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 solfège 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 pêcheurs 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 Geneviève 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'arlèsienne 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: Carmen

Browse 1-25 of 99 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Leonard Bernstein Collection Vol 1 [59 CDs & 1 DVD]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 2027800 Release Date: 04/22/2014   Number of Discs: 60
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Leonard Bernstein,  Benjamin Britten  ... 
    Performer:  René Kollo,  Dame Gwyneth Jones,  Kurt Moll,  Hanna Schwarz  ... 
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein,  Michael Tilson Thomas,  Kent Nagano
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna State Opera Concert Choir,  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra  ... 
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  • 2.
    Bizet: Carmen / Castles-onion, Shaham, Popov, Swadivong, Jones, Car
    Label: Opera Australia   Catalog: 56042 Release Date: 11/19/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Bizet
    Performer:  Andrew Jones,  Dmitri Popov,  Rinat Shaham,  Nicole Car  ... 
    Conductor:  Brian Castles-Onion
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra,  Opera Australia Chorus
    DVD: $29.99
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  • 3.
    Bizet: Carmen / Castles-onion, Shaham, Popov, Swadivong, Jones, Car
    Label: Opera Australia   Catalog: 56043 Release Date: 11/19/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Bizet
    Performer:  Nicole Car,  Rinat Shaham,  Dmitri Popov,  Andrew Jones  ... 
    Conductor:  Brian Castles-Onion
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra,  Opera Australia Chorus
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  • 4.
    Bizet: Carmen / Jordan, Von Otter, Glyndebourne Festival
    Label: Opus Arte   Catalog: 6011 Release Date: 10/29/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Georges Bizet
    Performer:  Anne Sofie von Otter,  Lisa Milne,  Marcus Haddock,  Laurent Naouri
    Conductor:  Philippe Jordan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Glyndebourne Festival Chorus
    DVD: $19.99
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  • 5.
    Bizet: Carmen / Karajan, Di Stefano, Simionato
    Label: La Scala   Catalog: 10 Release Date: 10/29/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Georges Bizet
    Performer:  Rosanna Carteri,  Giuseppe Modesti,  Giuseppe Di Stefano,  Michel Roux  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus
    CD: $39.99
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  • 6.
    Essential Opera Collection [19 DVDs]
    Label: Opus Arte   Catalog: 6000 Release Date: 10/29/2013   Number of Discs: 19
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Jacques Offenbach  ... 
    Performer:  Ruggero Raimondi,  Daniela Dessi,  Fabio Armiliato,  Lorenzo Regazzo  ... 
    Conductor:  Maurizio Benini,  Victor Pablo Pérez,  Sylvain Cambreling,  Edward Downes  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Madrid Teatro Real Orchestra,  Madrid Teatro Real Chorus,  Paris National Opera Chorus  ... 
    DVD: $148.99
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  • 7.
    Bizet: Carmen / Paternostro, Pantos, Murgu, Otelli, Ferretti
    Label: United Classics   Catalog: 2012062 Release Date: 08/27/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Georges Bizet
    Performer:  Claudio Otelli,  Fiamma Izzo d'Amico,  Peter Van Den Berg,  Marcin Bronikowski  ... 
    Conductor:  Roberto Paternostro
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stuttgart State Opera Chorus,  Stuttgart State Opera Children's Chorus,  Württemberg Philharmonie Reutlingen
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  • 8.
    Label: Urania   Catalog: 11918 Release Date: 07/16/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Georges Bizet
    Performer:  Graziella Sciutti,  Mario Carlin,  Nicolai Gedda,  Giulietta Simionato  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
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  • 9.
    Bizet: Carmen (Sung In German) / Ludwig, Prey, Schock, Stein
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 123002 Release Date: 04/02/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Georges Bizet
    Performer:  Melitta Muszely,  Hermann Prey,  Christa Ludwig,  Rudolf Schock
    Conductor:  Horst Stein
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Deutsche Oper Chorus,  Schoneberg Boys Choir,  Berlin Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $24.99
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  • 10.
    Bizet: Carmen / Plasson, Gheorghiu, Alagna, Mula, Hampson
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 359402 Release Date: 03/26/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Georges Bizet
    Performer:  Angela Gheorghiu,  Roberto Alagna,  Inva Mula-Tchako,  Thomas Hampson  ... 
    Conductor:  Michel Plasson
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Toulouse Capitole Orchestra,  Les Elements Chamber Choir,  La Lauzeta
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  • 11.
    Andrea Bocelli - The Complete Opera Edition [18 CD-Set]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001769302 Release Date: 11/19/2012   Number of Discs: 18
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Georges Bizet,  Umberto Giordano,  Ruggero Leoncavallo  ... 
    Performer:  Paolo Gavanelli,  Barbara Frittoli,  Andrea Bocelli,  Mario Luperi  ... 
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta,  Myung-Whun Chung,  Marco Armiliato,  Steven Mercurio  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Israel Philharmonic Orchestra,  Florence Maggio Musicale Orchestra,  Florence Maggio Musicale Chorus  ... 
    CD: $212.99
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  • 12.
    Bizet: Carmen / Rattle, Kozena, Kaufmann, Smoriginas, Kuhmeier
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 40285 Release Date: 10/22/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Georges Bizet
    Performer:  Rachel Frenker,  Christina Landshamer,  Andre Schuen,  Kostas Smoriginas  ... 
    Conductor:  Simon Rattle
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin Deutsche Oper Chorus
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  • 13.
    Michel Plasson & L'Opera Francais [38-CD Set]
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 36363 Release Date: 10/09/2012   Number of Discs: 38
    Composer:  Albéric Magnard,  Jules Massenet,  Charles Gounod,  Jacques Offenbach  ... 
    Performer:  Nadine Denize,  Gary Lakes,  José Van Dam,  Hildegard Behrens  ... 
    Conductor:  Michel Plasson
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Toulouse Capitole Orchestra,  Orféon Donostiarra,  Toulouse Capitole Chorus  ... 
    On sale! $158.98
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  • 14.
    Bizet: Carmen / Ozawa, Norman, Freni, Schicoff, Estes
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001726402 Release Date: 09/11/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Georges Bizet
    Performer:  Mirella Freni,  Neil Shicoff,  François Le Roux,  Gérard Garino  ... 
    Conductor:  Seiji Ozawa
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  ORTF National Orchestra,  French National Radio Chorus
    CD: $18.99
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  • 15.
    Bizet: Carmen / Sinopoli, Larmore, Gheorghiu, Moser, Ramey
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 660575 Release Date: 07/31/2012   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Georges Bizet
    Performer:  Angela Gheorghiu,  Thomas Moser,  Samuel Ramey,  Nathalie Boissy  ... 
    Conductor:  Giuseppe Sinopoli
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian State Orchestra,  Bavarian State Opera Chorus
    CD: $29.99
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  • 16.
    Arena Di Verona - Verdi: Aida; Bizet: Carmen; Puccini: Tosca
    Label: Arthaus Musik   Catalog: 107520 Release Date: 06/26/2012   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Georges Bizet,  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Kristijan Johannsson,  Juan Pons,  Maria Chiara,  Dolora Zajic  ... 
    Conductor:  Nello Santi,  Alain Lombard,  Daniel Oren
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Verona Teatro Arena Orchestra,  Verona Teatro Arena Chorus,  Benjamin Britten Children's Choir
    DVD: $58.99
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  • 17.
    Bizet: Carmen / Garanca, Alagna, Nezet-seguin, Metropolitan Opera [blu-ray]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001680059 Release Date: 06/05/2012  
    Composer:  Georges Bizet
    Performer:  Keith Miller,  Barbara Frittoli,  Roberto Alagna,  Elina Garanca  ... 
    Conductor:  Yannick Nézet-Séguin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Chorus,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
    Blu-ray Video: $39.99
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  • 18.
    Bizet: Carmen / Molinari Pradelli, Simionato, Corelli, Bastianini, Scotto
    Label: Bongiovanni   Catalog: 66 Release Date: 05/15/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Georges Bizet
    Performer:  Giulietta Simionato,  Franco Corelli,  Ettore Bastianini,  Renata Scotto
    Conductor:  Francesco Molinari-Pradelli
    CD: $17.99
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  • 19.
    Bizet: Carmen / Obraztsova, Domingo, Kleiber
    Label: Arthaus Musik   Catalog: 107263 Release Date: 04/24/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Bizet
    Performer:  Yuri Mazurok,  Placido Domingo,  Elena Obraztsova,  Isobel Buchanan
    Conductor:  Carlos Kleiber
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna State Opera Orchestra,  Vienna State Opera Chorus
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  • 20.
    Bizet: Carmen / Rice, Hymel, Kimberg, Kovalevska, Carydis, Royal Opera House - 3D Blu-ray
    Label: Opus Arte   Catalog: 7096 Release Date: 11/15/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Bizet
    Performer:  Elena Xanthoudakis,  Nicolas Courjal,  Christine Rice,  Maija Kovalevska  ... 
    Conductor:  Constantinos Carydis
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Chorus
    Blu-ray Video: $39.99
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  • 21.
    Bizet: Carmen / Reiner, Stevens, Tucker, Silveri, Conner
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 7961892 Release Date: 11/01/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Georges Bizet
    Performer:  Risë Stevens,  Richard Tucker,  Paolo Silveri,  Nadine Conner
    Conductor:  Fritz Reiner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Chorus,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
    CD: $18.99
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  • 22.
    Bizet: Carmen / Piollet, Uria-monzon, Alagna, Poplavskaya, Schrott
    Label: C Major   Catalog: 707308 Release Date: 10/25/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Georges Bizet
    Performer:  Josep Miquel Ribot,  Francisco Vas,  Itxaro Mentxaka,  Erwin Schrott  ... 
    Conductor:  Marc Piollet
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vivaldi Chorus,  Barcelona Teatro Liceu Orchestra,  Barcelona Teatro Liceu Chorus
    DVD: $39.99
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  • 23.
    Bizet: Carmen / Piollet, Uria-monzon, Alagna, Poplavskaya, Schrott [blu-ray]
    Label: C Major   Catalog: 707404 Release Date: 10/25/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Georges Bizet
    Performer:  Alex Sanmartí,  Marc Canturri,  Béatrice Uria-Monzon,  Marina Poplavskaya  ... 
    Conductor:  Marc Piollet
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vivaldi Chorus,  Barcelona Teatro Liceu Orchestra,  Barcelona Teatro Liceu Chorus
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  • 24.
    World's Greatest Operas - Carmen, Magic Flute, Aida, Tosca [6-DVD Set]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001609909 Release Date: 10/24/2011   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Georges Bizet,  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Bryn Terfel,  Catherine Malfitano,  Richard Margison,  Peter Loehle  ... 
    Conductor:  Riccardo Chailly,  Riccardo Muti,  Antonio Pappano
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra,  Netherlands Opera Chorus,  Vienna State Opera Chorus  ... 
    Recommendation
    DVD: $86.99
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  • 25.
    Magic Moments Of Opera
    Label: Arthaus Musik   Catalog: 107515 Release Date: 09/27/2011   Number of Discs: 11
    Composer:  Georges Bizet,  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Isobel Buchanan,  Placido Domingo,  Elena Obraztsova,  Yuri Mazurok  ... 
    Conductor:  Carlos Kleiber,  Theodor Guschlbauer,  Iván Fischer,  Nikolaus Harnoncourt  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna State Opera Chorus,  Vienna State Opera Orchestra,  Paris National Opera Chorus  ... 
    DVD: $118.99
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