Death of philosophy: Walter Benjamin, the opera

This project fills me with dismay.

Benjamin, a thinker of fanatical precision and desperate fantasy, has been made into an opera by the former Che Guevara collaborator Régis Debray and the Swiss composer Michel Tabachnik, commissioned by Serge Dorny at the Opéra de Lyon.



Maybe he foresaw something of the sort.

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  • It’s not being directed by Serge Dorny (who is the General Director of the Company) but by John Fulljames from Covent Garden.

  • Régis Debray: one of those ‘idealists’ who really love the suppression of dissent in communist societies like Cuba where journalists (and other people with possible deviating opinions) are locked-up in prison.

    So, Tabachnik seems to have a preference for unusual company:

    “Between 1994 and 2004, he was implicated in the dramatic events of the Order of the Solar Temple. In 2001 and 2006, Swiss and French judiciary eventually cleared him of any guilt in the collective suicides in Salvan and Cheiry (Switzerland, October 1994) then Vercors (France, December 1995).” (Wikipedia)

    As a composer, Tabachnik is particularly respected for his remarkably light-hearted music:

    So, Walter Benjamin, friend of that other marxist idealist Adorno, can look forward to a joyful celebration of his ideas of modernity.

    • WB was, at times, very confused, but do you think he was a “killer” or someone, had he the opportunity, who would put dissenters into prison camps?

      • Very unlikely…. but intellectuals, especially if strongly marxist, are often inclined to cultivate the kind of utopias where people like George Orwell warned against.

      • “He was not the sort of man to send you to a concentration camp in a cattle car. Instead, he would call a taxi to take you there.”

        • If the antecedant of “He” is Walter Benjamin, the gratuitous slander really lowers the level of the discourse, but if not, what precisely is your point, and why is the material placed within quotation marks?

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