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: The Pearl Fishers Highlights In English / Cohen
Release Date: 09/30/2008   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 3156   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: L'arlésienne: Suite no 1

Browse 1-25 of 65 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Karajan: Orchestra Spectaculars From Handel To Bartok
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 633621 Release Date: 05/27/2014   Number of Discs: 13
    Composer:  Jean Sibelius,  Benjamin Britten,  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  George Frideric Handel  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 2.
    Bizet: L'Arlesienne Suites, Faure, Gounod / Yamada, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande
    Label: Pentatone   Catalog: 5186358 Release Date: 11/19/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Bizet,  Gabriel Fauré,  Charles Gounod
    Conductor:  Kazuki Yamada
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Orchestra
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  • 3.
    Classiques Francais - Works By Dukas, Bizet, Francaix, Ravel / Clamor
    Label: Genuin Musikproduction   Catalog: 13291 Release Date: 10/29/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Paul Dukas,  Georges Bizet,  Maurice Ravel,  Jean Françaix
    Performer:  Sven Geipel
    Conductor:  Thomas Clamor
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  • 4.
    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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  • 5.
    Mercury Living Presence - The Collector's Edition Vol 2
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001831802 Release Date: 06/04/2013   Number of Discs: 55
    Composer:  Arnold Schoenberg,  Anton Webern,  Alban Berg,  Ottorino Respighi  ... 
    Performer:  Helga Pilarczyk,  Yehudi Menuhin,  Mihaly Székely,  Olga Szönyi  ... 
    Conductor:  Antal Doráti,  Rafael Kubelik,  Anatole Fistoulari,  Frederick Fennell  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra,  Philharmonia Hungarica  ... 
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  • 6.
    Bizet: Carmen Suites, L'arlesienne Suites / Bernstein, New York Philharmonic
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 5478012 Release Date: 03/26/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Bizet
    Performer:  Julius Baker,  William Vacchiano,  David Nadien
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
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  • 7.
    Bizet: Symphony In C Major, Etc / Fruhbeck De Burgos, Et Al
    Label: Regis   Catalog: 1191 Release Date: 01/29/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Bizet
    Conductor:  Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos,  Dirk Joeres,  Barry Wordsworth
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  West German Sinfonia
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  • 8.
    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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  • 9.
    Bizet: Complete Orchestral Works / Batiz, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
    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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  • 10.
    Arturo Toscanini - The Complete RCA Collection [84 CDs + DVD]
    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  ... 
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  • 11.
    Label: Zyx Records   Catalog: 7 Release Date: 06/01/2012   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Anton Rubinstein,  Bedrich Smetana,  Antonín Dvorák,  Niccolň Paganini  ... 
    Performer:  Michael Ponti,  Iwan Czerkow,  Dubravka Tomsic,  Ivan Cerkov  ... 
    Conductor:  Othmar M. F. Mága,  Heribert Beissel,  Vladimir Petroschoff,  Alfred Scholz  ... 
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  • 12.
    Albeniz, Ravel, Chabrier, Bizet / Jean Morel
    Label: Eloquence   Catalog: 4801305 Release Date: 11/08/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Isaac Albeniz,  Maurice Ravel,  Emmanuel Chabrier,  Georges Bizet
    Conductor:  Jean Paul Morel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Paris Conservatoire Orchestra,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra
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  • 13.
    Sir Thomas Beecham: French Music - Berlioz, Bizet, Delibes, Debussy, Faure, Etc.
    Label: Emi 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  ... 
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  • 14.
    Bizet: Complete Piano Music / Julia Severus
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8570831-32 Release Date: 02/22/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Georges Bizet
    Performer:  Julia Severus
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  • 15.
    L'amour Et La Mort - Widor, Saint-saens, Bizet, Faure / Iveta Apkalna
    Label: Oehms   Catalog: 678 Release Date: 02/22/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Charles-Marie Widor,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Georges Bizet,  Gabriel Fauré
    Performer:  Iveta Apkalna
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  • 16.
    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
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  • 17.
    Bizet: Suites, Symphony; Turina: Danzas Fantasticas / Ansermet
    Label: Eloquence   Catalog: 4800457 Release Date: 03/16/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Georges Bizet,  Joaquin Turina
    Conductor:  Ernest Ansermet
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Orchestra
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  • 18.
    Dvorak: Slavonic Dances; Bizet: L'Arlesienne Suite / Davis
    Label: Cbs Masterworks Digital Masters   Catalog: 46504 Release Date: 11/17/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonín Dvorák,  Georges Bizet
    Conductor:  Sir Andrew Davis
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Toronto Symphony Orchestra
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  • 19.
    Bizet: Symphony In C, L'arlesienne Suites / Delacote, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
    Label: Royal Philharmonic Masterworks   Catalog: 28480 Release Date: 11/10/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Bizet
    Conductor:  Jacques Delacôte
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 20.
    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
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  • 21.
    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
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  • 22.
    Bizet: Symphony In C Major, Etc; Debussy: Children's Corner / Leopold Stokowski
    Label: Cala Records   Catalog: 548 Release Date: 10/14/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Georges Bizet
    Conductor:  Leopold Stokowski
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leopold Stokowski Orchestra
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  • 23.
    Bizet: L'Arlesienne Suites 1 & 2, Carmen Suite / Chung, Bastille Opera Orchestra
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 471736 Release Date: 09/23/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Bizet
    Conductor:  Myung-Whun Chung
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Paris Opéra-Bastille Orchestra
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  • 24.
    Bizet: L'arlesienne Suites, Symphony / Dutoit, Montreal Symphony
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 475190 Release Date: 09/02/2008  
    Composer:  Georges Bizet
    Conductor:  Charles Dutoit
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Montreal Symphony Orchestra
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  • 25.
    Basics 25-cd Boxset
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 186002 Release Date: 07/08/2008   Number of Discs: 25
    Composer:  Hector Berlioz,  Georges Bizet,  Johannes Brahms,  Frédéric Chopin  ... 
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