KeywordsChinese Intangible Cultural Heritage Institute
Chinese National Arts Fund
Opera into Campuses
Wuhan Han Opera Theater
AdvisorPost, Jennifer C.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractWuhan Han Opera Theater (WHOT, formerly Han Opera) is a 400-year old regional opera based in Wuhan, in Hubei Province, in China. WHOT’s recent designation as a public institution under China's neoliberal creative economy initiative to enter the global market has necessitated its transformation from a cultural institution (wenhua jigou) into a creative industry (wehua chanye). As such, WHOT must now create adaptive strategies, alter traditional conventions of performance, infrastructure, education and community presence, reconstitute traditional social functions at the national level, and most importantly, manage a relationship with the government that is entirely novel for both. In the summer of 2016, WHOT participated in two government-led projects: Opera into Campuses and the Chinese National Arts Fund. These programs were the focus of my ethnographic fieldwork, to identify possible effects of the creative economy initiative on a traditional musical institution. Specifically, inquiry was made as to whether and how creative musical and organizational adaptations were being decided, implemented and executed, and as to how the outcomes of these adaptations were being evaluated. Despite using an ethnographic approach, findings from the preliminary study were found to be much more broadly generalizable and applicable across disciplines than expected. As a result, this thesis makes the following arguments: for modernization of an institution of traditional music to be effective, a relationship must exist whereby the transitioning institution is given creative license to generate continued socio-cultural productivity through its creative class ("talent") in joint cooperation with, rather than dependence on, government agencies. The goal must be to revitalize rather than simply preserve such an institution, and to avoid cultural attrition of unique musical qualities of the institution.
Degree ProgramGraduate College