Adoniran Barbosa was a samba singer and composer who became successful during São Paulo's early radio era. Born in 1912 in the town of Valinhos, Barbosa was known as the "composer to the masses", particularly Italian immigrants living in the quarters of Bela Vista, also known as "Bexiga" and Brás, as well as those who lived in the city's many 'cortiços' or tenements. His songs drew from the life of urban workers, the unemployed and those who lived on the edge. His first big hit was "Saudosa Maloca" ("Shanty of Fond Memories" – 1951), wherein three homeless friends recall with nostalgia their improvised shanty home, which was torn down by the landowner to make room for a building. His 1964 Trem das Onze ("The 11 pm Train"), became one of the five best samba songs ever, the protagonist explains to his lover that he cannot stay any longer because he has to catch the last train to the Jaçanã suburb, for his mother will not sleep before he arrives home. Another important musician with a similar style is Paulo Vanzolini. Vanzolini is a PhD in Biology and a part-time professional musician. He composed a song depicting a love murder scene in São Paulo called "Ronda".
In the late 1960s, a psychedelic rock band called Os Mutantes became popular. Their success is related to that of other tropicalia musicians. The group were known as very paulistanos in their behaviour and clothing. Os Mutantes released five albums before lead singer Rita Lee departed in 1972 to form another group called Tutti-Frutti. Although initially known only in Brazil, Os Mutantes became successful abroad after the 1990s. In 2000, Tecnicolor, an album recorded in the early 1970s in English by the band, was released with artwork designed by Sean Lennon.
In the early 1980s, a band called Ultraje a Rigor (Elegant Outrage) emerged. They played a simple and irreverent style of rock. The lyrics depicted the changes in society and culture that Brazilian society was experiencing. A late punk and garage scene became strong in the 1980s, perhaps associated with the gloomy scenario of unemployment during an extended recession. Bands originating from this movement include Ira!, Titãs, Ratos de Porão and Inocentes. In the 1990s, drum and bass arose as another musical movement in São Paulo, with artists such as DJ Marky, DJ Patife, XRS, Drumagick and Fernanda Porto. Many heavy metal bands also originated in São Paulo, such as Angra, Torture Squad, Korzus and Dr. Sin. Famous electro-pop band Cansei de Ser Sexy, or CSS (Portuguese for "tired of being sexy") also has its origins in the city.
Many of the most important classical Brazilian living composers, such as Amaral Vieira, Osvaldo Lacerda and Edson Zampronha, were born and live in São Paulo. Local baritone Paulo Szot has won international acclaim and a Tony Award nomination for his performance in a 2008 revival of South Pacific. The São Paulo State Symphony is one of the world's outstanding orchestras; their artistic director beginning in 2012 is the noted American conductor Marin Alsop. In 1952, Heitor Villa-Lobos wrote his Symphony Number 10 ('Ameríndia') for the 400th anniversary of São Paulo: an allegorical, historical and religious account of the city told through the eyes of its founder Jose de Anchieta.
São Paulo's most important opera houses are: São Paulo Municipal Theater, Theatro São Pedro and Alfa Theater, for the symphonic concerts there is the Sala São Paulo, the latter being the headquarters of OSESP, a notable orchestra. The city also hosts several music halls. The main ones are: Credicard Hall, HSBC Music Hall, Olympia, Via Funchal, Villa Country, Kezebre Rock Bar, Arena Anhembi and Espaco das Américas. The Sambadrome hosts musical presentations as well.
Other facilities include the new Praça das Artes, with the Municipal Conservatory of Music Chamber Hall and others venues, like, Cultura Artistica, Teatro Sérgio Cardoso with a venue for only dance performances and Herzog & DeMeron's Centro Cultural Luz, for Ballet, Opera, theater and concerts, with three huge halls. The auditorium of the Latin-American Cultural Center, The Mozarteum, holds concerts through the year.
São Paulo was home to the first Jesuit missionaries in Brazil, in the early 16th century. They wrote reports to the Portuguese crown about the newly found land, the native peoples and composed poetry and music for the catechism, creating the first written works from the area. The literary priests included Manuel da Nóbrega and José de Anchieta, living in or near the colony then called Piratininga. They also helped to register the Old Tupi language, lexicon and its grammar.
In 1922, the Brazilian Modernist Movement, launched in São Paulo, began to achieve cultural independence. Brazil had gone through the same stages of development as the rest of Latin America, but its political and cultural independence came more gradually.
Brazilian elite culture was originally strongly tied to Portugal. Gradually writers developed a multi-ethnic body of work that was distinctively Brazilian. The presence of large numbers of former slaves added a distinctive African character to the culture. Subsequent infusions of immigrants of non-Portuguese origin broadened the range of influences. Mário de Andrade and Oswald de Andrade were the prototypical modernists. With the urban poems of "Paulicéia Desvairada" and "Carefree Paulistan land" (1922), Mário de Andrade established the movement in Brazil. His rhapsodic novel Macunaíma (1928), with its abundance of Brazilian folklore, represents the apex of modernism's nationalist prose through its creation of an offbeat native national hero. Oswald de Andrade's experimental poetry, avant-garde prose, particularly the novel Serafim Ponte Grande (1933) and provocative manifestos exemplify the movement's break with tradition. Modernist artists and writers chose the Municipal Theatre of São Paulo to launch their Modernist manifesto. The site happened to be a bastion of European culture with opera and classical music presentations from Germany, France, Austria and Italy. They defied the high society that frequented the venue and who insisted on speaking only foreign languages such as French, behaving as if Brazilian culture did not matter.
Many historians believe that the first theatrical performance in Brazil was held in São Paulo. The Portuguese Jesuit missionary José de Anchieta (1534–1597) wrote short plays that were performed and watched by the Tupi–Guarani natives. In the second half of the 19th century a cultural, musical and theatrical life emerged. European ethnic groups began holding performances in some of the state's rural cities. The most important period for the art in São Paulo was the 1940s. São Paulo had had a professional company, Teatro Brasileiro de Comédia, (Brazilian Theater of Comedy), along with others. During the 1960s, major theater productions in São Paulo and Brazil were presented by two groups. Teatro de Arena began with a group of students from Escola de Arte Dramática (Drama Art School), founded by Alfredo Mesquita, in 1948. In 1958, the group excelled with the play "Eles não usam black tie" by Gianfrancesco Guarnieri which was the first in the history of the Brazilian drama to feature labor workers as protagonists.
After the military coup of 1964, plays started focusing on Brazilian history (Zumbi, Tiradentes). Teatro de Arena and Teatro Oficina supported the democratic resistance during the military dictatorship period, marked by its censorship. The Tropicalist movement began there. A number of plays represented historic moments, notably "O Rei da Vela", "Galileu Galilei" (1968), "Na Sela das Cidades" (1969) and "Gracias Señor" (1972).
The district of Bixiga concentrates the greatest number of theaters, almost 30 including the theaters that are closed for refurbishing or for other reasons. Some of the most important are Renault, Brigadeiro, Zaccaro, Bibi Ferreira, Maria della Costa, Ruth Escobar, Opera, TBC, Imprensa, Oficina, Àgora, Cacilda Becker, Sérgio Cardoso, do Bixiga, and Bandeirantes.
Popularly known as "Ipiranga Museum", the first monument built to preserve the memory of the Independence of Brazil, opened on September 7, 1895, with the name of Museu de Ciências Naturais (Natural Science Museum). In 1919, it became a history museum. Reflecting the architectural influence of the Versailles Palace in France, the Ipiranga's collection, with approximately 100,000 pieces, comprises works of art, furniture, clothing and appliances that belonged to those who took part in Brazilian history, such as explorers, rulers and freedom fighters. Its facilities house a library with 100,000 books and the "Centro de Documentação Histórica," Historic Documentation Center, with 40,000 manuscripts.
The Ema Gordon Klabin Cultural Foundation opened to the public in March 2007. Its headquarters is a 1920s mansion. It houses 1545 works, including paintings by Marc Chagall, Pompeo Batoni, Pierre Gobert and Frans Post, Brazilian modernists Tarsila do Amaral, Di Cavalcanti and Portinari, period furniture, decorative and archaeological pieces.
Stretching over 78,000 square meters, Memorial da América Latina (Latin America's Memorial) was conceived to showcase Latin American countries and their roots and cultures. It is home to the headquarters of Parlamento Latino-Americano – Parlatino (Latin American Parliament). Designed by Oscar Niemeyer, Memorial has an exhibition pavilion with permanent exhibition of the continent's craftwork production; a library with books, newspapers, magazines, videos, films and records about the history of Latin America; and an 1,679-seat auditorium.
Hospedaria do Imigrante (Immigrant's Hostel) was built in 1886 and opened in 1887. Immigrant's Hostel was built in Brás to welcome the immigrants who arrived in Brazil through the Port of Santos, quarantining those who were sick and helping new arrivals to find work in coffee plantations in Western, Northern and Southwestern São Paulo State and Northern Paraná State. From 1882 to 1978, 2.5 million immigrants of more than 60 nationalities and ethnicities were guests there, all of them duly registered in the museum's books and lists. The hostel hosted approximately 3,000 people on average, but occasionally reached 8,000. The hostel received the last immigrants in 1978.
In 1998 the hostel became a museum, where it preserves the immigrants' documentation, memory and objects. Located in one of the few remaining centenarian buildings, the museum occupies part of the former hostel. The museum also restores wooden train wagons from the former São Paulo Railway. Two restored wagons inhabit the museum. One dates from 1914, while a second class passenger car dates from 1931. The museum records the names of all immigrants who were hosted there from 1888 to 1978.
Occupying an area of 700 square meters, the animals shown in the museum are samples of the country's tropical fauna and were prepared (embalmed) more than 50 years ago. The animals are grouped according to their classification: fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals and some invertebrates such as corals, crustaceans and mollusks. The library specializes in zoology. It has 73,850 works, of which 8,473 are books and 2,364 are newspapers, in addition to theses and maps.
MASP has one of world's most important collections of European art. The most important collections cover Italian and French painting schools. The museum was founded by Assis Chateaubriand and is directed by Pietro Maria Bardi. Its current headquarters, opened in 1968, were designed by Lina Bo Bardi. MASP organizes temporary exhibitions in special areas. Brazilian and international exhibitions of contemporary arts, photography, design and architecture take turn during the whole year.
The headquarters of the state government has a collection of works by Brazilian artists, such as Portinari, Aldo Bonadei, Djanira, Almeida Júnior, Victor Brecheret, Ernesto de Fiori and Aleijadinho. It also gathers colonial furniture, leather and silver artefacts and European tapestry. In eclectic style, its walls are covered with panels describing the history of São Paulo.
Located next to the Luz metro station, the building was projected by architect Ramos de Azevedo in 1895. It was constructed to house an Arts Lyceum. In 1911, it became the State of São Paulo' Pinacotheca, where it currently hosts a number of art exhibitions. A major exhibition on the bronze statues of French sculptor Auguste Rodin took place in 2001. There is also a permanent exhibition on the "Resistance" movement that took place during military dictatorship in the Republican period, including a reconstructed prison cell where political prisoners were kept.
Also called Oca do Ibirapuera, oca means thatched house in Native Brazilian Tupi-Guarani. A white, spaceship-like building sitting in the greens of Ibirapuera Park, Oca is an exhibition place with more than 10,000 squared metres. Modern art, Native Brazilian art, and photographies are some of the topics of past thematic exhibitions.
Museu da Imagem e do Som (Image and Sound Museum) preserves music, cinema, photography and graphical arts. MIS has a collection of more than 200,000 images. It has more than 1,600 fiction videotapes, documentaries and music and 12,750 titles recorded in Super 8 and 16 mm film. MIS organizes concerts, cinema and video festivals and photography and graphical arts exhibitions.
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