Biography / Music


Lorenzo Da Ponte
The Life and Times of Mozart's Librettist
Sheila Hodges
FOREWORD BY H. C. ROBBINS LANDON



"Hodges . . . shows us a lover of language, a scholar, contradictory, big-hearted, as swift and many-sided as his libretti."—Publishers Weekly


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.

"Anyone with literary, biographical, musical, or historical interests will delight in this well-written and vivid portrayal of a multifaceted man."—John Greenhalgh, Classical Music

"Hodges, with the aid of much archival research . . . shows us a lover of language, a scholar, contradictory, big-hearted, as swift and many-sided as his libretti."—Publishers Weekly

Sheila Hodges is a writer living in London and author of eight books, as well as articles published in Opera Quarterly, Music Review, and other journals. She was formerly in charge of the editorial department at the publishing house of Victor Gollancz, where she edited all of Daphne du Maurier's books in the last forty years of the author's life.


April 2002
288 pp.      18 b/w photos     6 x 9
ISBN 0-299-17874-9  Paper $19.95 t

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