and Yellow Barn.
The Cuatro Corridos Yellow Barn Artist Residency culminated with a performance of excerpts from the chamber opera and a panel discussion of the project focusing on the collaborative process and the role of artists in creating public awareness regarding broader social issues. The performance features soprano Susan Narucki, pianist Aleck Karis, guitarist Pablo Gomez and percussionist Ayano Kataoka. Librettist Jorge Volpi and composers Hilda Paredes, Arlene Sierra, Lei Liang and Hebert Vázquez joined in the discussion. The performance took place at Next Stage, Putney, Vermont.
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