Books: L. de Ponty's Wagon

THE LIBERTINE LIBRETTIST (292 pp.)—April FitzLyon — Abelard-Schuman ($3.75).

At 36, Lorenzo da Ponte was not only a fop but a flop. As Poet to the Imperial Theaters in Vienna, it was his duty to write librettos for "great composers," but Da Ponte had muffed the job. In 1785 he decided to collaborate with "an almost unknown, second-rate composer" named Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Joseph II was shocked by such folly, but eventually, the amiable Emperor gave his approval. The new opera was Le Nozze di Figaro. So began the greatest collaboration in operatic...

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