Sarah J. Townsend F'20, F'11

Sarah J. Townsend
Associate Professor
Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese
Pennsylvania State University

Frederick Burkhardt Residential Fellowships for Recently Tenured Scholars 2020
Associate Professor
Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese
Pennsylvania State University
Opera in the Amazon: Culture, Capital, and the Global Jungle
For residence at the Newberry Library during academic year 2021-2022

This project focuses on the Teatro Amazonas, an opera house in Manaus, Brazil, built in the late nineteenth century during the Amazonian rubber boom. Designed to host touring companies from Europe, the theater served an odd array of purposes after the shift of the rubber trade to Southeast Asia and the end of international opera’s heyday. Since 1997, however, it has hosted an annual festival, which originally imported productions and performers but quickly became the fulcrum for a major expansion of the state cultural apparatus and now relies primarily on local talent. “Opera in the Amazon” illuminates this history by exploring performances at the theater, political meetings and other events held within its walls, and films and novels in which the building appears. By tracing connections between culture and extractive economics, the book reveals that opera has long been a global genre closely tied to the development of capitalism.

ACLS New Faculty Fellows Program 2011
New Faculty Fellow
Spanish and Portuguese
University of California, Santa Barbara
PhD, Department of Spanish & Portuguese, New York University appointed in Spanish and Portuguese at University of California, Santa Barbara

Dissertation: "The Unfinished Art of Theater: Avant-Garde Intellectuals and Mass Publics in Mexico and Brazil"