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
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: Flower Song

Browse 1-25 of 209 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    The Great Placido Domingo
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 556098 Release Date: 06/17/2016   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Amilcare Ponchielli  ... 
    Performer:  Placido Domingo,  Katia Ricciarelli,  Ezio di Cesare,  John [Bass Vocals] Macurdy  ... 
    Conductor:  Eugene Kohn,  Nello Santi,  Riccardo Muti,  Carlo Maria Giulini  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rondalla Lirica de Madrid
    CD: $16.99
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  • 2.
    Decca Sound: 55 Great Vocal Recitals
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002495002 Release Date: 05/20/2016   Number of Discs: 55
    Composer:  Gustave Charpentier,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Jules Massenet,  Georges Bizet  ... 
    Performer:  Suzanne Danco,  Pierre Mollet,  Guido Agosti,  Gervase de Peyer  ... 
    Conductor:  Alberto Erede,  Ernest Ansermet,  Karl Böhm,  Rudolf Moralt  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $134.49
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  • 3.
    Great Moments at Carnegie Hall
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 503227 Release Date: 04/29/2016   Number of Discs: 43
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Roy Harris,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Christoph W. Gluck  ... 
    Performer:  Vladimir Horowitz,  Jussi Björling,  Frederick Schauwecker,  Van Cliburn  ... 
    Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini,  Serge Koussevitzky,  Bruno Walter,  Leonard Bernstein  ... 
    On sale!
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  • 4.
    111: The Collector's Editions [111 CDs]
    Label: Dg Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002422702 Release Date: 12/11/2015   Number of Discs: 111
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Maurice Ravel,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  David Oistrakh,  Igor Oistrakh,  Sviatoslav Richter,  Martha Argerich  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado,  Daniel Barenboim,  Lorin Maazel,  Franz Konwitschny  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Amadeus Quartet,  Orchestre de Paris  ... 
    CD: $325.49
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  • 5.
    Domingo: The 50 Greatest Tracks
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002412702 Release Date: 11/13/2015   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Gioachino Rossini,  Giacomo Puccini,  Friedrich von Flotow  ... 
    Performer:  Placido Domingo,  Ileana Cotrubas,  Hans Sotin,  Robin Leggate  ... 
    Conductor:  George Szell,  Claudio Abbado,  Giuseppe Sinopoli,  Carlos Kleiber  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Chamber Orchestra of Europe,  Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $21.99
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  • 6.
    Carreras, Domingo, Pavarotti: The 3 Tenors Sing Puccini, Verdi, Donizetti, Bizet, Wagner And More
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 88697757882 Release Date: 09/11/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Giacomo Puccini,  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Friedrich von Flotow  ... 
    Performer:  Luciano Pavarotti,  José Carreras,  Placido Domingo
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  • 7.
    Mario Lanza - Greatest Operatic Recordings, Vol. 2
    Label: Sepia   Catalog: 1289 Release Date: 08/07/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Francesco Cilèa,  Alessandro Scarlatti,  Spoken Word,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Mario Lanza,  Constantin Callinicos,  Frances Yeend,  Marina Koshetz  ... 
    Conductor:  Ray Heindorf,  Constantin Callinicos,  Eugene Ormandy,  John Green  ... 
    CD: $13.99
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  • 8.
    Berlioz: I Troiani
    Label: Walhall   Catalog: 347 Release Date: 06/09/2015   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Hector Berlioz,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Giacomo Puccini,  Georges Bizet  ... 
    Performer:  Mario Del Monaco
    Conductor:  Rafael Kubelik
    CD: $12.99
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  • 9.
    The French Collection / Piotr Beczala
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002251002 Release Date: 02/17/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jules Massenet,  Hector Berlioz,  Giuseppe Verdi,  François Boieldieu  ... 
    Performer:  Piotr Beczala,  Diana Damrau
    Conductor:  Alain Altinoglu
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lyon National Opera Orchestra
    CD: $15.99
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  • 10.
    Bravo! Villazon - The Recitals [4-CD Set]
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 623618 Release Date: 10/28/2014   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Jacques Offenbach,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Friedrich von Flotow  ... 
    Performer:  Rolando Villazón,  Florian Laconi,  Theresa Blank
    Conductor:  Michel Plasson,  Marcello Viotti,  Placido Domingo,  Evelino Pidò
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Madrid Community Orchestra,  ORTF Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $26.99
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  • 11.
    50 Great Arias / Jonas Kaufmann
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002153502 Release Date: 09/23/2014   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Georges Bizet,  Friedrich von Flotow,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Jonas Kaufmann,  Jana Sibera,  Michael Volle,  Margarete Joswig  ... 
    Conductor:  Marco Armiliato,  Claudio Abbado,  Donald Runnicles,  Antonio Pappano
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prague Philharmonic Orchestra,  Mahler Chamber Orchestra,  Parma Teatro Regio Chorus  ... 
    CD: $35.49
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  • 12.
    The Early Domingo
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 975792 Release Date: 08/26/2014   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Jacques Halévy  ... 
    Performer:  Placido Domingo,  Georgetta Psaros,  John McCaw,  Franklyn Whiteley  ... 
    Conductor:  Edward Downes,  Nello Santi,  Sherrill Milnes,  James Levine  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  John Alldis Choir  ... 
    CD: $14.99
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  • 13.
    Operatic Recital
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002067102 Release Date: 07/08/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Georges Bizet,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Gaetano Donizetti  ... 
    Performer:  Eugene Conley
    Conductor:  Royalton Kisch,  Alberto Erede,  Warwick Braithwaite,  Robert Farnon
    CD: $12.99
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  • 14.
    Il Mito Dell'opera: Pedro Lavirgen
    Label: Bongiovanni   Catalog: 1233 Release Date: 05/27/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Giacomo Puccini,  Georges Bizet,  Ruggero Leoncavallo  ... 
    Performer:  Pedro Lavirgen
    CD: $17.99
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  • 15.
    The Romantic Hero / Vittorio Grigolo
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 375658 Release Date: 05/19/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jules Massenet,  Georges Bizet,  Giacomo Meyerbeer,  Jacques Halévy  ... 
    Performer:  Vittorio Grigolo,  Sonya Yoncheva,  Alessandra Martines
    Conductor:  Evelino Pidò
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Italian Radio Symphony Orchestra Milan
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  • 16.
    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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  • 17.
    Bizet: Carmen - Highlights / Karajan, Baltsa, Carreras
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002008902 Release Date: 03/11/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Bizet
    Performer:  Katia Ricciarelli,  Mikael Melbye,  Alexander Malta,  Agnes Baltsa  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Paris Opera Chorus,  Schöneberg Boys Choir
    CD: $6.99
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  • 18.
    The 50 Greatest Tracks / Luciano Pavarotti
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001922802 Release Date: 10/22/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Georges Bizet  ... 
    Performer:  Luciano Pavarotti,  Nicolai Ghiaurov,  Malcolm King,  Robert Lloyd  ... 
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta,  Francesco Molinari-Pradelli,  Richard Bonynge,  Edward Downes  ... 
    CD: $21.99
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  • 19.
    Fernando De Lucia - Complete Gramophone Company Recordings 1902-1909
    Label: Marston   Catalog: 54004 Release Date: 09/30/2013   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Francesco Paolo Tosti,  Jules Massenet,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Gioachino Rossini  ... 
    Performer:  Fernando de Lucia,  Salvatore Cattone,  Antonio Pini-Corsi,  Josefina Huguet  ... 
    Conductor:  Salvatore Sassano
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus
    Recommendation
    CD: $55.49
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  • 20.
    The Best of Jonas Kaufmann
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001894302 Release Date: 09/03/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Georges Bizet,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Charles Gounod  ... 
    Performer:  Jonas Kaufmann,  Jana Sibera,  Renée Fleming,  Barbara Vignudelli  ... 
    Conductor:  Marco Armiliato,  Antonio Pappano,  Claudio Abbado,  John Eliot Gardiner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prague Philharmonic Orchestra,  Verdi Grand Symphonic Orchestra Milan,  Verdi Chorus Milan  ... 
    CD: $14.99
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  • 21.
    Famous Opera Arias / Pedro Lavirgen
    Label: Emec (Editorial De Musica Espanola)   Catalog: 109 Release Date: 08/27/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Umberto Giordano,  Gaetano Donizetti  ... 
    Performer:  Pedro Lavirgen
    CD: $17.99
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  • 22.
    Richard Tucker - The Opera Recital Album Collection
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 543283 Release Date: 08/06/2013   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Gaetano Donizetti,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Charles Gounod,  Georges Bizet  ... 
    Performer:  Richard Tucker,  Dorothy Kirsten,  Eileen Farrell,  Daniza Ilitsch
    Conductor:  Fausto Cleva,  Nello Santi,  Franz Allers,  Wilfrid Pelletier  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra,  Fausto Cleva,  Columbia Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $39.99
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  • 23.
    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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  • 24.
    Icon - John McCormack [4-CD Set]
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 827642 Release Date: 02/05/2013   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  James L. Molloy,  Traditional,  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Arnold Bax  ... 
    Performer:  John McCormack,  Gerald Moore,  Nellie Melba,  Edna Thornton  ... 
    Conductor:  Lawrence Collingwood,  Walter Goehr
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
    CD: $35.49
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  • 25.
    The Very Best Of Nicolai Gedda
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 164972 Release Date: 02/05/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Jules Massenet,  Charles Gounod,  Hector Berlioz,  Jacques Offenbach  ... 
    Performer:  Nicolai Gedda,  André Mallabrera,  Ernest Blanc,  Mirella Freni  ... 
    Conductor:  Alceo Galliera,  Georges Prêtre,  André Cluytens,  Pierre Dervaux  ... 
    CD: $17.99
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