Da Ponte, Lorenzo

Da Ponte, Lorenzo

biographical name

(born March 10, 1749, Céneda, near Treviso, Veneto—died Aug. 17, 1838, New York, N.Y., U.S.) Italian poet and librettist. When his Jewish father converted to marry a Roman Catholic, he adopted the name of the local bishop. He took priestly orders in 1768, while teaching literature and publishing poetry. At odds with the authorities for his progressive views, he was expelled from the Venetian republic in 1779 for adultery. In 1783 he was appointed court poet for Vienna's Italian theatre. There he wrote a remarkable series of more than 40 opera librettos, including the masterpieces The Marriage of Figaro (1786), Don Giovanni (1787), and Così fan tutte (1790) for Wolfgang A. Mozart. Court intrigue forced him to leave Vienna in 1791. He settled in New York in 1805, taught at Columbia College, wrote his colourful memoirs, and helped establish Italian opera in the city.


Da Ponte, Lorenzo orig. Emanuele Conegliano

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