Houston Matters

Resurrecting The Man Behind Some Of The World’s Most Famous Operas

The world premiere of The Phoenix at Houston Grand Opera chronicles the many rises and falls of librettist Lorenzo da Ponte.

The Phoenix - Banner - HGO

Lorenzo da Ponte had to start over many times in his life.

He wrote the libretti for 28 operas, including celebrated titles like Don Giovanni and The Marriage of Figaro. But different personal scandals forced him to leave Italy and start over in Austria where he found success working with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

But financial ruin there forced him to come to America and start over yet again – this time as a humble grocer.

Lorenzo da Ponte - Wikipedia
Lorenzo da Ponte wrote the libretti for operas such as Don Giovanni and The Marriage of Figaro.

But, like the mythological phoenix rising from the ashes, he rose again to notoriety establishing New York’s first opera company in 1833.

Now, fittingly, a new opera about his life, called The Phoenix, is making its world premiere at Houston Grand Opera. Five performances of the production will be held April 26 – May 10.

The Phoenix Rehearsal
Thomas Hampson and Luca Pisaroni in Houston Grand Opera’s world premiere of The Phoenix.

In the audio above, Houston Matters producer Joshua Zinn learns more about da Ponte’s life and the production from director and librettist John Caird.