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Freedom Cafe Volunteer Newsletter (September 27th, 2015)
September 28, 2015

Freedom Café’s Partnering with an event featuring the Cuatro Corridos Chamber Opera


Cuatro Corridos Chamber Opera Addresses the Realities of Human Trafficking

The stories of four women trapped in a cycle of prostitution and slavery are sung by Grammy award winning soprano Susan Narucki in the hour-long opera Cuatro Corridos. The powerful work, to be performed on Sunday, October 4 at 4pm in Bowker Auditorium, is based on true events in the San Diego/Tijuana border region and addresses one of the most critical human rights issues of our time: human trafficking. The text was written by internationally-known Mexican novelist Jorge Volpi and depicts: a female member of the Salazar Juárez brothers’ kidnapping ring (Dalia); a Chicano policewoman in San Diego, who discovers the ring and serves as narrator (Rose); and two victims, young women from Tlaxcala forced to work for months in the Fields of Love (Azucena and Violeta).

The opera has received praise from critics and audiences. The Los Angeles Times described it as “modern and meaningful,” “shockingly true to the material,” and “an opera not to be missed.” It represents an unprecedented collaboration between internationally acclaimed Mexican and US-based creative artists.

Librettist, Jorge Volpi, explains the basis for the opera: “Young women are sold and exploited by mafias to serve as prostitutes for illegal migrant workers in southern California. 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” near the strawberry farms around San Diego.”

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. Soprano and artistic director, Narucki says of the project, “I believe 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.”

Three distinguished performers of new music, pianist Aleck Karis, guitarist Pablo Gomez, and UMass Amherst Department of Music and Dance Professor of Percussion, Ayano Kataoka, accompany Narucki. Professor Kataoka has been involved with the opera since its inception and was the catalyst behind bringing the production to Amherst.

Cuatro Corridos is also an ongoing project to raise awareness about human trafficking through creative educational platforms and events organized in partnership with human rights organizations, academics, public sector experts, activists and journalists. A free panel discussion, The Reality of Human Trafficking, will begin at 2 p.m. on the day of the performance in Bowker Auditorium led by UMass Assistant Professor of Legal Studies Lauren McCarthy.

This performance of Cuatro Corridos is supported in part by UMass Amherst Department of Music and Dance and is one of just 36 opera projects nationwide to receive an NEA ArtWorks grant. Since its development and premiere at the University of California, San Diego in 2013, Cuatro Corridos has traveled to Los Angeles, Dallas, Albuquerque, Tijuana and Mexico City.

PERFORMANCE: Sunday, October 4, 2015 at 4 p.m. PANEL DISCUSSION: Sunday, October 4, 2015 at 2 p.m.

LOCATION: Bowker Auditorium, UMass Amherst campus, 100 Holdsworth Way, Amherst, MA 01003

TICKET INFORMATION: $3 UMass students; $5 other students, children, seniors; $10 general public; free for UMass music majors & minors. Tickets available at Fine Arts Center Box Office 413-545-2511 or

Ruby Cougler, Project Manager/Outreach Coordinator, Cuatro Corridos

Marilyn Kushick, Department of Music & Dance, UMass Amherst

The Freedom Café is partnering with a Human Trafficking awareness event featuring the Cuatro Corridos Chamber Opera. The event will open at 2:00 with a free panel discussion, The Reality of Human Trafficking, will begin at 2 p.m. on the day of the performance in Bowker Auditorium led by UMass Assistant Professor of Legal Studies Lauren McCarthy. The opera will follow the panel discussion at 4:00. Freedom Café’s Dan Johnson will be participating in the panel discussion by contributing comment in regards to student activism at UMass in the area of Human Trafficking… (open to read more about this event)


I am the General Manager of the Freedom Cafe UMass and a Spiritual Advisor at UMass with Chi Alpha.

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