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Orgullo!

Music by: Christian De Gré Cárdenas

Libretto by: Joseph Reese Anderson & Christian De Gré Cárdenas

Conceived by: Christian De Gré Cárdenas & Joseph Reese Anderson with Sarah Sanders & Elias "UVA" Díaz


Duration: 48 mins


Commissioned by: Maryland Opera Studio, University of Maryland, College Park, MD, 2023

Premiere: Maryland Opera Studio, 2024


 


Thanks to generous support/showcase opportunities, at and by:

The Public Theater 

The Mexican Cultural Institute of New York

Yaddo Colony

Broadway's 54 Below

SPACE on Ryder

The National Opera Center

The Advanced BMI Musical Theater Workshop

Mind The Art Entertainment

Alkimia


Orgullo! is a mythical exploration of 7 legends surrounding the rise and fall of infamous Mexican President Antonio de Padua María Severino López de Santa Anna y Pérez de Lebrón and his wild gum popping adventures defending against American "Manifest Destiny" and their seafaring, dessert raiding, lava walking imperialist forces at the height of the 1846-1848 invasion of Mexico. A part of the award winning 7 Deadly Sins Cycle.


FORCES


Singers:

Solomon (Narrator), a black American soldier from New Orleans who stayed in Veracruz after the American invasion claims Santa Anna's government - Tenor

Ximena (Narrator), a Korean immigrant raised in Yucatan who moves to Veracruz to seek support for the Guerra de las Castes (The Mayan revolution) - Soprano John O'Riley (Narrator), an Irish Catholic immigrant in California who defects from the US army and joins the Mexican Army under Santa Anna - Baritone

Antonio, our protagonist "Santa Anna," born in Veracruz, we see him in three stages of his life, his early glory as "Napoleon of the West," his fight with Manifest Destiny, and his lonely demise in infamy - Tenor

María Inés de la Paz García, his wife, who grudgingly cared for him by bribing peasants to sing his glory by his window on his deathbed - Soprano

Le Limbe, his "limb," an elusive companion on his many adventures - Mezzo-soprano Manifesto, his “demons,” President James K Polk/Robert E Lee/Winfield Scott/America. A personification of his nemeses, manifest destiny, they who shattered his pride and legacy - Bass Pueblo, the “people,” his “people," a manifestation of his pride, plays multiple characters in his life, from his lieutenants, to his vice president, to a bartender, to his nurse, to the voice of the people, etc... - Soprano


Orchestra:

(Variations Available)

Oscura-

Piano


Enchanced-

Flute

Bass Clarinet Electric Violin

Electric Cello

Piano/Accordion

Harp Acoustic Guitar Acoustic Bass

Latin Percussion



Project Statement

The sun rises over a circus camp in Veracruz, Mexico, 2048. Circus performers are working to set up for a "production" when they stumble upon a buried leg. They trace the origins of this leg, Le Limbe, to Santa Anna and the North American invasion of Mexico two hundred years ago in the 1840’s. They argue over the impact that Su Alteza Serenísima, Napoleon of the West, had over the outcome of the war and their ancestors’ futures.

In the center ring of the circus, one of the ensemble members has assumed the role of Santa Anna. The chorus introduces him, telling the story of his lofty triumphs before the infamous invasion takes place. They sing of how he became the hero of Tampico, the Alamo and the Rio Grande Republic, and the War of Independence. They detail the loss of his leg in the Pastry War, and joke about a massive funeral he held for his severed appendage.

The war begins. Manifesto and Pueblo, physical manifestations of Manifest Destiny and the victims of war respectively, lead us through a retelling of the invasion and the beginnings of the Mexican response. We learn how Solomon, Ximena, and John O’Riley, immigrants in both camps, came to Mexico. Santa Anna is exiled to Cuba. Together he and Manifesto share a duet as they consider the nature of destiny and their role in making their destinies come to pass. The American Navy agrees to grant Santa Anna safe passage back to Mexico from Cuba, if he relinquishes Texas. He betrays them. The war effort fails and the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo is signed, granting half of Mexico to the invading forces. 

On his deathbed, Santa Anna and his wife Maria share an intimate moment of reflection. He speaks in grand delusion, while she only exacerbates his fantasy with the paid mourners she has placed outside of their home to fan his ego through the window. Le Limbe floats in and out of the room, challenging Santa Anna with what could have been. He dies only after a heartfelt declaration that he did all he could, and he had nothing left to give.

The circus is ready for their evening performance. The tight ropes are taut, the lions sufficiently antagonized, and the clowns have donned their regal ruffles and noble noses. The sun begins to set as the entire company shares a 200 year old dream with Santa Anna, that of a green green moon, La Luna Verde, over a Mexican empire, one that could have been, but never was, could it ever be?

"Orgullo!" is Vol. VII, "Pride," of Mind The Art Entertainment's award-winning "Twisted Operettas;" and Vol. I of the interdisciplinary 7-part exploration of the American Invasion of Mexico "1848" by Christian De Gré Cárdenas, Joseph Reese Anderson, Elias "Uva" Diaz & Sarah Sanders.


 

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