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: Symphony In C, L'arlesienne Suites / Delacote, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Release Date: 11/10/2009   Label: Royal Philharmonic Masterworks  
Catalog: 28480   Number of Discs: 1
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Bizet: Carmen Suite  / Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Release Date: 09/08/2009   Label: Royal Philharmonic Masterworks  
Catalog: 28020   Number of Discs: 1
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Prokofiev: Peter & the Wolf; Saint-Saens, Bizet / Gielgud, Licata
Release Date: 10/13/2009   Label: Royal Philharmonic Masterworks  
Catalog: 28450   Number of Discs: 1
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Bizet: Symphony In C, Jeux D'enfants, Variations Chromatiques / West,  San Francisco Ballet Orchestra
Release Date: 09/10/2013   Label: Reference Recordings  
Catalog: 131   Number of Discs: 1
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Bizet: Carmen / Haitink, Ewing, McCauley, et al
Release Date: 09/27/2005   Label: Kultur Video  
Catalog: 2843   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Carmen: Toreador Song

Browse 1-25 of 130 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    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
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  • 2.
    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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  • 3.
    The Complete Arthur Endreze
    Label: Marston   Catalog: 55001 Release Date: 05/01/2013   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Georges Bizet,  Jules Massenet,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Ambroise Thomas  ... 
    Performer:  Arthur Endrèze,  Gaston Micheletti,  René Verdière,  Paul-Henri Vergnes  ... 
    Conductor:  Henri Défosse,  Gustav Cloëz,  François Ruhlmann,  Selmar Meyrowitz
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    CD: $55.49
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  • 4.
    Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau - Voice Of The Century [23 CDs & 2 DVDs]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001792900 Release Date: 01/15/2013   Number of Discs: 25
    Composer:  Franz Schubert,  Robert Schumann,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Liszt  ... 
    Performer:  Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau,  Daniel Barenboim,  Jörg Demus,  Gerald Moore  ... 
    Conductor:  Rafael Kubelik,  Karl Böhm,  Lorin Maazel,  Karl Richter  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    On sale! $124.98
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  • 5.
    Domingo Conducts Milnes! Milnes Conducts Domingo!
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 195828 Release Date: 07/31/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Bizet,  Jules Massenet,  Arrigo Boito,  Charles Gounod  ... 
    Performer:  Sherrill Milnes,  Doreen Price,  Jean Temperley,  Sarah Walker  ... 
    Conductor:  Placido Domingo,  Sherrill Milnes
    CD: $6.99
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  • 6.
    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 Tebaldi,  Luciano Pavarotti,  Dame Joan Sutherland,  Huguette Tourangeau  ... 
    Conductor:  Lamberto Gardelli,  Richard Bonynge,  Fausto Cleva,  Silvio Varviso  ... 
    CD: $8.99
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  • 7.
    Arias / Erwin Schrott
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 197116 Release Date: 06/26/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jacques Offenbach,  Georges Bizet,  Charles Gounod,  Jules Massenet  ... 
    Performer:  Erwin Schrott
    Conductor:  Daniele Rustioni
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Vienna State Opera Chorus
    CD: $12.99
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  • 8.
    Great Voices Of The Century / Bartoli, Prey, Schock, Domingo, Wunderlich, Callas
    Label: Profil   Catalog: 9056 Release Date: 05/29/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Vincenzo Bellini,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Lucia Aliberti,  Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau,  Piero Cappuccilli,  Rudolf Schock  ... 
    CD: $34.99
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  • 9.
    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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  • 10.
    Carlo Colombara - The Art Of The Bass
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 2110612 Release Date: 12/13/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Bizet,  Gioachino Rossini,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Charles Gounod  ... 
    Performer:  Carlo Colombara
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  • 11.
    Emilio De Gogorza, Baritone - Selected Recordings
    Label: Marston   Catalog: 52068 Release Date: 10/15/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Vincenzo Bellini,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Emilio de Gogorza,  Emma Eames,  Marcella Sembrich,  Louise Homer  ... 
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  • 12.
    Opera Scenes And Arias; Italian Songs / Ruggero Raimondi
    Label: Apex   Catalog: 73146 Release Date: 09/27/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Bizet,  Hector Berlioz,  Modest Mussorgsky,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Michèle Le Bris,  Ruggero Raimondi,  Elaine Lublin,  Méral Jaclin  ... 
    Conductor:  Emil Tchakarov,  Claudio Scimone
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  • 13.
    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  ... 
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  • 14.
    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
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  • 15.
    The Opera Album 2011
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001566102 Release Date: 06/14/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Georges Bizet,  Giacomo Puccini,  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Alfredo Catalani  ... 
    Performer:  Bryn Terfel,  Anna Netrebko,  Andrea Bocelli,  Jonas Kaufmann  ... 
    Conductor:  Barry Wordsworth,  Gianandrea Noseda,  Zubin Mehta,  Antonio Pappano  ... 
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  • 16.
    Canadian Brass - The Classics
    Label: Opening Day   Catalog: 7400 Release Date: 04/05/2011   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Jean Joseph Mouret,  Henry Purcell,  Thomas Morley,  Otto Nicolai  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Canadian Brass
    CD: $29.98
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  • 17.
    Label: Opera Collective   Catalog: 5637688526 Release Date: 03/15/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Bizet,  Giacomo Puccini,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Jacques Offenbach  ... 
    Performer:  Vaughn Lindquist,  Geoffrey Duce,  Carla Wesby,  Adrienne Patino  ... 
    CD: $14.99
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  • 18.
    Dokumente Einter Sangerkarriere: Hermann Uhde
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 93471 Release Date: 09/14/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Carl Maria von Weber,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Georges Bizet  ... 
    Performer:  Hermann Uhde
    Conductor:  Ferdinand Leitner,  Munich Philharmonic Orche,  Arthur Rother,  Hans Knappertsbusch  ... 
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  • 19.
    Essential Opera
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 27920 Release Date: 08/24/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Georges Bizet,  Gioachino Rossini,  Giacomo Puccini  ... 
    Performer:  Placido Domingo,  Nicolai Gedda,  Ernest Blanc,  Thomas [Baritone Vocal] Hampson  ... 
    Conductor:  Riccardo Muti,  Thomas Schippers,  Pierre Dervaux,  Gianluigi Gelmetti  ... 
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  • 20.
    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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  • 21.
    Musical Handyman
    Label: Abc Classics   Catalog: 897376 Release Date: 08/17/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Carl Orff,  Joaquin Rodrigo,  Georges Bizet,  Aram Khachaturian  ... 
    Performer:  Karin Schaupp,  David Hobson,  Teddy Tahu Rhodes,  Li Wei  ... 
    Conductor:  Anthony Walker,  Benjamin Northey,  Thomas Woods,  Leonard Dommett  ... 
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  • 22.
    50 Best Opera
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 57531 Release Date: 06/29/2010   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Richard Wagner,  Richard Strauss,  Gustave Charpentier  ... 
    Performer:  Cornelius Hauptmann,  Margareta Lilowa,  Carolyn Watkinson,  Ursula Kunz  ... 
    Conductor:  Roger Norrington,  Bernard Haitink,  Rafael Kubelik,  Peter Schneider  ... 
    CD: $11.99
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  • 23.
    Heroes & Villains - Opera's Leading Men
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001433902 Release Date: 06/01/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Amilcare Ponchielli,  Georges Bizet,  Jules Massenet  ... 
    Performer:  Carlo Bergonzi,  Rolando Villazón,  Nicolai Ghiaurov,  Luciano Pavarotti  ... 
    Conductor:  Gianandrea Gavazzeni,  Daniele Callegari,  Robin Stapleton,  Sir Colin Davis  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rome Santa Cecilia Academy Orchestra,  Verdi Grand Symphonic Orchestra Milan,  National Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 24.
    Bizet: Carmen Highlights / Troyanos, Domingo, Solti
    Label: Eloquence   Catalog: 4803520 Release Date: 04/20/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Bizet
    Performer:  José Van Dam,  Placido Domingo,  Dame Kiri Te Kanawa,  Tatiana Troyanos
    Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  John Alldis Choir
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  • 25.
    The Hit Men: The Greatest Voices Of Our Time
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 28546 Release Date: 04/20/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Salvatore Cardillo,  Giacomo Puccini,  Gioachino Rossini  ... 
    Performer:  Giuseppe Di Stefano,  Franco Corelli,  Placido Domingo,  Sherrill Milnes  ... 
    Conductor:  Tullio Serafin,  Rafaele Mingardo,  Bruno Bartoletti,  James Levine  ... 
    CD: $15.99
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