The Librettist of Venice, by Rodney Bolt

Published: July 30, 2006

ORCHESTRAS, opera companies, chamber groups and solo pianists have been celebrating Mozart’s 250th birthday all year, but surprisingly few writers have aimed to capitalize on the surge of interest in the composer considered by many to be music’s greatest genius. I’m reminded of the reaction I once got from an editor when I suggested writing a group biography of the Romantic trio Clara and Robert Schumann and Johannes Brahms: “Books about musicians don’t sell!”

From ‘‘The Librettist of Venice’’ A British cartoon (1791) satirizing rival opera impresario

The Remarkable Life of Lorenzo Da Ponte, Mozart’s Poet, Casanova’s Friend, and Italian Opera’s Impresario in America.  by Rodney Bolt.   Illustrated. 428 pp. Bloomsbury. $29.95.

Mercifully, this injunction doesn’t seem to apply to the great composer’s librettists. At least not in the case of Lorenzo Da Ponte, the man who provided the texts for “Le Nozze di Figaro,” “Don Giovanni” and “Così Fan Tutte.” Already two biographies have appeared in 2006: Anthony Holden’s “Man Who Wrote Mozart,” so far available only in a British edition, and Rodney Bolt’s engaging “Librettist of Venice,” which found a publisher capable of peddling the book on both sides of the Atlantic.

The Librettist of Venice, by Rodney Bolt – The New York Times Book Review – New York Times.

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