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 76-99 of 99 Available Recordings
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  • 76.
    The Compact Opera Collection - Bizet: Carmen / Ozawa, Et Al Norman, Freni, Schicoff, Et Al
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 470417 Release Date: 01/14/2003   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Georges Bizet
    Performer:  Mirella Freni,  Neil Shicoff,  Simon Estes,  Jean-Phillipe Courtis  ... 
    Conductor:  Seiji Ozawa
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  ORTF National Orchestra,  ORTF National Chorus,  Maîtrise de Radio France
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  • 77.
    Bizet: Carmen / Wolff, Juyol, Micheau, De Luca, Giovanetti
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 20016 Release Date: 12/24/2002   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Georges Bizet
    Performer:  Janine Micheau,  Julien Giovanetti,  Marcel Enot,  Denise Boursin  ... 
    Conductor:  Albert Wolff
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Paris Opéra Comique Orchestra,  Paris Opéra Comique Chorus
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  • 78.
    Bizet: Carmen / Cluytens, Michel, Jobin, Angelici
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 65318 Release Date: 09/10/2002   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Georges Bizet
    Performer:  Raymonde Notti,  Germaine Chellet,  Solange Michel,  Michel Dens  ... 
    Conductor:  André Cluytens
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Paris Opéra Comique Chorus,  Paris Opéra Comique Orchestra
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  • 79.
    Trio - Bizet: Carmen / Bernstein, Horne, Baldwin, Et Al
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 471750 Release Date: 09/10/2002   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Georges Bizet
    Performer:  Marcia Baldwin,  James McCracken,  Marilyn Horne,  Raymond Gibbs  ... 
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Manhattan Opera Chorus,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra,  Metropolitan Opera Children's Chorus
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  • 80.
    Bizet: Carmen / Verrett, Domingo, van Dam, Solti
    Label: Opera D'oro   Catalog: 1358 Release Date: 09/03/2002   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Georges Bizet
    Performer:  Placido Domingo,  Shirley Verrett,  José Van Dam,  Richard Van Allan  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Chorus
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  • 81.
    Classics - Opera! - Bizet: Carmen / Maazel, Moffo, Et Al
    Label: Rca Victor Special Imports   Catalog: 125279 Release Date: 11/20/2001   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Georges Bizet
    Performer:  Jean-Christophe Benoit,  Karl-Ernst Mercker,  Arleen Augér,  Jane Berbié  ... 
    Conductor:  Lorin Maazel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Deutsche Oper Orchestra,  Berlin Deutsche Oper Chorus,  Schöneberg Boys Choir
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  • 82.
    Bizet: Carmen / Bellezza, Stignani, Gigli, Rome Opera, Et Al
    Label: Opera D'oro   Catalog: 1278 Release Date: 02/27/2001   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Georges Bizet
    Performer:  Ebe Stignani,  Beniamino Gigli,  Gino Bechi,  Rina Gigli  ... 
    Conductor:  Vincenzo Bellezza
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rome Opera House Orchestra,  Rome Opera House Chorus
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  • 83.
    Bizet: Carmen / Levine, Carreras, Baltsa, Ramey
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 73000 Release Date: 12/12/2000  
    Composer:  Georges Bizet
    Performer:  Agnes Baltsa,  José Carreras,  Leona Mitchell,  Samuel Ramey
    Conductor:  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Chorus,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
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  • 84.
    Bizet: Carmen / Beecham, De Los Angeles, Gedda, Blanc
    Label: Emi Great Recordings Of The Century   Catalog: 67353 Release Date: 08/15/2000   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Georges Bizet
    Performer:  Michel Hamel,  Xavier Depraz,  Victoria de los Angeles,  Nicolai Gedda  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  French National Radio Orchestra,  French National Radio Chorus,  Les Petits Chanteurs de St. François de Versailles
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  • 85.
    Bizet: Carmen / Pretre, Cossotto, Domingo, Van Dam, Et Al
    Label: Opera D'oro   Catalog: 1244 Release Date: 05/23/2000   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Georges Bizet
    Performer:  José Van Dam,  Adriana Maliponte,  Giovanna Santelli,  Nicoletta Ciliento  ... 
    Conductor:  Georges Prêtre
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra
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  • 86.
    Pathé Opera Series Vol 3 - Bizet: Carmen / Mérentié, Et Al
    Label: Marston   Catalog: 52019 Release Date: 06/08/1999   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Georges Bizet
    Performer:  Henri Albers,  Aline Vallandri,  Hyppolite Belhomme,  Paul Dumontier  ... 
    Conductor:  François Ruhlmann
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Paris Opéra Comique Orchestra,  Paris Opéra Comique Chorus
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  • 87.
    Bizet: Carmen / Karajan, Price, Corelli, Merrill, Freni
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 39495 Release Date: 08/11/1998   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Georges Bizet
    Performer:  Franco Corelli,  Robert Merrill,  Mirella Freni,  Monique Linval  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna State Opera Chorus,  Vienna Boys' Choir
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  • 88.
    Bizet: Carmen / Karajan, Bumbry, Vickers, Et Al
    Label: Opera D'oro   Catalog: 1151 Release Date: 02/17/1998   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Georges Bizet
    Performer:  Jon Vickers,  Grace Bumbry
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
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  • 89.
    Bizet: Carmen, Arranged By Hugo Riesenfeld For Demille
    Label: Vai Audio   Catalog: 1149 Release Date: 10/21/1997   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Bizet
    Performer:  Geraldine Farrar
    Conductor:  Gillian Anderson
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 90.
    Callas Edition - Bizet: Carmen / Prêtre, Guiot, Gedda, Et Al
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 56281 Release Date: 08/19/1997   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Georges Bizet
    Performer:  Jean-Paul Vauquelin,  Nadine Sautereau,  Maria Callas,  Nicolai Gedda  ... 
    Conductor:  Georges Prêtre
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Jean Pesneaud Children's Choir,  Paris Opera Orchestra,  René Duclos Chorus
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  • 91.
    Bizet: Carmen / Schippers, Resnik, Del Monaco, Sutherland
    Label: London/Decca Double Decker   Catalog: 443871 Release Date: 06/13/1995   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Georges Bizet
    Performer:  Regina Resnik,  Dame Joan Sutherland,  Claude Calès,  Georgette Spanellys  ... 
    Conductor:  Thomas Schippers
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Orchestra,  Geneva Grand Theatre Chorus
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  • 92.
    Bizet: Carmen / Böhm, Höngen, Herrmann, Ralf, Böhme
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 90152 Release Date: 02/07/1995   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Georges Bizet
    Performer:  Josef Herrmann,  Kurt Böhme,  Heinrich Tessmer,  Karl Wessely  ... 
    Conductor:  Karl Böhm
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden State Opera Chorus,  Dresden State Opera Orchestra
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  • 93.
    Bizet: Carmen
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8660005-07 Release Date: 02/15/1994   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Georges Bizet
    Performer:  Alan Titus,  Giorgio Lamberti,  Graciela Alperyn,  Danilo Rigosa  ... 
    Conductor:  Alexander Rahbari
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Czecho-Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra Bratislava,  Slovak State Philharmonic Chorus,  Bratislava Radio Children's Chorus
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  • 94.
    Bizet: Carmen / Abbado, Berganza, Domingo, Cotrubas, Et Al
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 419636 Release Date: 10/25/1990   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Georges Bizet
    Performer:  Ileana Cotrubas,  Yvonne Kenny,  Alicia Nafé,  Robert Lloyd  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Ambrosian Singers,  George Watson's College Boys' Chorus
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  • 95.
    Bizet: Carmen / Reiner, Stevens, Peerce, Merrill, Albanese
    Label: Rca Victor Gold Seal   Catalog: 7981 Release Date: 10/25/1990   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Georges Bizet
    Performer:  Margaret Roggero,  Hugh Thompson,  Osie Hawkins,  Alessio De Paolis  ... 
    Conductor:  Fritz Reiner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lycée Français Children's Chorus,  Robert Shaw Chorale,  RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra
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  • 96.
    Bizet: Carmen / Solti, Troyanos, Domingo, Van Dam, Te Kanawa
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 414489 Release Date: 10/25/1990   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Georges Bizet
    Performer:  Jane Berbié,  Placido Domingo,  José Van Dam,  Dame Kiri Te Kanawa  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Haberdashers' Aske's School Boys Choir,  John Alldis Choir,  London Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 97.
    Bizet: Carmen / Ozawa, Norman, Freni, Schicoff, Estes
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 422366 Release Date: 08/07/1989   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Georges Bizet
    Performer:  Mirella Freni,  Neil Shicoff,  François Le Roux,  Jessye Norman  ... 
    Conductor:  Seiji Ozawa
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  French National Radio Chorus,  ORTF National Orchestra
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  • 98.
    Bizet: Carmen / Karajan, Baltsa, Carreras, Van Dam  Et Al
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 410088 Release Date: 11/17/1983   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Georges Bizet
    Performer:  Heinz Zednik,  José Carreras,  Katia Ricciarelli,  Christine Barbaux  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Paris Opera Chorus,  Schöneberg Boys Choir
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