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Cuatro Corridos – A Chamber Opera

Based on true events, Cuatro Corridos is a chamber opera addressing one of the critical human rights issues of our time: human trafficking.

The Latest Update

2017 Latin Grammy Nomination and CD reviews

Posted on October 15, 2017 by Susan Narucki

We’re thrilled to announce that our recording of Cuatro Corridos has been nominated for a 2017 Latin Grammy in the category of Best Contemporary Classical Composition, for Hebert Vázquez’ powerful “Azucena”, the first scene of the opera.  Hear an excerpt

Our recording has earned critical acclaim in Gramophone, Musical Opinion, Fanfare, MusicWeb International, SF Classical Voice and Critic’s Choice in Opera News.  Read more

More Updates ▼


Posted on February 10, 2017 by Susan Narucki

Dear friends,

We have had some very positive response to our CD recording of Cuatro Corridos.

  •  “… This is powerful, compelling, excruciatingly dramatic music….The performance seems ideal. Narucki manages the huge vocal and dramatic demands with ease… Her instrumental partners are completely committed and perform brilliantly….This is a work of art that demands engagement…chilling, at moments horrifying, but, yes, rewarding… this one is highly recommended.”             Henry Vogel, Fanfare
  •  “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…..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….Cuatro Corridos is a remarkable achievement. The performance is superb and Bridge’s recording a triumph.” Guy Rickards, Musical Opinion (U.K. )

We will be presenting the opera  several times during the 2017-18 season, at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs in Spring, 2018.  More details to come.

Thank you for your support and good thoughts!




Canal 22 Broadcast

Posted on July 11, 2016 by Susan Narucki

For a limited time, we invite our project followers to view the film of Cuatro Corridos from our Mexico City performances at CENART in May 2015,  broadcast on Canal 22 multiple times since September of 2015. 

Cuatro Corridos slated for broadcast on Mexican national television

Posted on March 18, 2016 by Susan Narucki

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 live performance in Mexico City on May 17, 2015 at CENART performing arts center, Mexico City’s most prestigious center for the performing arts was filmed by Imaginante Productions.

The film of Cuatro Corridos was first broadcast in September 2015, and is being rebroadcast now by popular demand.


Cuatro Corridos is a chamber opera addressing one of the most critical issues of our time: human trafficking. Based on true events, it tells 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.

Led by Grammy Award winning soprano Susan Narucki with libretto by renowned 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.

Virtuoso performers of new music, percussionist Ayano Kataoka, 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 fully staged sixty minute production incorporates video graphics and projections on a “border wall” which travels with the production.

Cuatro Corridos has received support from UC MEXUS, the MAP Fund for the Performing Arts , Yellow Barn, the University of California, the Alice Ditson Fund and the National Endowment for the Arts.  Since its world premiere in  San Diego in 2013, the critically acclaimed opera has been performed in Los Angeles, Albuquerque, Dallas, Tijuana, three performances at the Center for the Arts in Mexico City, where it received sweeping media coverage.  During the 2015-16 season, the opera was performed in Amherst, (Massachusetts)  San Diego and at the 2015 FIL/Guadalajara Book Fair, the largest Spanish language book fair in the world, to an audience of one thousand people.  

Cuatro Corridos was the subject of an hour long television broadcast on Mexico’s cultural channel (Channel 22) on September 19, 2015, and will be rebroadcast by popular demand on March 19, 2016. 

The project’s unique combination of art and advocacy has created remarkable partnerships between cultural, civic and academic institutions.

Cuatro Corridos was recorded for Bridge Records by Grammy Award winning producer Adam Abeshouse in San Diego, California and is scheduled for commercial release in February of  2016.

an unflinching look, from four cultural and musical points of view, at a sex trafficking scandal uncovered 13 years ago in the San Diego strawberry fields…”Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times Critics Pick

It is like no other opera I’ve ever heard.” –Carolina A Miranda,  Los Angeles Times

Please visit our website to learn more.

Project Media

“Dalia” Part Two of Cuatro Corridos

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The second of the four corridos is the story of Dalia, wife of one of the Salazar Brothers. Once trafficked herself, Dalia has spent years helping them in their trafficking operation. She is being held by the police and asked to tell her story. She says:

“I’ll go to hell, I have no doubt
with Judas and all the devils –
Those skinny fillies that
You and your men saved today –
I was one of those girls. ”

Sierra references the relentless sound of horses hooves barreling down on Dalia’s corrupt soul; she cannot justify her actions.

Lei Liang – “Rose” Part Three, Cuatro Corridos

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Rose, a Mexican-American policewoman, reads a statement to the press about the capture and arrest of the Salazar Juarez brothers and Dalia, wife of one of the men, who trafficked young women across the Mexican border to serve as prostitutes for migrant workers in the strawberry fields Rose talks about the women she and her fellow officers liberated:

“We are currently questioning them,
Half-naked, beaten, hungry.
Subjected to every outrage
By the Salazar Juarez
By their fathers and their brothers
Who should have protected them.”

Hebert Vazquez – Azucena – Part One Cuatro Corridos

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Cuatro Corridos opens with the story of Azucena, a young woman who has been trafficked across the Mexican border to serve as a prostitute for migrant workers in the strawberry fields north of San Diego. In this excerpt, she says they took her:

“to the godforsaken promised land,
to the god damned American dream.
One and another and another,
till my body reeked of spit,
of semen, of disenchantment.

And then, at the end of the day,
they loaded us into the trucks,
and they tied us up and we slept.”

Start and End Dates



San Diego, California

4 updates
Last update on October 15, 2017

Project Created By

San Diego, California
For over three decades, American soprano Susan Narucki has forged a unique path; her dedication to the music of our time has led to award winning recordings, critically acclaimed performances with musicians of the first rank and close collaborations with generations of composers.  Since joining the faculty at the University of California at San Diego…

In Collaboration With

Pelham, New York
Amherst, Massachusetts
San Diego, California
Record Label
New Rochelle, New York


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