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The Man Who Wrote Mozart: The Many Lives of Lorenzo Da Ponte: The Extraordinary Life Of Lorenzo Da Ponte [Paperback]

Anthony Holden

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4 Jan 2007

In June 1805, a 56-year-old Italian immigrant disembarked in Philadelphia carrying only a violin. Before dying in New York 23 years later he would find New World respectability as the first Professor of Italian at Columbia University. For now, he set up shop as a grocer.

There was always an air of mystery about the Abbé Lorenzo da Ponte. A scholarly poet, teacher and priest, with a devoted wife, he also had a reputation as a womanizer. Da Ponte charmed all he met, pioneering the place of Italian music in American life. But his self-assurance also excited mistrust. When the first Italian opera was performed in New York in 1825, he had the nerve to claim he had written it. Like the memoirs he had recently written, to pay off more debts, the old man was so full of tall stories...

The many lives of Lorenzo da Ponte - librettist of Mozart's three great operas, The Marriage of Figaro, Don Giovanni and Cosi Fan Tutte - begin in Venice, linger in Vienna and London and ends in New York, where today he lies buried in an unmarked grave in the world's largest cemetery.

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Anything biographical or musical that Anthony Holden writes is automatically worth reading, and this exquisitely written book sees him dicourse eruditely on both topics. (Alex Larman OBSERVER)

Clear, impartial, accessible and concise (Ross Leckie THE TIMES)

An enjoyable biography of a remarkable man (THE SUNDAY TIMES)

Book Description

The many and varied lives of Lorenzo da Ponte - librettist of Mozart's three greatest operas.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Long and Fascinating Life 17 Oct 2007
By Marcella Campbell - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a highly readable book about a man whose name is very familiar to music lovers, even if details of his life are not so well-known. Probably the most enjoyable sections of the book deal with his working with Mozart, who is by far the more interesting of the duo, but his later life when he was living in America is certainly unexpected and surprising. The book reads rather like a modern stage biography of a man who knew everyone who was anyone.
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