Cuatro Corridos - History and Mission

Cuatro Corridos is a chamber opera addressing 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.  Cuatro Corridos represents an unprecedented collaboration between internationally acclaimed Mexican and US-based creative artists.

Led by Grammy Award winning soprano Susan Narucki and noted Mexican author Jorge Volpi, the fully-staged production features original music by composers Hilda Paredes, Arlene Sierra, Lei Liang and Hebert Vázquez. Each composer gives voice to one of the four female characters by presenting one act in the hour-long drama.

Distinguished performers of new music, percussionist Ayano Kataoka/Steven Schick, pianist Aleck Karis, and guitarist Pablo Gomez, accompany Narucki in sharing the compelling stories of four women whose lives are scarred by human trafficking.  The powerful production, conceived by Narucki and artist-activist Karen Guancione uses iconic set elements and original graphic animation projected on a "border wall" that travels with the production.


Art and Activism

The mission of Cuatro Corridos is to spark conversation through art.  It has been Narucki's vision from the outset to raise awareness about the complex problem of human trafficking through satellite events organized in conjunction with performances of the opera.  Forums preceding or following performances of Cuatro Corridos have brought together artists and activists, representatives from NGOs, government and the legal profession, academics and the public, in conversation about this difficult and most critical human rights issue.  Learn about our collaborations, partnerships and forum participants at:

The University of Massachusetts at Amherst

Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles

The University of California at San Diego

The Nasher Sculpture Center and Mosaic Family Services, Dallas TX

The University of New Mexico

Tijuana:  IMAC and the Casa de la Cultura


Nasher Scupture Center,  Dallas TX

Nasher Scupture Center,  Dallas TX

Project Support

Cuatro Corridos has earned major grants from:

Performances/Recording/Broadcast History

Cuatro Corridos had its world premiere at UC San Diego's Conrad Prebys Music Center in May, 2013.  The three sold out performances met with critical acclaim from the Los Angeles Times and San Diego Union Tribune

Through a partnership with IMAC, the opera had its first international performance on September 28, 2013 at the Casa de la Cultura in Tijuana, B.C. 

Cuatro Corridos traveled to Dallas, TX for a performance at the Nasher Sculpture Center on October 4, 2013.  It was hailed as one of Dallas' most significant performance of the year

Cuatro Corridos was the centerpiece of the John Donald Robb Composer's Symposium at the University of New Mexico in April, 2014.  

In August, 2014, Cuatro Corridos  was presented by the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles in a gala benefit at Zipper Hall at the Colburn School of Music.  

The opera was recorded for Bridge Records with Grammy Award winning producer Adam Abeshouse in March, 2015.   The CD recording, which has received the support of the Ditson Fund, is scheduled for release in Winter, 2016.

Cuatro Corridos traveled to Mexico City for three performances at the Theatre de las Artes, CENART in May 2015.  The series of performances marked the second anniversary of the project.  The May 15, 2015 performance was streamed live on CONCULTA and will be rebroadcast in the future.  Cuatro Corridos is the subject of an hour long program on Mexico's Arts and Culture Broadcast Network, Channel 22 which was featured on national broadcast on September 19, 2015. 

Cuatro Corridos had its first East Coast performance on October 4, 2015 at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.  The performance was supported in part from a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.  A free public forum discussing the reality of human trafficking preceded the performance.

Cuatro Corridos will be a special presentation of FIL (Guadalajara International Book Fair) in November, 2015, coinciding with the presentation of librettist Jorge Volpi's novel based on the story of Cuatro Corridos, as well as panels on human rights in Mexico and South America. 

Music has the power to establish contact between people - real, intimate contact that can cause us to see things differently, to move us to action and to negate fear.
— Susan Narucki