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A new shared cartography: Peking Opera, transcontinental theatre networks, and the mise-en-scène of an Imagined Identity

Grant number: 22/14218-7
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Post-doctor
Effective date (Start): April 01, 2023
Effective date (End): March 31, 2024
Field of knowledge:Linguistics, Literature and Arts - Arts - Theatre
Principal Investigator:Cecilia Antakly de Mello
Grantee:Esther Marinho Santana
Supervisor: Daniel Urrutiaguer
Host Institution: Escola de Comunicações e Artes (ECA). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Research place: Université Sorbonne Nouvelle - Paris 3, France  
Associated to the scholarship:21/08668-7 - Enraptured spectatorship and bewildered judgement: the reception of Peking Opera's first tour of Brazil, BP.PD


This research internship abroad project is part of the ongoing postdoctoral investigation "Espectação extasiada e juízo vacilante: A recepção da primeira vinda da Ópera de Pequim ao Brasil" ("Enraptured Spectatorship and Bewildered Judgement: The Reception of Peking Opera's First Tour of Brazil"). The main objective of the study is to retrieve information about the first presentations of the Chinese traditional theatre ¬g (Jingju), also known as Peking Opera, at the Municipal Theatres of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, in 1956, and analyze their reception by spectators who found themselves as fascinated as puzzled by this alien art. Although vastly commented by theatre critics, music specialists, poets, and journalists, the episode has never been properly examined by the Brazilian twentieth century performing arts historiography, likely due to coetaneous socio-political tensions against the backdrop of the Cold War, and to persisting epistemological limits. This proposal for a research internship abroad argues that even though the Jingju shows themselves failed to be adequately understood by local audiences, their performative substance was successfully grasped. Recently founded, the People's Republic of China was both an entirely new country and a millenary civilization which staged an imagined identity (Lei, 2006; Mello, 2022), through Jingju, to gain international recognition. In this vein, the major performance did not exactly take place on theatre stages; instead, it was presented in a cartography shared by China, Brazil, and France - the key meditator of the Chinese Art Troupe tour. The access to French libraries and archival centers will allow me to look for indispensable primary sources in loco, while working with the research group TopoLogiques of Université Sorbonne Nouvelle, where I will explore the hypothesis of the mise-en-scène of an imagined Chineseness in the operative settings of a transcontinental network of institutions, impresarios, mediators, critics, and spectators which granted Peking Opera transit in an age of barriers. (AU)

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