The phrase “Too much is not enough” occasionally pops up as a possible motto for the state of Texas. Another humorous option is “If it’s not true, it ought to be.” Both phrases are ammunition for those shooting to maintain an over-the-top reputation for our uniquely shaped state.
At Texas Highways, we’ve found that even though the mythology of Texas sometimes relies on larger-than-life characters to support outsized claims, we’re generally satisfied simply telling the truth about our heroes. It’s enough to get the point across.
As we assemble this June issue of Texas Highways, we are narrowing down the list of extraordinary Texans to be featured in the upcoming September issue. Last year we learned, and shared, that everyday Texans are making history in unexpected ways. Some simply aspire to a job well done. Others want to achieve some- thing never before attempted.
Extraordinary accomplishments are often team efforts, requiring long-range vision and constant discipline to accomplish. In the arts, we’ve seen the new Renzo Piano Pavilion of Fort Worth’s Kimbell Art Museum open its doors in the past year. The long-anticipated and much-discussed project is a welcome addition.
On a musical scale, the Houston Grand Opera has made a start on the staging of Wagner’s Ring Cycle, four epic operas in a sweeping mythological narrative, that will appear over the next four years. These performances are prototypical, creating the popular image of opera and some of the most memorable music. The famous prelude to Act III of Die Walkure (the second opera) is known as The Ride of the Valkyries, and it is most widely recognized as the soundtrack for the helicopter raids directed by Robert Duvall’s character in the film Apocalypse Now. In spite of carrying such popular-culture baggage, the HGO’s staging is an historic event.
Even though Texas history does exhibit an operatic scale all its own, the anniversaries of its main events typically pass uncelebrated. But, it’s not out ofline to think that an opera based on the Battle of San Jacinto, or the Alamo, is possible. After all, western movies were once called “horse operas,” and a number of the Texas heroes could hold their own on any stage.
If there is a composer who is dreaming of creating an opera about Texas—whether based on historic heroes or contemporary role models, we can all finally agree that, in that case, too much will not be enough.