Georges Bizet


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
Carreras, Domingo, Pavarotti: The 3 Tenors Sing Puccini, Verdi, Donizetti, Bizet, Wagner And More
Release Date: 09/11/2015   Label: Rca  
Catalog: 88697757882   Number of Discs: 1
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Bizet: Carmen / Abbado, Berganza, Domingo, Cotrubas, Et Al
Release Date: 03/08/2005   Label: Dg The Originals  
Catalog: 000402902   Number of Discs: 2
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Bizet: Carmen / Karajan, Simionato, Gedda, Vienna So
Release Date: 11/15/2005   Label: Andante  
Catalog: 3100   Number of Discs: 2
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Bizet: Carmen / Reiner, Stevens, Tucker, Silveri, Conner
Release Date: 11/01/2011   Label: Sony  
Catalog: 7961892   Number of Discs: 2
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Bizet: Les pecheurs de perles / Micheau, Dervaux, Theatre National de l'Opera-Comique
Release Date: 09/09/2016   Label: Warner Classics  
Catalog: 557372  
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Work: Carmen: Gypsy Song

Browse 51-57 of 57 Available Recordings
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  • 51.
    Lebendige Vergangenheit - Sigrid Onegin
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 89027 Release Date: 02/07/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Giacomo Meyerbeer,  Christoph W. Gluck  ... 
    Performer:  Sigrid Onegin
    Conductor:  Rosario Bourdon,  Leo Blech,  Kurt Singer
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra,  Berlin State Opera Orchestra,  Berlin Doctor's Chorus
    On sale! $22.98
    CD: $19.99
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  • 52.
    Prima Voce Sampler
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 1430 Release Date: 08/09/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Amand Mangold,  Richard Strauss,  Traditional,  Georges Bizet  ... 
    Performer:  Bruno Seidler-Winkler,  Frieda Hempel,  Tiana Lemnitz,  Erna Berger  ... 
    Conductor:  Clemens Krauss,  Nathaniel Shilkret,  Gustav Cloëz,  Pietro Mascagni  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin State Opera Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus  ... 
    CD: $12.99
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  • 53.
    Prima Voce - Covent Garden - An Early History On Record
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 7819 Release Date: 12/02/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Giacomo Puccini,  Georges Bizet  ... 
    Performer:  Kirsten Flagstad,  Lauritz Melchior,  Richard Tauber,  Lawrence Tibbett  ... 
    Conductor:  Edwin McArthur,  Walter Goehr,  Giulio Setti,  Gustav Cloëz  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  San Francisco Opera Orchestra,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra,  Metropolitan Opera Chorus  ... 
    CD: $14.99
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  • 54.
    Prima Voce - Divas Vol 2 (1909-1940)
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 7818 Release Date: 12/02/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Pietro Mascagni,  Richard Wagner,  Manuel Ponce,  Jacques Offenbach  ... 
    Performer:  Mafalda Favero,  Kirsten Flagstad,  Nina Koshetz,  Maggie Teyte  ... 
    Conductor:  Antonio Sabino,  Hans Lange,  Eugene Ormandy,  Sir John Barbirolli  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  Paris Opéra Comique Orchestra
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  • 55.
    Prima Voce - Supervia In Opera & Song
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 7836 Release Date: 12/02/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Jose Baldomir,  Georges Bizet,  Joaquin Valverde  ... 
    Performer:  Conchita Supervia,  Giovanni Manurita,  Carlo Scattola,  Gaston Micheletti  ... 
    Conductor:  Angelo Albergoni,  Gustav Cloëz,  Jose Juan Cadenas,  Antonio Capdevila  ... 
    CD: $18.99
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  • 56.
    Bizet: Carmen - Highlights / Karajan, Baltsa, Carreras
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 413322 Release Date: 10/25/1990   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Bizet
    Performer:  José Carreras,  Agnes Baltsa,  Michel Marinpouille,  Alexander Malta  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Paris Opera Chorus,  Schöneberg Boys Choir
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  • 57.
    Suzanne Juyol - Recordings 1947-1952
    Label: Hafg   Catalog: 10122 Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Bizet,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Edouard Lalo,  Jules Massenet
    Performer:  Suzanne Juyol,  Denise Boursin,  Libero De Luca,  Henri Medus  ... 
    ArkivCD $16.99
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