(also F. Araja). Born June 25, 1709; died circa 1770. Italian composer.
In 1729, Araia made his debut as an opera composer. From 1735 to 1759 and in 1762 he worked in Russia as court choirmaster and composer. The 1736 production in St. Petersburg of Araia’s opera The Force of Love and Hate (first staged in 1734 in Milan) was the first large-scale operatic presentation in Russia. In 1755 Araia’s opera Cephalus and Procris was staged—the first opera with an original libretto by a Russian author (A. P. Sumarokov). This presentation laid the foundation for the existence of a Russian opera company. Araia also wrote the operas Cyrus Acknowledged (1731), Artaxerxes, and The Clemency of Titus (1751). Araia’s operas, based on historical and mythological subjects and written in the traditional style of the Italian opera seria, enjoyed success in court circles. He also wrote cantatas, sonatas, and other works.
REFERENCESGozenpud, A. Muzykal’nyi teatr ν Rossii: Ot istokov do Glinki. Leningrad, 1959.
Mooser, R. A. Annales de la musique et des musiciens en Russie au XVIII siècle, vol. 1. Geneva, 1948.