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Lorenzo Da Ponte (1749–1838) wrote the words for 28 operas by 11 composers, including three of Mozart's greatest - Don Giovanni, The Marriage of Figaro and Così fan tutte. But this librettist's own life was scandalous enough to make an opera in its own right.
Lorenzo Da Ponte was born Emanuele Conegliano in the Republic of Venice. He was Jewish by birth but in 1764, his widowed father converted himself and his sons to Roman Catholicism in order to remarry. Emanuele took his new name of Lorenzo Da Ponte from the Bishop who baptised him.
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