Traetta, Tommaso



Italian dramatic composer; born at Bitonto, in the kingdom of Naples. He became the pupil of Durante at the Conservatorio di Santa Maria di Loreto at Naples in 1838, studying there for about ten years, and on leaving devoting himself to teaching, singing and composition for various churches of Naples. In 1750 he produced his first opera, Farnace, at the  San Carlo Theatre. In 1759 he was appointed maestro di cappella to the Duke of Parma and singing teacher to the Princesses. Among the operas he wrote for the Ducal Theatre at Parma were Ippolito ed Aricia, which on its production at the wedding of Princesses Maria Luisa with Charles II. of Spain, procured its author a life pension. After the death of the Duke at Parma, Traetta went to Venice in 1765 and became principal of the Conservatorio dell' Ospedaletto, a position which he held until 1768, when he went to St. Petersburg to fill Galuppi's position as composer to Catherine II. The Russian climate so impaired his health that in 1775 he resigned his position and in 1776 went to London, but returned to Italy the same year. He died in Venice three years later. Although a peculiarly conceited man his work enjoyed the praises of such artists as Burney and dementi, and such poets as Goldoni. Mestatasio wrote librettos for him. Among the many operas he wrote are L'Olimpiade; Ippolito ed Aricia; Antigono; Semiramide riconosciuta; L'isola disabilata; Eneu nel Lazio; Buono d'Antona and many others, besides early masses, vespers, and other church-music.