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Georges Bizet

Biography

Born: 1838   Died: 1875   Country: France   Period: Romantic
Known for one of the world's most popular operas, Carmen, Georges Bizet deserves attention as well for other works of remarkable melodic charm. Many of his works received cool receptions on their premieres but are now considered central to the repertory of classical music.

Bizet was born in Paris on October 25, 1838, and grew up in a happy, musical family that encouraged his talents. He learned to read music at the same time he learned to
Read more read letters, and equally well. Entering the Paris Conservatory before he was ten, he earned first prize in solfčge within six months, a first prize in piano in 1852, and eventually, the coveted Prix de Rome in 1857 for his cantata Clovis et Clotilde. His teachers had included Marmontel for piano and Halévy for composition, but the greatest influence on him was Charles Gounod, of whom Bizet later said "You were the beginning of my life as an artist." Bizet himself hid away his Symphony in C, written when he was 17, feeling it was too much like its models, Gounod's symphonies. The two years spent in Rome after winning his prize, would be the only extensive time, and a greatly impressionable one, that Bizet would spend outside of Paris in his brief life. When he returned to Paris, he lost confidence in his natural talents and began to substitute dry Germanic or academic writing for his own developing idiom. He composed a one-act opera for production at the Opéra-Comique, but the theater's director engaged him to write a full-length opera instead, Les pęcheurs de perles (The Pearl Fishers). It was not a success at the time, but despite a few weaknesses, the work was revived in 1886, and its sheer beauty has earned it a respected position among the lesser-played operatic repertory. In 1863 Bizet's father bought land outside Paris where he built two bungalows, one of which Bizet frequently used as a compositional retreat. He began a friendship (apparently not a physical one) with a neighbor-woman named Céleste Mogador, a former actress, author, courtesan, circus rider, and dance-hall girl. She is said to have been the model for his masterpiece's title role of Carmen. Bizet earned his living as an accompanist and publishing house arranger. Meanwhile, he poured his creative efforts into an immense five-act opera in the grand tradition, Ivan IV, but it was never performed. This proved to be a pattern for the rest of his career. Bizet would work hard to get an opera produced, and even if he did, it would usually receive only a handful of performances. Bizet's corpus of unfinished works is large, and testifies to his unsettled existence and his difficulty in finding a place in France's notoriously hierarchical and conservative musical world. In 1869 Bizet married Genevičve Halévy, daughter of his teacher. The marriage did not turn out to be a happy one, primarily due to her family's history of mental illness. In 1872, Bizet's splendid incidental music for the play L'arlčsienne was poorly received, but when the composer assembled the music into an orchestral suite for a November performance, it found great acclaim. At last confident of his creative vision, Bizet was able to steer his final masterpiece through various obstacles, including the objections of singers and theater directors who were shocked by Carmen's subject matter. When the opera had its premiere on March 3, 1875, it was received barely well enough to hang on for future productions. Although it took audiences only a few weeks to catch on, Bizet died convinced it was a failure. Read less
Bizet: Carmen / Krasteva, Antonenko, Märzendorfer, Et Al
Release Date: 10/18/2005   Label: Euroarts  
Catalog: 2054528   Number of Discs: 1
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Bizet: L'Arlesienne Suites, Faure, Gounod / Yamada, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande
Release Date: 11/19/2013   Label: Pentatone  
Catalog: 5186358   Number of Discs: 1
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Bizet: Carmen / Kaufmann, Kasarova, Welser-Most
Release Date: 10/27/2014   Label: Decca  
Catalog: 002188409   Number of Discs: 1
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Bizet: Carmen / Welser-most, Kaufmann, Kasarova, Rey [blu-ray]
Release Date: 10/27/2014   Label: Decca  
Catalog: 002188559   Number of Discs: 1
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Bizet: L'arlésienne, Carmen - Suites / Bramall, Slovak Po
Release Date: 06/30/1992   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8550061   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Carmen: Suite no 1

Browse 1-25 of 50 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Karajan - 1980s
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002187902 Release Date: 12/09/2014   Number of Discs: 78
    Composer:  Richard Strauss,  Anton Bruckner,  Johannes Brahms,  Jacques Offenbach  ... 
    Performer:  David Bell,  José Van Dam,  Barbara Hendricks,  Gösta Winbergh  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan,  Domenico Bartolucci
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Singverein  ... 
    On sale! $259.98
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  • 2.
    Leonard Bernstein Edition - Concertos & Orchestral Works
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 301330 Release Date: 10/27/2014   Number of Discs: 80
    Composer:  Samuel Barber,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Béla Bartók  ... 
    Performer:  Isaac Stern,  Leonard Bernstein,  Harold Gomberg,  William Heim  ... 
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein,  Seiji Ozawa,  Maurice Peress
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic,  New York Philharmonic members,  Columbia Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    Recommendation
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  • 3.
    Herbert Von Karajan: 3 Classic Albums - Mozart, Bizet, Resphighi
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002120002 Release Date: 09/09/2014   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Georges Bizet,  Edvard Grieg,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Sergei Prokofiev  ... 
    Performer:  Wolfgang Meyer
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 4.
    French Opera Arias / Sonia Ganassi
    Label: Bongiovanni   Catalog: 2564 Release Date: 01/28/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Bizet,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Charles Gounod,  Ambroise Thomas  ... 
    Performer:  Sonia Ganassi
    Conductor:  Carla Delfrate
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Marchigiana Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $17.99
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  • 5.
    Karajan - 1970s
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001873702 Release Date: 09/03/2013   Number of Discs: 82
    Composer:  Arcangelo Corelli,  Francesco Manfredini,  Pietro Antonio Locatelli,  Giuseppe Torelli  ... 
    Performer:  Thomas Brandis,  Michel Schwalbé,  Karlheinz Zöller,  Edith Mathis  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan,  Hans Priem Bergrath
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Singverein,  Berlin Deutsche Oper Chorus  ... 
    CD: $313.99
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  • 6.
    Masters Of The Modern Age I: Music From The Time Of Degas, Cezanne, And Van Gogh
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8503269 Release Date: 04/30/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Edouard Lalo,  César Franck,  Emmanuel Chabrier,  Richard Wagner  ... 
    Performer:  Maria Kliegel,  Michaël Levinas,  Arnaldo Cohen,  Hidenori Komatsu  ... 
    Conductor:  Michael Halász,  Hervé Niquet,  Johannes Wildner,  Cord Garben  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Quatuor Ludwig
    On sale! $19.99
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  • 7.
    Barcarole: Favourite Orchestral Pieces
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 282752 Release Date: 04/09/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Bizet,  Jacques Offenbach,  Jules Massenet,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov  ... 
    Performer:  Hans Kalafusz
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
    CD: $7.99
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  • 8.
    La Folie Francaise [4-CD Set]
    Label: Virgin Classics   Catalog: 356292 Release Date: 02/26/2013   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Georges Bizet,  Charles Valentin Alkan,  César Franck,  Camille Saint-Saëns  ... 
    Performer:  Barbara Hendricks,  David Fray,  Maggie Cole,  Philippe Dervaux  ... 
    Conductor:  Richard Hickox,  Michel Plasson,  Jean-Bernard Pommier
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Quatuor Ebčne
    CD: $17.99
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  • 9.
    Bizet: Symphonie In C, Carmen Suite, Etc / Ozawa
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 322892 Release Date: 01/08/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Bizet
    Conductor:  Seiji Ozawa
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  ORTF National Orchestra
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  • 10.
    Bizet: Symphony In C, Carmen Suites, Petite Suite / Joeres, Ermler
    Label: Musical Concepts   Catalog: 1198 Release Date: 10/16/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Bizet
    Conductor:  Mark Ermler,  Dirk Joeres
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  West German Sinfonia
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  • 11.
    Leopold Stokowski - The Columbia Stereo Recordings
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 197115 Release Date: 09/11/2012   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Manuel de Falla,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Charles Ives  ... 
    Performer:  Shirley Verrett,  Fernando Valenti,  Anshel Brusilow,  William Kincaid  ... 
    Conductor:  Leopold Stokowski,  Gregg Smith
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra,  American Symphony Orchestra,  Schola Cantorum New York members  ... 
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  • 12.
    Bizet: Complete Orchestral Works / Batiz
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 94404 Release Date: 08/28/2012   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Georges Bizet
    Conductor:  Enrique Bátiz
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mexico Philharmonic Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 13.
    Bizet: Carmen Suite; Grieg: Peer Gynt Suite / Slatkin, Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra
    Label: Lim   Catalog: 59 Release Date: 07/17/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Bizet,  Edvard Grieg
    Conductor:  Leonard Slatkin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  St. Louis Symphony Orchestra
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  • 14.
    Arturo Toscanini - The Complete RCA Collection
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 791631 Release Date: 07/10/2012   Number of Discs: 85
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Franz Joseph Haydn  ... 
    Performer:  Eileen Farrell,  Nan Merriman,  Jan Peerce,  Norman Scott  ... 
    Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  NBC Symphony Orchestra,  Robert Shaw Chorale,  NBC Symphony Chorus  ... 
    On sale! $149.98
    CD: $69.99
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  • 15.
    Greatest Hits In Classical Music
    Label: Zyx Records   Catalog: 57031 Release Date: 07/15/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Franz Schubert,  Robert Schumann  ... 
    Performer:  Magda Bergreich,  Dieter Goldmann,  Helena Spitkova,  Peter Schmalfuss  ... 
    Conductor:  Sidney Lark,  Vladimir Petroschoff,  Ernst Delgado,  Sven Bengston  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Caspar da Salo Quartett
    CD: $12.99
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  • 16.
    Sir Thomas Beecham: French Music - Berlioz, Bizet, Delibes, Debussy, Faure, Etc.
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 9932 Release Date: 03/22/2011   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Hector Berlioz,  Georges Bizet,  Charles Gounod,  Léo Delibes  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  ORTF National Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Beecham Choral Society  ... 
    Recommendation
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  • 17.
    A Celebration Of The Spanish Guitar
    Label: Royal Philharmonic   Catalog: 15 Release Date: 07/27/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Joaquin Rodrigo,  Salvador Bacarisse,  Georges Bizet,  Federico Moreno-Torroba  ... 
    Performer:  Rolando Saad
    Conductor:  Fuat Mansurov
    CD: $17.99
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  • 18.
    Bizet: Carmen, Suites; Symphony In C
    Label: Cascavelle   Catalog: 3103 Release Date: 07/13/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Bizet
    Performer:  Dominique Descamps,  Nathalie Mule,  Jean-Francois Dion,  Samuel Coles  ... 
    Conductor:  Frédéric Lodéon
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  • 19.
    Bizet: Carmen, L'arlesienne Suites / Munch, Ansermet
    Label: London/Decca Weekend Classics   Catalog: 421632 Release Date: 04/08/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Bizet
    Conductor:  Charles Munch,  Ernest Ansermet
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmonia Orchestra,  Suisse Romande Orchestra
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 20.
    Anthology 2: Nbc So (1950-53)
    Label: Opus Kura   Catalog: 7047 Release Date: 03/09/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Bizet,  Hector Berlioz,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Engelbert Humperdinck  ... 
    Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
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  • 21.
    Waldbuhne Concert - Latin American Night
    Label: Kultur Video   Catalog: 4532 Release Date: 11/17/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Joaquin Rodrigo,  Ernesto Lecuona,  Georges Bizet,  Agustín Barrios Mangoré  ... 
    Performer:  John Williams,  Daniel Barenboim
    Conductor:  Daniel Barenboim
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
    DVD: $18.99
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  • 22.
    Bizet: Carmen Suites; Grieg / Ermler, RPO
    Label: Royal Philharmonic Masterworks   Catalog: 28020 Release Date: 09/08/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Edvard Grieg,  Georges Bizet
    Conductor:  Mark Ermler
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 23.
    Bizet: L'arlesienne, Carmen Suites / Dutoit, Montreal Sym
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 417839 Release Date: 02/18/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Bizet
    Conductor:  Charles Dutoit
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Montreal Symphony Orchestra
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 24.
    Bizet: Carmen And L'arlesienne Suites / Batiz, Mexico Po
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 93842 Release Date: 01/13/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Bizet
    Conductor:  Enrique Bátiz
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mexico Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $8.99
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  • 25.
    Toscanini Conducts Light Classics
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 6205 Release Date: 08/05/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Johannes Brahms,  Bedrich Smetana,  Camille Saint-Saëns  ... 
    Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  NBC Symphony Orchestra
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