Happy New Year! In hopes that 2021 will be far more promising than its predecessor, I thought it would be a great idea to start the year by ...

Sunbury, Pennsylvania Looks to Celebrate Former Resident, Lorenzo Da Ponte


Happy New Year! In hopes that 2021 will be far more promising than its predecessor, I thought it would be a great idea to start the year by announcing an anticipated project.  

In September, I made inquiries to Sunbury, Pennsylvania concerning former resident Lorenzo Da Ponte. Between 1805 and 1838, he lived in Sunbury for seven years (1811-1818) and in New York City the remaining years. Too few realize that the Italian poet and librettist, best known for collaborating with Mozart on three of his greatest operas (Le nozze di Figaro, Don Giovanni and Cosi fan tutte) traversed the Atlantic to live the last three decades of his life in the United States. 

Read my 2020 article: Building Recognition for Lorenzo Da Ponte's American Legacy.

Working alongside Da Ponte's great-great-great-great grandson Clay Alder and family has been one of my most treasured professional honors. And this is a part of that continuing effort. With New York City being the primary focus of Da Ponte's stateside biography, I've been keen to gauge Sunbury's interest in creating more awareness of his local story. On a personal note, Da Ponte's connection to the Keystone State is all the more special to me given that I'm a native of the neighboring state of Ohio. You can't imagine my reaction when I discovered that Mozart's librettist once lived across the border! 

In addition to receiving locally sourced material from Northumberland County Historical Society's President Cindy Inkrote, I couldn't have imagined a better response from City Administrator Jody Ocker: "So very pleased to hear from you! The timing couldn't be more serendipitous..." She said that they were in the early stages of planning Sunbury's 250th anniversary celebration in 2022 and thought it would be a wonderful idea to include Da Ponte in the festivities. We corresponded earlier this month and the planning committee will meet again soon.

And perhaps as another fortuitous sign, last month I was invited by my friend and colleague Greta Di Raimondo to join the Associazione Mozart Italia - Sede di Venezia (Mozart Italy Association - Venice) as a member of their international team! Greta was recently installed as their President and represents the exciting future of the organization. Indeed, this is a timely gift from the city of Da Ponte's birth. To have AMI's partnership and support will most certainly strengthen future initiatives concerning their native son in his adopted country. 

Sherry

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