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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 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: Carmen / Krasteva, Antonenko, Märzendorfer, Et Al
Release Date: 10/18/2005   Label: Euroarts  
Catalog: 2054528   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: 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 / 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: Carmen (Highlights)
Release Date: 01/28/1994   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8550727   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Carmen: Seguidilla

Browse 1-25 of 132 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Maria Callas Sings Great Arias From French Operas
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 634008 Release Date: 10/21/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Christoph W. Gluck,  Georges Bizet,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Charles Gounod  ... 
    Performer:  Maria Callas
    Conductor:  Georges Prêtre
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  French National Radio Orchestra
    CD: $12.99
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  • 2.
    Maria Callas Remastered - Complete Studio Recordings
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 633991 Release Date: 09/23/2014   Number of Discs: 70
    Composer:  Vincenzo Bellini,  Richard Wagner,  Amilcare Ponchielli,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Maria Callas,  Gianni Poggi,  Fedora Barbieri,  Paolo Silveri  ... 
    Conductor:  Arturo Basile,  Antonino Votto,  Gabriele Santini,  Tullio Serafin  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Italian Radio Symphony Orchestra Turin,  Italian Radio Chorus Turin,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra  ... 
    On sale! $279.99
    CD: $234.99
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  • 3.
    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
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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.
    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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  • 6.
    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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  • 7.
    Icon: Maria Callas - La Divina
    Label: Warner 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  ... 
    On sale! $41.99
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  • 8.
    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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  • 9.
    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  ... 
    On sale! $53.99
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  • 10.
    Classical 2012
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001675702 Release Date: 05/08/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Georges Bizet,  Giovanni Battista Pergolesi,  Francesco Cilèa  ... 
    Performer:  Lang Lang,  Andrea Bocelli,  Anna Netrebko,  Jonas Kaufmann  ... 
    Conductor:  Myung-Whun Chung,  Antonio Pappano,  Marco Armiliato,  Daniele Callegari  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Fagiolini
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  • 11.
    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  ... 
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  • 12.
    Popular Opera Arias
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 300250 Release Date: 09/13/2011   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Giacomo Puccini  ... 
    Performer:  Hermann Prey,  Ruth-Margaret Pütz,  Franz Crass,  Annelies Burmeister  ... 
    Conductor:  Otmar Suitner,  Siegfried Kurz,  Giuseppe Patané,  Horst Stein  ... 
    CD: $17.99
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  • 13.
    Bizet: Carmen - Highlights / Alagna, Gheorgiu, Et Al
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 94868 Release Date: 06/21/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Bizet
    Performer:  Angela Gheorghiu,  David Alagna,  Inva Mula-Tchako,  Roberto Alagna  ... 
    Conductor:  Michel Plasson
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Toulouse Capitole Orchestra,  Les Elements Chamber Choir
    CD: $12.99
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  • 14.
    New Year's Eve Concert 2010  / Garanca, Dudamel, Berlin Philharmonic
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001529409 Release Date: 03/08/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Hector Berlioz,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Georges Bizet,  Manuel de Falla  ... 
    Performer:  Elina Garanca
    Conductor:  Gustavo Dudamel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
    DVD: $29.99
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  • 15.
    Georges Thill Vol 4 - Bizet, Berlioz, Delibes, Rimsky-Korsakov
    Label: Hafg   Catalog: 10249 Release Date: 11/22/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Bizet,  Hector Berlioz,  Giacomo Puccini,  Friedrich von Flotow  ... 
    Performer:  Raymonde Visconti,  Georges Thill,  Marthe Nespoulous
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 16.
    Habanera / Elina Garanca
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001477702 Release Date: 10/25/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Francisco Barbieri,  Georges Bizet,  Franz Lehár,  Michael Balfe  ... 
    Performer:  Elina Garanca,  Roberto Alagna,  Alessandro Milani,  J. M Gallardo Del Rey  ... 
    Conductor:  Karel Mark Chichon
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Italian Radio Symphony Orchestra Milan,  Turin Teatro Regio Chorus
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  • 17.
    Géori Boué - Recordings 1947-1955
    Label: Hafg   Catalog: 10314 Release Date: 10/15/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Charles Gounod,  Hector Berlioz,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Géori Boué
    Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 18.
    Bizet: Carmen Arias & Duets / Bocelli, Chung, Terfel, Domashenko
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001459102 Release Date: 08/17/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Bizet
    Performer:  Andrea Bocelli,  Marina Domashenko,  Bryn Terfel,  Eva Mei
    Conductor:  Myung-Whun Chung
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Radio France Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $12.99
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  • 19.
    Dokumente Einer Sangerkarriere: Martha Modl
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 93460 Release Date: 06/08/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Christoph W. Gluck,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Georges Bizet,  Richard Wagner  ... 
    Performer:  Martha Mödl,  Johanna Blatter,  Wolfgang Windgassen,  Rudolf Schock
    Conductor:  Hans Löwlein,  Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt,  Arthur Rother,  Joseph Keilberth  ... 
    On sale! $46.98
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  • 20.
    Great Singers And Musicians In Copenhagen, 1931-1939
    Label: Danacord   Catalog: 691/96 Release Date: 06/08/2010   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Richard Wagner,  Bedrich Smetana,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Anny Konetzni,  Lauritz Melchior,  Zedenka Zikova,  Viorica Tango  ... 
    Conductor:  Hans Weisbach,  Nicolai Malko,  Bruno Walter,  Egisto Tango  ... 
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  • 21.
    Regina Resnik - Opera Gala
    Label: London/Decca Grand Opera Series   Catalog: 421897 Release Date: 04/08/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Forrest,  Franz Lehár,  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Richard Strauss  ... 
    Performer:  Ian Wallace,  Regina Resnik,  Waldemar Kmentt,  Birgit Nilsson  ... 
    Conductor:  Annuncio Paolo Mantovani,  Richard Bonynge,  Herbert von Karajan,  Sir Georg Solti  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mantovani Orchestra,  National Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 22.
    Opera - Le Gala Du 30 Anniversaire
    Label: Atma Classique   Catalog: 2627 Release Date: 01/26/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Léo Delibes,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Jules Massenet,  Giacomo Puccini  ... 
    Performer:  Aline Kutan,  Raphaëlle Paquette,  Antoine Bélanger,  Annamaria Popescu  ... 
    Conductor:  Alain Trudel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Grand Montreal Metropolitan Orchestra
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  • 23.
    Da Capo - Opera Highlights
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 149512 Release Date: 01/12/2010   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Otto Nicolai,  Richard Wagner,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Christoph W. Gluck  ... 
    Performer:  Armin Ude,  Grace Bumbry,  Siegfried Lorenz,  Sona Cervana  ... 
    Conductor:  Bernhard Klee,  Otmar Suitner,  Hans Vonk,  Václav Neumann  ... 
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  • 24.
    Passione - Opera For Lovers
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 149522 Release Date: 01/12/2010   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Charles Gounod,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Otto Nicolai,  Richard Wagner  ... 
    Performer:  Sylvia Geszty,  Evelyn Lear,  Thomas Stewart,  Hanne-Lore Kuhse  ... 
    Conductor:  Kurt Masur,  Heinz Fricke,  Otmar Suitner,  Siegfried Kurz  ... 
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  • 25.
    Maria Callas - The Legendary Duets
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 98346 Release Date: 11/17/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Georges Bizet,  Amilcare Ponchielli,  Gioachino Rossini,  Gaetano Donizetti  ... 
    Performer:  Maria Callas,  Nicolai Gedda,  Fiorenza Cossotto,  Tito Gobbi  ... 
    Conductor:  Alceo Galliera,  Tullio Serafin,  Georges Prêtre
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
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