Friday, 18 June 2010
Forrester and Saramago: Two Stars Leave the Firmament, One after Years of Sad Decline, the Other, Still Brilliant
Two great artists left the scene this week: the Canadian contralto Maureen Forrester and the Portuguese writer José Saramago. As a way of memoria, here are two videos which give a taste of their accomplishment: Forrester sings, directed by another Canadian legend, Glenn Gould, and Saramago, who only began publishing novels in his 50s, after he had won the Nobel Prize and sees the movie made from one of his most celebrated novels: Blindness.
Both of them were born into humble circumstances, but both accomplished much. That should inspiration to us all, although their lives ended in starkly contrasting fashion. Sadly, Forrester declined into dementia, exacerbated by alcoholism, so that in her last years her voice was stilled. Saramago's literary production grew as he aged, however. He even experimented with a blog in recent years.
How much of this difference in final years is luck? How much, the result of striving, striving, striving so long that part of one's soul is worn away? I don't know, but we should be grateful for the pleasure they gave, and, thankfully, will continue to give us.
Posted by Mary Soderstrom