Complete Encyclopaedia of Music/A/Araja, Francisco

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Araja, Francisco, born at Naples in 1700, was chapel-master at St. Petersburg, in the service of the Empress Catharine. He composed several operas, and among others "Cephalo e Procris," in 1755 ; this was the first opera in the Russian language : after the representation of it, the empress made him a present of a magnificent sable skin. Araja amassed a handsome fortune, and retired to Bologna in 1759. His style was rapid, brilliant, and ingenious; his subjects were often beautiful, always varied, and never insignificant; his melody was pure and sweet, and in subordination to the voice. He not only did honor to his art by his talents and learning, but rendered it an object of general attention and interest. The names of some of Araja's operas are as follows : "Berenice," at Florence ; "Amore per regnante," at Rome ; "Abiatare," "Semiramis," "Scipione," "Arsace," and "Seleuco," at St. Petersburg.