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Lorenzo Da Ponte

The Life and Times of Mozart’s Librettist

Sheila Hodges

Publication Year: 2002

Three of the greatest operas ever written—The Marriage of Figaro, Don Giovanni, and Così fan tutte—join the exquisite music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart with the perfectly matched libretti of Lorenzo Da Ponte. Da Ponte’s own long life (1749–1838), however, was more fantastic than any opera plot. A poor Jew who became a Catholic priest; a priest who became a young gambler and rake; a teacher, poet, and librettist of genius who became a Pennsylvania greengrocer; an impoverished immigrant to America who became professor of Italian at Columbia University—wherever Da Ponte went, he arrived a penniless fugitive and made a new and eventful life. Sheila Hodges follows him from the last glittering years of the Venetian Republic to the Vienna of Mozart and Salieri, and from George III’s London to New York City.

Published by: University of Wisconsin Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. v

List of Illustrations

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pp. vii

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pp. ix-x

The collaboration between Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Lorenzo Da Ponte has often, and rightly, been compared to that between Richard Strauss and Hugo von Hofmannsthal; but whereas the latter collaboration is admirably documented, 1 about the former we have only the tangible results in three of the greatest operas of all time ...

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pp. xi-xiv

If, a century and a half after his death, Lorenzo Da Ponte could return to earth, it is likely that he would have mixed feelings about his twentieth-century image. First and foremost, though he would be astonished that the operas of Salieri, Martin y Soler and Winter, so famous in their day, are now virtually forgotten, and the libretti ...

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Lorenzo Da Ponte

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pp. 1-223

On the 24th day of August 1763, 8t Bartholomew's Day, the small town of Ceneda, lying about 60 kilometres north of Venice, was filled with the sound of rejoicing. First a salvo of cannon thundered from the Monte di 8. Paolo, which rises steeply above the houses; the five bells of the cathedral rang out in response; and the bells of ...

Chronological Table of the Main Events of Da Ponte's Life

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pp. 224-225

Da Ponte's Works

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pp. 226-235


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pp. 236-238

Notes and References

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pp. 239-249


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pp. 250-257


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pp. 258-266


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pp. 267-274

E-ISBN-13: 9780299178734
Print-ISBN-13: 9780299178741

Publication Year: 2002