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Enraptured spectatorship and bewildered judgement: the reception of Peking Opera's first tour of Brazil

Grant number: 21/08668-7
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctorate
Effective date (Start): December 01, 2021
Effective date (End): November 30, 2023
Field of knowledge:Linguistics, Literature and Arts - Arts - Theatre
Principal researcher:Cecilia Antakly de Mello
Grantee:Esther Marinho Santana
Home Institution: Escola de Comunicações e Artes (ECA). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil

Abstract

This postdoctoral research aims to retrieve the immediate criticism of Peking's Opera (¬g - Jingju) first visit to Brazil, in 1956, while also investigating its impact on the coetaneous cultural horizon. Described as the most exceptional event in that season, the introduction of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo audiences to Chinese traditional performance forms ended up ignored by the 20th century Brazilian theatre historiography, being only briefly mentioned, or not mentioned at all. Nevertheless, the sessions captured the attention of the most diverse array of analysts, from musicologists, to poets, to theatre critics - who, when faced with a show based on utterly unknown codes, were torn between enraptured spectatorship and bewildered judgement. Moreover, as several newspapers indicate, the Chinese company's visit seems to have initiated a remarkable flux of Brazilian artists travelling to China, soon interrupted after 1964. By looking into primary sources, I argue that recovering and analyzing the records of the very first contact of local audiences with the theatricality of Jingju will provide an unprecedented and singular material to the theatre studies in Brazil. Likewise, it will greatly contribute to the debate on the limits and potentialities of spectatorial and critical experience. (AU)

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