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The The Man Who Wrote Mozart: The Extraordinary Life of Lorenzo Da Ponte by Anthony Holden (86,000 words, 35 illustrations)

“During his picaresque, chameleon career, [Da Ponte] was always on the move. Jew and Catholic, priest and womaniser, poet and bankrupt, shopkeeper and university professor, he began his long life in and around Venice and ended it in New York. It is hard to imagine a more flamboyant personal history, a gift to the biographer Anthony Holden, who relishes his subject’s sheer exuberance.” — Lucasta Miller,
The Guardian

“Lorenzo da Ponte was, at various times, a Catholic priest, a gambler, a philanderer, an entrepreneur, a poet, a friend of Casanova, an enemy of the Venetian state, a teacher, a shopkeeper, a courtier and a troublemaker. The tangled yarn of his life would be worth spinning even had he not also written the libretto for Mozart’s three greatest operas. In The Man Who Wrote Mozart, Anthony Holden unravels the full nine decades of Da Ponte’s picaresque life, eight of which did not involve his friend Wolfgang... Holden’s narrative verve spans continents and centuries. His life of Da Ponte is engrossing and bound to be definitive.” — Rafael Behr,
The Guardian

“[T]he writer who evokes Mozart’s world most vividly - albeit obliquely - is the journalist and music critic Anthony Holden... Da Ponte’s life... is certainly a rollicking yarn... a riproaring read.” — Hugh Canning,
Sunday Times

“Anthony Holden writes extremely well, telling the racy story energetically... He provides a rattlingly good read, filled with vivid anecdotes.” — Nicholas Kenyon,

“Anthony Holden steers through this incredible picaresque story with elan, well paced gusto and a gentle, if not uncritical, eye... Anthony Holden’s book is a fine achievement.” —
The Oldie

“Anthony Holden’s... biography, brings assiduous new research to Da Ponte’s early and late life and tells his story in journalistic deadpan.” — Robert Thicknesse,
The Tablet

“Holden’s companionable new biography is a refreshing take on an old story.” — Alexander Waugh,
Mail on Sunday

“[E]ntertaining.” —
The Herald

“He writes with a sincere enthusiasm about the creative partnership with Mozart.” — Jonathan Keates,
Sunday Telegraph

“The trajectory of Lorenzo Da Ponte’s life was remarkable.” —
London Review of Books

“This is a tale of a literary adventurer, full of mystery... Holden does his readers a favour by making his subject interesting to an audience beyond opera lovers.” —
Sunday Business Post

“[A] genuine pleasure. At turns amusing, poignant and instructive, it engagingly captures the chemistry between librettist and composer that produced those masterpieces of the operatic repertoire.” —
Irish Times

“Phew! The only problem with this sparkling biography is keeping up with the headlong pace set by what was really an extraordinary life.” —
Classic FM Magazine

“Anything biographical or musical that Anthony Holden writes is automatically worth reading, and this exquisitely written book sees him discourse eruditely on both topics.” — Alex Larman,

“Clear, impartial, accessible and concise.” — Ross Leckie,
The Times

“An enjoyable biography of a remarkable man.” —
The Sunday Times

“Anthony Holden’s compelling narrative does justice to the man and to the highs and lows of his unusually varied career.” —
Waterstone’s Books Quarterly