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The subject of this pictorial and textual monograph is the relationship between opera and the enlightenment in Josephine Vienna of the 1780s. At that time Lorenzo Da Ponte was a poet at the imperial theater and wrote many librettos for the opera stage, including the three great operas for Mozart that form the heart of this volume: Le nozze di Figaro, Don Giovanni, and Così fan tutte .

The book emerged from three exhibitions mounted by the Da Ponte Institute in the Mahler Room of the Vienna State Opera. A rare amalgam of pictures, quotations, and explanatory notes that sheds new light on this exciting decade.

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