Lorenzo Da Ponte
Da Ponte was born Emanuele Conegliano to Jewish parents near Venice, Italy. He converted to Roman Catholicism and took the name Lorenzo Da Ponte from the Bishop who baptized him. He was ordained a priest and was installed at the church of San Luca in Venice. He took Anzoletta Bellaudi as his mistress. They ran a brothel. Da Ponte was banished from Venice for 15 years. He went to Austria where he became court librettist to Emperor Joseph II.
About 1792, Da Ponte married Ann Celestine Grahl. They had four children. When Joseph II died, Da Ponte lost his job. He settled in London. He ran into debt, and went to the United States. He ran a grocery store in Pennsylvania for a short time. He moved to New York City and opened a bookstore. He was appointed the first professor of Italian literature at Columbia College. He produced Mozart's Don Giovanni in New York. In 1828, Da Ponte became a naturalized US citizen.
Da Ponte died in 1838 in New York. His funeral was held in New York's old St. Patrick's Cathedral. His final resting place is uncertain. All of Da Ponte's works were adaptations of pre-existing plots, except L'arbore di Diana and Così fan tutte. His adaptations are of the highest order. The Don Giovanni character was given new life in Da Ponte's hands. The character is now regarded as the archetypical libertine.
- Acocella, Joan, "Nights At The Opera: The Life of the Man who put Words to Mozart", The New Yorker, 8 January 2007
- Holden, Anthony, “The phoenix”, ‘’The Guardian’’ (London), 7 January 2007
- Keats, Jonathan, "Lorenzo's Toil: How the Son of an Impoverished Leatherworker Came to Write Mozart's Libretti", Washington Post, 16 July 2006 — book review
- "Lorenzo Da Ponte". Catholic Encyclopedia. (1913). New York: Robert Appleton Company.