Have you read the reviews today in the papers about Placido Domingo's role as The Doge in Verdi's opera 'Simon Boccanegar'? The performance is given five stars, as is the whole opera because the rest of the company - with a star in their midst - rise to the occasion.
Domingo has been a 'star' for forty years but now as he reaches seventy (and has an operation to prevent colon cancer)people are wondering whether or not he should retire. His response is to say 'if I rest I rust' and he has bookings well into next year. But as with all ageing 'stars' or, for that matter, all ageing TV programmes, it is difficult to know when to stop.
Pavarotti carried on well after his voice had begun to deteriorate and well after his weight had become almost unmanageable; Maria Callas became a shadow of her former self during her last few years. And yet of course we have wonderful actors like Timothy West, Judi Dench,Vanessa Redgrave and the like who carry on regardless.
So - what do you think about this? What brought on this train of thought was seeing Federer lose his match yesterday afternoon at Wimbledon.
How are the mighty fallen? The Times says, and I had already thought the same, that he was rather ungracious in defeat - blaming his back injury rather than having the good grace to praise his opponent Berdych.
Then reading about Domingo in the Times this morning it brought the issue of retirment into my thoughts.
Some television programmes have gone on far too long - Last of the Summer Wine springs to mind - and should have been dropped while they were fresh and funny rather than struggling on until they are dull and predictable. Dawn French had the good sense with 'The Vicar of Dibley' to pull out after a couple of series while everyone was clamouring for more.
So dear bloggers, what is the answer here? I suppose we can relate it to ourselves because this idea of when to stop does not just apply to stars, does it? After all, stopping does not necessarily mean rusting as Domingo suggests. It really means taking stock of oneself, realising one's limitations and adjusting one's life accordingly. I am not suggesting Domingo sit back and take up tapestry work, or Federer taking up violin lessons. There is usually a role for such people on TV - witness Pat Cash (with his fabulous earring) and Boris Becker (I never see him without being reminded of the incident in the broom cupboard)giving fantastic commentary on yesterday' tennis.
Is there a firm answer? I would love to hear your views on the subject - the wider the viewpoint the better. And while we are on the subject only somebody as masculine and as sexy as Pat Cash could get away with a ruby and diamond cross hanging from his left ear!