Plot and counterplot lie at the heart of Don Giovanni, Cosi fan tutte, and The Marriage of Figaro, the three brilliant libretti that Lorenzo Da Ponte prepared for Mozart. They were also central to Da Ponte's own extraordinary life. His Memoirs record a fantastic variety of romantic, political, and professional intrigues, and tell of meetings with a host of remarkable men. In a life that took him from the canals of Venice to the streets of New York, Da Ponte was at different times priest, professional gambler, proprietor of a bordello, political agitator, court poet, impresario, grocery store owner, and the first professor of Italian literature at Columbia University. His Memoirs, a minor classic of Italian literature, are the picaresque and engrossing story of a man of enormous talent and unsurpassed flair who was, above all, an indefatigable survivor.
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(203mm x 126mm x 30mm)
Publisher: The New York Review of Books, Inc
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UK Kirkus Review »
Priest, gambler, poet, impresario and librettist, the roles Lorenzo da Ponte encompassed in the space of his long lifetime beggar belief for their sheer variety. Born of humble background in Venice in 1749, Da Ponte was a man of undoubted talent if questionable temperament, determined to forge a dynamic career for himself. His Memoirs chart the extraordinary adventures and frequent mishaps that marked a singular life full of flamboyant travels and dramatic changes of fortune. One-time professor of literature, friend to the infamous Casanova, colleague to Mozart (for whom he scored Don Giovanni and The Marriage of Figaro), Da Ponte is a vivid if erratic chronicler, passionate about the importance of promoting Italian culture. Proving the truth of the adage that life is often stranger than fiction, Da Ponte's journey through the intrigues of 18th century Venice, his exploits in Europe and final sojourn in New York allow the patient reader a tantalizing glimpse of a colourful and exotic world. (Kirkus UK)
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Author Biography - Lorenzo Da Ponte
Lorenzo Da Ponte (1749-1838) was born Emanuele Conegliano, the son of a tanner in a Jewish ghetto near Venice. His father had the family baptized, changing their name to Da Ponte in honor of the local bishop, and enrolled his son in a seminary, where the young Da Ponte soon mastered Latin and the works of the great Italian poets. Da Ponte's long and exceptionally varied career led him across Europe and, eventually, to New York, where he died some years after opening the city's first opera house. Charles Rosen's most recent book is Piano Notes: The World of the Pianist. (November 2008)