By Ed Hirschmann
The world-renowned composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart had as a partner a shadowy librettist, Lorenzo Da Ponte, for three of his finest operas. The story of Da Ponte was told to a Broadmead audience recently by Ernest Liotti, musicologist and Peabody Institute lecturer, under the sponsorship of Open Forum.
The three operas by Da Ponte were Don Giovanni, The Marriage of Figaro, and Cosi fan tutte ("Thus Do They All" or "The School for Lovers"), with all the librettos in Italian.
Mozart wrote most of his operas in German, the language of the people. Da Ponte was actually a foundling who took his bishop's name in 1749. Expelled from Venice as a youth, he moved to Vienna, where he was briefly court poet and worked with Mozart.
His wandering took him to London, Sunbury, PA, and New York, where he helped introduce Italian opera. He died in 1838, but his descendants remain in America to this day.