Friday, November 21, 2008

The great seduction

Has there ever been a seduction to match Mozart's Don Giovanni?

Mozart does everything in his power to make his protagonist look bad - the man is a murderer, a rapist, a sadist and a sociopath; there is nothing to excuse his villainy - and then, against what should be our implacable judgment, he wins us over to the man's side by force of music alone. How can we fault Elvira for being seduced by him when we ourselves sit chuckling at his exploits - exploits whose resultant misery we have heard expressed, in the most soulful terms the human voice is capable of, a mere half hour ago?

And who but Mozart could make us admire a man condemned to an eternity in the torments of hell? For this is Don Giovanni's (and Mozart's) greatest seduction, his final revenge: that as the curtain comes down on the pious voices of Anna, Ottavio, Elvira, Zerlina, Masetto and Leporello condemning the villain to perdition, it is that very villain's voice we miss. For who would not rather be the tormented yet defiant Don, than these insufferable goody two-shoes with their proper, anemic lives?

1 comment:

Space Bar said...

you should actually have a tag for Mozart. then every time you listen to something you can dash off a post and they can all be found at the end of one click and i don't have to keep going back to momus to hunt 'em down.