The Metamorphoses of 'Orfeu da Conceição' by Vinicius de Moraes

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Vinicius Mariano de Carvalho


This text is a hermeneutic exercise about one of the paradigmatic works of Vinicius de Moraes, Orfeu da Conceição. This plays opens a partnership between the poet and the composer Antonio Carlos Jobim, which was fruitful and unique for Brazilian arts. Orfeu da Conceição is also paradigmatic because it is the first work to bring black actors to the stages of the Municipal Theater of Rio de Janeiro. Orfeu da Conceição led to one of the films that most contributed, positively or negatively, to the international image of Brazil in the second half of the 20th century, the award-winning Orpheus Negro, by Marcel Camus. The text will notice how many of the ideas and representations of the favela were already visible in the Brazilian popular repertoire prior to the composition of the play. The idea, in general, is to observe how, in addition to its poetic-musical quality, Orfeu da Conceição can also serve as a reflection on how we represent and see favelas in the urban context, both in 1956 and today.

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How to Cite
de Carvalho, V. M. (2020). The Metamorphoses of ’Orfeu da Conceição’ by Vinicius de Moraes. Brasiliana: Journal for Brazilian Studies, 9(1), 580–596.
Author Biography

Vinicius Mariano de Carvalho, King's Brazil Institute King´s College London

Lecturer - King's Brazil Institute


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