Francesco Araja

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Francesco Domenico Araja (or Araia, Russian: Арайя) (Born: June 25, 1709, Naples, Kingdom of Sicily, died between 1762 and 1770, Bologna, States of the Church) was an Italian composer who spent 25 years in Russia and wrote at least 14 operas for the Russian Imperial Court including Tsefal i Prokris, the first opera written in the Russian language.There is another arguable information that in 1751 Araja composed an opera Титово милосердие (La Clemenza di Tito) to the Russian libretto (probably translated from Italian) by famous Russian actor and later opera composer Fyodor Volkov.


He was born and received his musical education in Naples and began to compose operas at the age of 20. His early operas were produced in the theatres of Naples, Florence, Rome, Milan and Venice. In 1735 he was invited to St. Petersburg together with a big Italian opera troupe, and became the maestro di cappella (Kapellmeister) to Empress Anne Ioanovna and later Empress Elizaveta Petrovna.

In the winter operas were usually given in a wing of Zimniy Dvorets (The Winter Palace), and in the summer time in the Theatre of Letniy Sad in the (The Summer Garden).

His La forza dell'amore e dell'odio was the first Italian opera performed in Russia. It was staged in 1736 as Сила любви и ненависти (Sila lyubvi i nenavisti - The Power of Love and Hatred) with a supplement of the Russian translation by Vasily Trediakovsky printed as a...
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