Reconfiguration, Appropriation and Creative Misreading of Opera by Chinese Composers

Project: Research

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This study looks at how the Western opera—as a set of pre-supposed histories andconditions—has been reconfigured, appropriated, and “creatively misread” by Chinesecomposers from the Mainland, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, and the Chinese diaspora.This study focuses on music composed after the emergence of the “New Wave”generation in the late 1970s. It will constitute the first cross-generational andcomparative analysis of contemporary Chinese music that includes overseas Chinesecomposers from Australia, Singapore, the Philippines, and beyond. Technical analyticalaccounts will be integral to this discussion. The intention is to locate an analyticaldimension for inter-cultural compositions that “combines broad applicability with localspecificity” (Utz 2013), and to put into practice a “relational approach” to the analysis ofinter-cultural compositions, which sees music as “a performative process that createsand expresses social relations between its participants” (Cook 2013).By zooming into a single musical approach by a specific group of musicians, this studyasks: (1) How do acts of appropriation bring the dynamics of inter-cultural encounterinto sharp focus? (2) How is “the East” as well as “the West” productively essentialized ininter-cultural compositions? (3) What do the communicative gestures of appropriationtell us about the “lived-realities” of Chinese composers?


Project number9042310
Grant typeGRF
Effective start/end date1/12/151/01/17