Mojica, José de Jesús (1896–1974)

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Mojica, José de Jesús (1896–1974)

José de Jesús Mojica (b. 14 September 1896; d. 20 September 1974), Mexican operatic tenor, film actor, and singer. Born in San Gabriel, Jalisco, Mojica attended the Escuela Nacional de Agricultura; when it closed during the Revolution, he entered the Conservatorio Nacional de Música. He then trained with Alejandro Cuevas and made his solo debut in La Traviata. After touring the republic, he sang his first lead role in The Barber of Seville in 1916 (Teatro Arbeu, Mexico City).

Mojica appeared with Enrico Caruso when the latter visited Mexico City (1919). Caruso's recommendation resulted in an invitation to perform with the Chicago Opera, where Mojica acquired a notable reputation, especially in French operas, with the famed soprano Mary Garden, and in the world premiere of Sergei Prokofiev's Love for Three Oranges (1921). During the 1920s Mojica sang in Chicago and Mexico. He was a favorite tenor of Thomas Edison, for whose company he recorded arias and Hispanic folk songs.

In 1930 Mojica went to Hollywood and began a career in musical films with One Mad Kiss, followed by some dozen other movies, made in both the United States and Mexico. Following his mother's death, Mojica abandoned his career to become a Franciscan friar (1943). In order to build a training center for priests in Peru, he raised funds through additional films and concerts. He last appeared in Mexico City's Bellas Artes Theater (1969), celebrating his fifty years as a singer. He died in Lima, Peru.

See alsoMusic: Art Music .


José de Jesús Mojica I, a Sinner, translated by Fanchon Royer (1963).

Additional Bibliography

Arauco Travezán, Ernesto. José Mojica: mundo, arte y espíritu. Lima, Peru: Editorial Bruño, 1999.

Koegel, John. "Del Rancho Grande y a través del Río Grande: músicos mexicanos en Hollywood y en la vida musical norteamericana, 1910–1940." Heterofonía 128 (January-June 2003): 51-99.

                                 Ronald H. Dolkart