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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: L'arlésienne: Suite no 2

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.
    Lorin Maazel: The Cleveland Years - Complete Recordings
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002217602 Release Date: 11/10/2014   Number of Discs: 19
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Hector Berlioz,  Mikhail Glinka  ... 
    Performer:  Kenneth Riegel,  Lynn Harrell,  Pascal Rogé,  Ivan Davis
    Conductor:  Lorin Maazel,  Antal Doráti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra,  Detroit Symphony Orchestra
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  • 3.
    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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  • 4.
    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
    On sale! $18.98
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  • 5.
    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
    CD: $78.99
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  • 6.
    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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  • 7.
    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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  • 8.
    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  ... 
    CD: $175.49
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  • 9.
    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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  • 10.
    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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  • 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  ... 
    CD: $14.99
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  • 12.
    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  ... 
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  • 13.
    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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  • 14.
    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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  • 15.
    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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  • 16.
    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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  • 17.
    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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  • 18.
    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
    On sale! $22.98
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  • 19.
    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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  • 20.
    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  ... 
    CD: $98.99
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  • 21.
    Bergonzi, Kabaivanska, Freni, Siepi, Berganza
    Label: Fabula Classica   Catalog: 610 Release Date: 05/27/2008   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Francesco Cilča,  Giacomo Puccini,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Gioachino Rossini  ... 
    Performer:  Raina Kabaivanska,  Cesare Siepi,  Mirella Freni,  Carlo Bergonzi  ... 
    Conductor:  Nino Bonavolontŕ,  Bruno Amaducci
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana,  Italian Switzerland Radio/TV Orchestra
    On sale! $119.98
    DVD: $93.99
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  • 22.
    Bizet: Carmen Suite, L'Arlésienne Suites / Minkowski, Les Musiciens Du Louvre
    Label: Naive   Catalog: 5130 Release Date: 04/29/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Bizet
    Conductor:  Marc Minkowski
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Musiciens du Louvre,  Lyon Opera Chorus
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  • 23.
    Bizet: L' Arlésienne; La Jolie Fille De Perth Suite; Carmen Suites / Marriner, Barenboim
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 5176492 Release Date: 04/18/2008   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Georges Bizet
    Conductor:  Daniel Barenboim,  Sir Neville Marriner,  Sir Charles Mackerras,  Louis Frémaux
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestre de Paris,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
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  • 24.
    Karajan - Complete Emi Recordings 1946-84 Vol 1 - Orchestral Works
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 12038 Release Date: 04/01/2008   Number of Discs: 88
    Composer:  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Josef Strauss,  E. Nikolaus von Reznicek,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  Karl Leister,  Elisabeth Schwarzkopf,  Ernst Haefliger,  Anne-Sophie Mutter  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    On sale! $253.98
    CD: $194.99
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  • 25.
    Respighi: La Boutique Fantasque; Bizet: Jeux D'enfants, Etc
    Label: Cbs Masterworks Digital Masters   Catalog: 46508 Release Date: 03/26/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ottorino Respighi,  Georges Bizet
    Conductor:  Sir Andrew Davis
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Toronto Symphony Orchestra
    ArkivCD $16.99
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