Gabriela Ortiz is one of the foremost composers in Mexico today and one of the most vibrant musicians emerging on the international scene. Her musical language achieves an extraordinary and expressive synthesis of tradition and the avant-garde, combining high art, folk music, and jazz in novel, refined, and personal ways.
Unicamente la Verdad! is Ortiz's video opera created in collaboration with video artist Ruben Ortiz Torres and has been performed to critical acclaim in Bloomington, Indiana, the Mexico City Festival and Long Beach, California. Recent orchestral commissions include Hominum for the National Symphony Orchestra of Mexico, Cantigas Migratorias for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and Antropolis for the Louisiana Symphony Orchestra.
Her newest opera, Luciérnaga (Firefly), for solo soprano, premiered in 2018 at the Vertice festival. The work explores the expeirences of Uruguayan poet Alcira Soust Scaffo during the 15 days that she remained hidden at the UNAM university during its occupation by the Mexican army in 1968. The Royal Scottish National Orchestra recorded and performed her work Hominum in Fall of 2018.
Premiered on October 10th, the opera, with a libretto written by Silvia Peláez and commissioned by the festival Vertice of UNAM, tells the story of Alcira Soust Scaffo, an Uruguayan poet, who locked herself in the male toilet of the Tower of Humanities at UNAM, during a military intervention to the university on September 18, 1968.
Outlaws. Love. Deceit. ONLY THE TRUTH (¡Únicamente La Verdad!) is based on a popular Mexican ballad, “Contrabando y Traicion” (Smuggling and Betrayal). This docu-opera, lifted from the headlines, follows Camelia la Tejana and her lover as they smuggle drugs across the border to Los Angeles. The payoff becomes a deadly showdown! Mexican composer Gabriela Ortiz creates a pulsing score that fuses classical and Mexican influences.
Yanga tells the story Gaspar Yanga, an African prince captured and taken to Mexico as a slave in the 1500s. He led a revolt and founded the first independent settlement in the Americas, San Lorenzo de los Negros, thereby becoming the first black ruler in America.
“Gabriela is one of the most talented composers in the world. [...] She has an ability to bring colors, to bring rhythm [and] harmonies that connect with you. That is something beautiful, something unique.”
— Gustavo Dudamel,
AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE
“A sound world... where not all is familiar, but not all is completely unknown either. The delicate balance is what makes the music so fascinating.”
— George Adams,
“one of Mexico's most interesting composers... Ortiz's writing bursts with exceptional color.”
— Mark Swed,