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: L'arlesienne Suites, Carmen Suite No 1 / Abbado
Release Date: 06/12/2007   Label: Deutsche Grammophon  
Catalog: 000874602   Number of Discs: 1
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Bizet: Carmen Suite No 1 & 2, Etc / Tortelier, Et Al
Release Date: 07/27/2004   Label: Chandos Collect  
Catalog: 6693   Number of Discs: 1
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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: Habañera

Browse 1-25 of 258 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    French & Italian Arias /  Lauris Elms
    Label: Abc Classics (Nai Sub)   Catalog: 4764431 Release Date: 06/10/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Bizet,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Ambroise Thomas,  Christoph W. Gluck  ... 
    Performer:  Lauris Elms,  Narelle Davidson
    Conductor:  Geoffrey Arnold,  Eric Clapham
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Sydney Symphony Orchestra,  West Australian Symphony Orchestra,  Australian Opera Chorus
    CD: $18.99
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  • 2.
    RCA Living Stereo Collection Vol 2
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 300350 Release Date: 05/13/2014   Number of Discs: 60
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Richard Strauss,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ... 
    Performer:  Artur Rubinstein,  Byron Janis,  Gary Graffman,  Vladimir Horowitz  ... 
    Conductor:  Josef Krips,  Fritz Reiner,  Pierre Monteux,  Charles Munch  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Symphony of the Air,  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  Boston Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    On sale! $125.98
    CD: $109.99
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  • 3.
    Les Contraltos
    Label: Naive   Catalog: 5359 Release Date: 04/29/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi,  Ambroise Thomas,  Robert Schumann,  Johann Sebastian Bach  ... 
    Performer:  Marie-Nicole Lemieux,  Sara Mingardo,  Delphine Galou,  Nathalie Stutzmann  ... 
    Conductor:  Fabien Gabel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  French National Orchestra
    CD: $17.99
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  • 4.
    Voices of Firestone DVD 4-Pack - Bjorling, Sutherland, Merrill, Stevens
    Label: Kultur Video   Catalog: 4938 Release Date: 04/07/2014   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Richard Rodgers,  Georges Bizet,  Rudolf Friml,  Robert Schumann  ... 
    Performer:  Risë Stevens,  Jussi Björling,  Anne-Lisa Björling,  Dame Joan Sutherland  ... 
    Conductor:  Richard Bonynge,  Howard Barlow
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Voice of Firestone Orchestra
    On sale! $34.99
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  • 5.
    Ne me refuse pas; Handel: Streams of Pleasure / Marie-Nicole Lemieux
    Label: Naive   Catalog: 40039 Release Date: 02/25/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Jules Massenet,  Luigi Cherubini,  Jacques Halévy,  Hector Berlioz  ... 
    Performer:  Marie-Nicole Lemieux,  Karina Gauvin
    Conductor:  Fabien Gabel,  Alan Curtis
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  French National Orchestra,  Il Complesso Barocco
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  • 6.
    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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  • 7.
    Maria Callas at Covent Garden 1962 & 1964
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 3770 Release Date: 11/19/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Vincenzo Bellini,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Giacomo Puccini,  Georges Bizet
    Performer:  Maria Callas,  Mirto Picchi,  Ebe Stignani,  Giacomo Vaghi  ... 
    Conductor:  Vittorio Gui,  Georges Prêtre,  Carlo Felice Cillario
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Chorus
    CD: $32.49
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  • 8.
    Ravel: Bolero
    Label: Lim   Catalog: 63 Release Date: 11/19/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Forrest,  Georges Bizet,  Maurice Ravel,  Isaac Albeniz
    Conductor:  Erich Kunzel
    On sale! $43.98
    CD: $37.99
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  • 9.
    Berlin Philharmonic - Centenary Edition
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001923302 Release Date: 10/22/2013   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Hector Berlioz,  Richard Wagner,  Richard Strauss  ... 
    Performer:  Géza Anda,  Walter Berry,  Gundula Janowitz,  Hilde Rössl-Majdan  ... 
    Conductor:  Arthur Nikisch,  Alfred Hertz,  Richard Strauss,  Bruno Walter  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Singverein,  Swedish Radio Chorus  ... 
    On sale! $149.98
    CD: $137.99
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  • 10.
    Voices of French Opera [5-CD Set]
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 280462 Release Date: 07/16/2013   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Jean-Baptiste Lully,  Jean-Philippe Rameau,  Christoph W. Gluck,  André Modeste Grétry  ... 
    Performer:  Véronique Gens,  Miguel Villabella,  Solange Petit-Renaux,  Patricia Petibon  ... 
    Conductor:  Christophe Rousset,  Maurice Cauchie,  John Eliot Gardiner,  Henri Tomasi  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Talens Lyriques,  Les Folies Françoises,  Monteverdi Choir  ... 
    CD: $24.99
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  • 11.
    Label: Gala   Catalog: 7702567 Release Date: 06/14/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Vincenzo Bellini,  Gioachino Rossini,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Richard Wagner  ... 
    Performer:  Maria Callas
    Conductor:  Georges Sebastian,  Nicola Rescigno,  Georges Prêtre,  Antonino Votto  ... 
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  • 12.
    Valentina Levko - Star Of The Bolshoi
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 9406 Release Date: 05/28/2013   Number of Discs: 11
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Henry Purcell,  Alessandro Stradella,  Andrea Falconieri  ... 
    Performer:  Valentina Levko,  Mark Lubotsky,  Grigory Zinger,  Liya Mogilevskaya  ... 
    Conductor:  Adolf Bruk,  Juozas Domarkas,  Alexander Lazarev,  Kurt Masur  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bolshoi Theatre Orchestra,  Moscow Philharmonic Chamber Ensemble,  Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $48.99
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  • 13.
    Montserrat Caballe - The Diva [6-CD Set]
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 548834 Release Date: 05/07/2013   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Giacomo Puccini,  Vincenzo Bellini  ... 
    Performer:  Montserrat Caballé,  Maya Sunara,  Corinna Vozza,  Sherrill Milnes  ... 
    Conductor:  Riccardo Chailly,  Anton Guadagno,  Carlo Felice Cillario,  Sir Georg Solti  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Philharmonic Orchestra London,  RCA Italian Opera Orchestra,  RCA Italian Opera Chorus  ... 
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  • 14.
    Label: La-la Land Records   Catalog: 1242 Release Date: 03/19/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Christopher Lennertz,  Georges Bizet,  Fred Wesley
    Performer:  Lisa Dondlinger,  Serena McKinney,  Paul Klintworth,  Dave Shostac  ... 
    Conductor:  Christopher Lennertz
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  • 15.
    50 Best Sensual Classics
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 333022 Release Date: 02/26/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  James Horner,  Pietro Mascagni,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Nino Rota  ... 
    Performer:  Jean-Bernard Pommier,  Cécile Ousset,  Mikhail Rudy,  Natasha Marsh  ... 
    Conductor:  Mariss Jansons,  Lawrence Foster,  Simon Rattle,  François-Xavier Roth  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Cellists,  Ahn Trio,  Virtuosi
    CD: $11.99
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  • 16.
    Melody Magic / Frank Vignola, Vinny Raniolo
    Label: Azica   Catalog: 72248 Release Date: 01/29/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Georges Bizet,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Edvard Grieg  ... 
    Performer:  Frank Vignola,  Vinny Raniolo
    CD: $17.99
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  • 17.
    Singers Of The Century - 40 Greats Of  The 20th Century
    Label: Regis   Catalog: 2078 Release Date: 01/29/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Giacomo Puccini,  Pietro Mascagni,  Umberto Giordano  ... 
    Performer:  Ettore Bastianini,  Giuseppe Taddei,  Richard Tucker,  Mario Del Monaco  ... 
    CD: $21.99
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  • 18.
    Label: Somerset Entertainment   Catalog: 51767 Release Date: 01/01/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  George Frideric Handel,  Erik Satie  ... 
    CD: $23.99
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  • 19.
    Giulietta Simionato - Portrait Of A Legend
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 93483 Release Date: 12/11/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Irving Berlin,  Ambroise Thomas,  Georges Bizet,  Camille Saint-Saëns  ... 
    Performer:  Giulietta Simionato,  Luciano Bettarini
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan,  Argeo Quadri,  Arturo Basile,  Fernando Previtali  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Milan Symphony Orchestra,  Italian Radio Symphony Orchestra Turin  ... 
    Recommendation
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  • 20.
    Icon: Maria Callas - La Divina
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 23401 Release Date: 09/18/2012   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Vincenzo Bellini,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Francesco Cilèa,  Umberto Giordano  ... 
    Performer:  Maria Callas,  Giuseppe Morresi,  Ebe Stignani,  Raffaele Arié  ... 
    Conductor:  Tullio Serafin,  Nicola Rescigno,  Georges Prêtre
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus,  Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $42.99
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  • 21.
    Maria Callas - The Live Recitals
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 59794 Release Date: 08/28/2012   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Léo Delibes,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Maria Callas,  Nicola Rescigno,  Sir Malcolm Sargent,  Jeffrey Tate
    Conductor:  Oliviero de Fabritiis,  Georges Prêtre,  Nicola Rescigno,  Alfredo Simonetto  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Italian Radio Symphony Orchestra Rome,  ORTF National Orchestra,  Dallas Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    On sale! $55.98
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  • 22.
    Maria Callas - The Studio Recitals
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 59776 Release Date: 08/28/2012   Number of Discs: 13
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Francesco Cilèa,  Umberto Giordano,  Alfredo Catalani  ... 
    Performer:  Maria Callas,  Monica Sinclair,  John Lanigan,  Joseph Rouleau  ... 
    Conductor:  Tullio Serafin,  Nicola Rescigno,  Georges Prêtre,  Antonio Tonini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Philharmonia Chorus  ... 
    CD: $54.99
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  • 23.
    Opera Arias
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001707702 Release Date: 07/24/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Jacques Offenbach,  Alfredo Catalani  ... 
    Performer:  Renata [Soprano vocal] Tebaldi,  Luciano Pavarotti,  Huguette Tourangeau,  Dame Joan Sutherland  ... 
    Conductor:  Lamberto Gardelli,  Richard Bonynge,  Fausto Cleva,  Silvio Varviso  ... 
    CD: $8.99
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  • 24.
    Great Opera
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8501054 Release Date: 04/24/2012   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Gioachino Rossini,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Georges Bizet  ... 
    Performer:  Adrianne Pieczonka,  Boje Skovhus,  Renato Girolami,  Janusz Monarcha  ... 
    Conductor:  Michael Halász,  Will Humburg,  Alexander Rahbari,  Rico Saccani
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Nicolaus Esterházy Sinfonia,  Hungarian Radio Chorus,  Failoni Orchestra Budapest  ... 
    Recommendation
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  • 25.
    The Very Best Of Victoria De Los Angeles
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 679002 Release Date: 03/13/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Pietro Mascagni,  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Alfredo Catalani  ... 
    Performer:  Victoria de los Angeles,  Jussi Björling,  Carlo del Monte,  Gerald Moore  ... 
    Conductor:  Gabriele Santini,  Sir Thomas Beecham,  Tullio Serafin,  Giuseppe Morelli  ... 
    CD: $17.99
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