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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.
Amid debt and bankruptcy, Da Ponte left Europe and settled in the United States. Da Ponte moved to New York first, then Sunbury, Pennsylvania, where he briefly ran a grocery shop, worked as a distiller, and gave private Italian and French lessons. He returned to New York to open a book shop.
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