Suffering from an abscessed gum — the story goes — Da Ponte sought relief from Dr.
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Doriguti, a physician who had fallen in love with a woman who preferred Da Ponte. Seizing this opportunity to eliminate his handsome rival, the doctor prescribed a mouthwash of nitric acid. Abandoned by friends. Da Ponte fled to America where he hoped his run of bad luck had run its course.
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The foremost librettist in the world began life in the New World as a grocer in Elizabeth, New Jersey. They fell into friendly conversation, and Da Ponte impressed Moore with his easy familiarity with the classics and fluent Hebrew and German.
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A friendship quickly ripened between the two men, and with introductions from the socially prominent Moore, Da Ponte was soon being lionized by the literary elite of the city. After devoting a few years to teaching private classes in Italian, in Da Ponte won an appointment at Columbia College. When the Italian Opera Company arrived in the city that year, the just appointed professor organized and promoted the first operas performed in America.
Taking advantage of the quickening enthusiasm for all things Italian, Da Ponte established a relationship with the New York Society Library and founded the Italian Library Society there.
Society Library for the permanent use of L. A number of these subscribers were also diligently studying Italian with Da Ponte.
Shares were sold for five dollars, most subscribers buying one or two Gulian C. Several were bought by Columbia professors, among them Clement Moore, who had been a trustee of the New York Society Library since Lorenzo Da Ponte himself purchased a share, setting a good example and entitling him to such privileges of membership as checking out books.
Da Ponte has taken away all of the books he has deposited in the Library from time to time — excepting those sold to the Italian Library Society. These books were absorbed into the New York Society Library where they remain to this day. Clement C. Moore, Gulian C.
Verplanck, and John I.
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