In Mozart’s opera, “Don Giovanni”, the main character’s many sins catch up to him in the form of the unexpected appearance of an implacable stony figure of a former rival that he had scorned much earlier at the beginning of the tale. In regular life this, “la festin d’pierre” takes the form of a sudden inescapable infirmity of one’s body brought on by some form of career neglect of their health. Equally grim in its own right, this sudden loss of routinely expected capacity when it strikes brings a sobering realization that challenges the sensibilities of one’s most treasured earthly habits. Leporello aside, one has a choice to face the heralding of a final curtain with the knife’s edge of aplomb or terror. The cold fingers of the reality of one’s situation is not unlike that of the actor’s mitt caught in the heat sucking marble of the effigies’ inescapable grip. Too long has one invited death to one’s table by ignoring the fact of the many subtle changes in one’s physicality that are inevitably imparted by age. One is then forced to contemplate the necessity of a monk-like existence now that they are acquainted with the fact of limbo being not to far away from their doorstep. It is a painting that Mersi de Carravagio might have painted with a skull posed where one is condemned to the status of a St Jerome. One can just picture leafy vegetables invading both thoughts and dreams and the irony of one being driven forth into a worsened condition.
The spiral down into the grave has not as of yet challenged enthusiasm as the ego and will still believe that they can defy all menacing Commendatore’ and somehow leap over its obstacle into welcoming immortality. Having in this life too many times challenged the all the institutions of love and friendship and eventually come to defy their accompanying promises of felicity, the short journey in the time remaining will no doubt present further terrors in the form of self-recrimination’s over previous actions. And will no doubt cause an anguish not too dissimilar from that of Mozart’s protagonist ofter his refusal of the final offer for repentance at the last portion of the opera. If life is an artwork forever in progress, then the artist lives with the burden of dragging along the many past canvasses that have been sketched and colored in over a long career. There is always a hesitation to burn one’s greatest ‘works’ before the conclusion of the tolling of the final bell and take up an eleventh hour piety of body and spirit. But this act acknowledges only defeat by quickly shedding all things past in return for the elusive promise of easing a newly found torment come of worn flesh rendered from long wearied bones. The one acknowledgement that modern viewpoints will not entertain is a final curtain.