RECOMMENDATIONS FOR FURTHER READING

ABOUT DA PONTE
Lorenzo Da Ponte, MEMOIRS
Written in his old age, a recounting of the life of a wanderer, tinged with bitterness at how fortune treated him.
Sheila Hodges, LORENZO DA PONTE: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF MOZART’S LIBRETTIST
Sympathetic biography that views Da Ponte as a man forced to adapt to changing circumstances throughout his life, not as an adventurer and rogue.
Rodney Bolt, THE LIBRETTIST OF VENICE: THE REMARKABLE LIFE OF LORENZO DA PONTE, MOZART’S POET, CASANOVA’S FRIEND, AND ITALIAN OPERA’S IMPRESARIO IN AMERICA
Colorful biography with plenty of cultural background detail.
MOZART BIOGRAPHIES
Robert Spaethling (ed.), MOZART’S LETTERS, MOZART’S LIFE: SELECTED LETTERS
Nicely annotated selection of Mozart’s letters, newly translated by the editor. None of the replies from the composer’s correspondents are included, but nevertheless, a good introduction to Mozart in his own words.
Emily Anderson (ed.), THE LETTERS OF WOLFGANG MOZART AND HIS FAMILY
The only complete collection of the letters in English translation. Includes correspondence of all of the Mozart family members.
Peter Gay, MOZART: A LIFE
Informative short survey of the composer’s life, written by an expert on the Enlightenment. Part of the Penguin Lives series.
Julian Rushton, COFFEE WITH MOZART
A fun little book in which Julian Rushton, an eminent Mozart scholar, imagines a coffee date with the composer, who is near the end of his life.
Maynard Solomon, MOZART: A LIFE
Award-winning biography that introduces new ideas and interpretation of the composer’s life. Mozart’s demanding father, Leopold, is the villain in this psychoanalytic approach. Ambitious readers should also read Halliwell (below) for a balanced view.
Ruth Halliwell, THE MOZART FAMILY: FOUR LIVES IN A SOCIAL CONTEXT
The biography of a family: Wolfgang Mozart; his father, Leopold; mother, Anna Maria; and sister Maria Anna (Nannerl). More sympathetic to Leopold than Solomon.
Robert Gutman, MOZART: A CULTURAL BIOGRAPHY
Places Mozart’s life and his music in the context of the intellectual, political and artistic movements of his time. Dense, but will reward the ambitious reader.
H.C. Robbins Landon, MOZART: THE GOLDEN YEARS 1781-1791
Portrait of the composer during his last ten years, when he resided in Vienna and wrote his greatest operas. Contains a wealth of illustrations.
William Stafford, THE MOZART MYTHS: A CRITICAL REASSESSMENT
A noted intellectual historian examines and debunks many of the myths that have sprung up about the composer, especially about his death.
THE OPERAS

Andrew Steptoe, THE MOZART-DA PONTE OPERAS: THE CULTURAL AND MUSICAL BACKGROUND TO LE NOZZE DI FIGARO, DON GIOVANNI, AND COSI FAN TUTTE
A must for those familiar with the three operas. Contains structural and musical analyses, and background material on the making of the operas.
Daniel Heartz, MOZART’S OPERAS
Seminal essays on the making of Mozart’s mature operas.
Wye Jamison Allanbrook, RHYTHMIC GESTURE IN MOZART
A study of dance rhythms in the music of Le Nozze di Figaro and Don Giovanni. An ability to read music is helpful, but much insight into the two operas can be gleaned even without it.
Nicholas Till, MOZART AND THE ENLIGHTENMENT: TRUTH, VIRTUE AND BEAUTY IN MOZART’S OPERAS
Treats all of the operas as expressions of Enlightenment thought. Readers with a background in the intellectual history of the eighteenth century will gain a deeper understanding of the meaning of Mozart’s works.
Jessica Waldoff, RECOGNITION IN MOZART’S OPERAS
A discussion of the dramatic trope of recognition in Mozart’s operas. A rewarding read for those who know the operas well.
Jane Glover, MOZART’S WOMEN
Part biography of the women in Mozart’s life, part analysis of the female characters of his operas. Highly recommended.
Kristi Brown-Montesano, UNDERSTANDING THE WOMEN OF MOZART’S OPERAS
Readable and fascinating analysis of the female characters in Mozart’s operas.
Tim Carter, W.A. MOZART: LE NOZZE DI FIGARO
Sets the work in the context of late eighteenth-century Europe. Includes material on the background of the opera, a musical analysis, and reception history. Part of the Cambridge Opera Handbook series.
Julian Rushton, W.A. MOZART: DON GIOVANNI
Another volume of the Cambridge Opera Handbook series; treats the Don Juan legend, analysis of the opera, its reception, and ensuing literature about the opera.
Jonathan Miller, DON GIOVANNI: MYTHS OF SEDUCTION AND BETRAYAL
A valuable collection of essays interpreting Mozart and Da Ponte’s most enigmatic opera.
Ian Woodfield, THE VIENNA DON GIOVANNI
A comparative analysis of the extant scores and libretto copies of both the Prague and Vienna versions of the opera. Only for readers with a deep familiarity with the opera and some musical background.
John Higgins, THE MAKING OF AN OPERA
A fascinating behind-the-scenes account of the staging of Peter Hall’s production of Don Giovanni at Glyndebourne in 1977.
Oscar Mandel, THE THEATRE OF DON JUAN
A collection of plays and stories written between 1630 and 1963 about the Don Juan legend.

MOZART’S AND DA PONTE’S CONTEMPORARIES

Volkmar Braunbehrens, MALIGNED MASTER: THE REAL STORY OF ANTONIO SALIERI
The life of one of the leading composers in late eighteenth century Vienna, falsely accused of a heinous crime by legend, plays and film.
Michael Kelly, REMINISCENCES OF MICHAEL KELLY, OF THE KING’S THEATRE, AND THEATRE ROYAL DRURY LANE
The adventures, travel and career of the Irish tenor. Includes charming memories of Mozart.
Ian Kelly, CASANOVA
A highly readable account of Casanova’s life, interwoven with features about eighteenth-century travel, sexual mores, and the cabbala. Contains an error about Da Ponte, but is nonetheless worthwhile.
Giacomo Casanova, HISTORY OF MY LIFE
Over one thousand pages documenting in detail Casanova’s travels, writings, adventures, and of course, his conquests.
Giacomo Casanova, MY ESCAPE FROM VENICE PRISON
A small volume relating the tale of the libertine’s escape from the prisons in the ducal palace in Venice; his most famous exploit.

HISTORICAL SETTING

Derek Beales, JOSEPH II: VOLUME 1, IN THE SHADOW OF MARIA THERESA, 1741-1780; VOLUME 2, AGAINST THE WORLD, 1780-1790
The definitive biography of Mozart’s emperor. Volume 2 is a must for background about the political world in which the composer lived and worked.
Derek Beales, ENLIGHTENMENT AND REFORM IN EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY EUROPE
A collection of articles and lectures by the biographer of Joseph II, discussing the political reforms that Enlightenment thought engendered, especially in the Habsburg Monarchy
Volkmar Braunbehrens, MOZART IN VIENNA
A fascinating description of daily life in Mozart’s Vienna, and an analysis of the role of the musician at the end of the eighteenth century.
H.C. Robbins Landon, MOZART AND VIENNA
Essays by a musical historian and expert on Mozart; the bulk of the book contains selections from Johann Pezzl’s Skizze von Wien, in which the Austrian civil servant described Mozart’s Vienna in great detail.