Al Jazeera, the outstandingly well-informed culture channel, has published a provocative essay by Chiara Bottici, Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the New School for Social Research in New York.
Ms Bottici’s thesis is that opera has been made redundant by its ‘step-sister’, TV soap opera, and the only reason for maintaining it in live performance is for the handful of rich snobs who would not be seen dead watching Downton Abbey.
Sample quote: Be they sophisticated intellectuals with their notorious necrophilia for objects of the past or super-rich magnates who need to put the new red dress of their girlfriend in display, in both cases, they are people who want to distinguish themselves. Opera is an occasion for distinction. Rousseau once wrote that people think they come together in the spectacle, and it is here that they are isolated. Today, we can say that people come together in the spectacle because they want to be isolated. Opera is dead.
Read the irrational stuff here. Rest assured, it will be widely quoted by autocue TV presenters. Be prepared for your next interview.
UPDATE: It turns out that Asst. Prof. Chiara is a self-declared leftist anarchist with a strong sense of victimhood. Watch her confession below, then wonder how she fits with the Islamist authoritarianism of Al-Jazeera’s Qatari owners. The world makes strange bedfellows.