Gálvez the Unsung Hero of the American Revolution - Let's Make Him Sing!

By Marec Béla Steffens, librettist & Mary Carol Warwick, Composer.

Have a look at the life of Bernardo de Gálvez. He was fighting the Apache in Texas. Fighting the Moors in Africa. The Portuguese in Europe. The British all around the Gulf of Mexico. A crucial contributor to American independence. The namesake of Galveston. The man who established the tradition of Texas cattle drives. His life is crying to become an opera, isn’t it?

Reading about Gálvez is a sheer pleasure. Characteristic scenes, colorful speech, striking anecdotes left, right, and center. And think of the people around him:

  • His wife, a celebrated New Orleans belle.
  • His adopted cousin was one of the first female playwrights in Spanish literature.
  • Irish trader Oliver Pollock, once the richest man in the colonies, now languishing in debtors’ prison after he spent all his wealth in support of George Washington’s and George Rogers Clark’s troops.
  • On the other side of the ocean, the key partner of Gálvez and Pollock was none other than Beaumarchais the playwright, on whose plays ‘Barber of Seville’ and ‘Marriage of Figaro’ two of the most successful operas in history are based.

All these characters will be part of the Gálvez opera. Their various ethnic backgrounds will be a feast for the composer. Parts of the Gálvez opera libretto were read in Houston, San Antonio, and Washington DC. We will do a showcase performance when part of the music is ready. Stay tuned!

Composer Mary Carol Warwick has nine operas brought to the stage so far, including several commissioned by Houston Grand Opera. Two of her operas are bilingual, English and Spanish. Her works are performed not only in the U.S. and Canada but also in Europe and Singapore. She is intrigued by the libretto and already had several working sessions with Marec.

Marec Béla Steffens is a German writer and librettist who lived in Houston in 2005 and in 2011-16. He has published five books of fairy tales in German. The manuscript for his next one, again illustrated by his wife Krystyna, was accepted by his German publisher and will have an English edition as well. Opera scenes on two of his original libretti were performed in the final round of opera competitions in London (Genesis Opera Project) and at Reinsberg Castle near Berlin. A children’s opera on Marec’s libretto, likewise with music by German composer Mario Wiegand, was world premiered in Kassel. “Two Cells in Seville” (working title), a chamber opera with Marec’s original libretto and music by his father Walter Steffens, was premiered by the Round Top Theatre Forum in cooperation with the Greenbriar Consortium in Houston (1 Nov. 2016) and in Round Top TX (5 Nov. 2016).