Lorenzo Da Ponte: The Life and Times of Mozart's Librettist

Sheila Hodges, Author Granada $22.5 (274p) ISBN 978-0-87663-489-9
Readers of this engaging biography may be surprised to learn that Da Ponte, Mozart's librettist, opened a grocer's shop in New York in 1805, then went on to become professor of Italian at Columbia University and a champion of opera in the New World. Born Emanuele Conegliano of Jewish parents, baptized at age 14, Da Ponte was banished from Venice as a licentious priest. Wherever he wentVenice, Vienna, London, New Yorkhe arrived an almost penniless fugitive and built up a new life. Though he wrote or adapted nearly 50 libretti for Salieri, Mozart and other composers, it was Mozart's unrivaled genius that he recognized and helped promote, and if he was not a great poet, he was nevertheless an ideal creative partner. Hodges (Gollancz: The Story of a Publishing House, with the aid of much archival research, rescues Da Ponte from the lingering image of disreputable libertine and shows us a lover of language, a scholar, contradictory, big-hearted, as swift and many-sided as his libretti. (June 15)
Reviewed on: 02/01/1986
Release date: 02/01/1986
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 296 pages - 978-0-299-17874-1
Open Ebook - 298 pages - 978-0-299-17873-4
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