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Seville 1992--the awakening of a city : the universal exposition in Seville (1992) and the creation of the Royal Symphony Orchestra of Seville

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Title: Seville 1992--the awakening of a city : the universal exposition in Seville (1992) and the creation of the Royal Symphony Orchestra of Seville
Authors: Sivova, Anna Emilova
Keywords: Seville
Issue Date: Dec 2011
Publisher: [Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [December 2011]
Abstract: The present work underlines the importance of classical music for the development of Seville, with a special emphasis on the period of Expo '92, and analyzes data from primary and secondary sources collected through library research and interviews. It will situate this material within the national, regional and local contexts that have interacted in complex fashion in Spain since the political shift of 1975. It also analyzes Seville's response to the events of 1991 and 1992 and provides a framework for understanding the remarkable growth in the status and presence of classical music in that city during the recent past, placing it within a discussion of innovation and resistance. On one hand, the dynamics of change involve active social and cultural transformation, based on ideas that are new to a society. Joining the European Union helped stimulate the wish in some circles to draw the south of Spain closer to the cultural traditions that bind that whole continent together. On the other hand, active rejection of such change or passive distancing that ignores its presence creates forces of resistance. Public statements on the value of classical music and its institutions were generally negative before the events of the early 1990s, but they became strongly positive afterwards; still, neither stance (wholly positive or totally negative) reflects the true complexity of the situation.
To analyze the effects of classical music presented to Seville as part of Expo '92 (an international event that offered music from 112 countries), the study depends heavily on two books relevant to this exposition that use anthropological methodology. In Hybrids of Modernity Penelope Harvey explores culture, technology, and nationality, and focuses her analysis on Seville's exposition of 1992. She emphasizes that its culture was a product with commercial goals. While her study of the social behavior of Expo '92 visitors has been useful for this study, she does not acknowledge that culture, and especially classical music, is just as much a spiritual and historical experience as a commodity. More recently, a second anthropologist, Richard Maddox, published The Best of All Possible Islands, where he uses Expo '92 as a starting point for scrutinizing the development of democracy in Spain and the impact of European unification. In a communication with the author, Maddox has also underlined the importance of his experience of living near Seville during the organization and opening of Expo '92. Although not a music scholar himself, he has confirmed his familiarity with the music scene of that time.
Harvey's and Maddox´s anthropologically grounded observations help in understanding the reactions of Seville's population and the human impact of government-sponsored cultural change on the city. Using Maddox's data, observations on popular discontent, and widespread complaints about the practical effects of modernization (such as the rising real estate prices) that surrounded organization of Expo '92, the present work also demonstrates how classical music served as a positive influence, an exception that acted as a cultural bond among the exposition visitors and how its presence during this event helped establish the bases for a permanent tradition of symphonic performances in the city. By turning to historical documents and conducting personal interviews, it also corrects widely held misconceptions about purported connections between Expo '92 and the Royal Symphony Orchestra of Seville, and shows that the initial purpose of the Maestranza Theater was to serve as a Palace of Culture, and not an opera house.4 After an examination of the initial actions of and reactions to Seville´s Royal Symphony Orchestra, this study offers conclusions regarding the lasting importance of classical music as a tool for cultural change.
Description: M.A. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2011.
Includes bibliographical references.
Appears in Collections:M.A. - Music

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