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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: 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 / Kaufmann, Kasarova, Welser-Most
Release Date: 10/27/2014   Label: Decca  
Catalog: 002188409   Number of Discs: 1
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Bizet: L'arlésienne, Carmen - Suites / Bramall, Slovak Po
Release Date: 06/30/1992   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8550061   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Carmen: Flower Song

Browse 1-25 of 258 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    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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  • 2.
    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  ... 
    On sale! $32.98
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  • 3.
    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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  • 4.
    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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  • 5.
    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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    CD: $14.99
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  • 6.
    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: $104.99
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  • 7.
    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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  • 8.
    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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  • 9.
    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  ... 
    On sale! $19.98
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  • 10.
    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
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  • 11.
    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: $13.99
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  • 12.
    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
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  • 13.
    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  ... 
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  • 14.
    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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  • 15.
    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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  • 16.
    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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  • 17.
    Jussi Björling - Classic Arias & Duets Of Bizet, Puccini, Et Al
    Label: Regis   Catalog: 1080 Release Date: 01/29/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Bizet,  Jules Massenet,  Charles Gounod,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Jussi Björling,  Robert Merrill,  Emil Markow,  Harry Ebert
    Conductor:  Renato Cellini,  Nils Grevillius
    On sale! $18.98
    CD: $11.99
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  • 18.
    Label: Somerset Entertainment   Catalog: 56003 Release Date: 01/01/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Gioachino Rossini  ... 
    CD: $18.99
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  • 19.
    The Edison Legacy Vol. 2
    Label: Marston   Catalog: 53014 Release Date: 12/18/2012   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Pietro Mascagni,  Charles Gounod,  Georges Bizet  ... 
    Performer:  Adelina Agostinelli,  Carlo Albani,  Oreste Benedetti,  Celestina Boninsegna  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Chorus
    Recommendation
    CD: $36.99
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  • 20.
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 79914 Release Date: 11/19/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Georges Bizet,  Giacomo Puccini,  Jake Heggie,  Antonio Vivaldi  ... 
    Performer:  Angela Gheorghiu,  Joyce DiDonato,  Philippe Jaroussky,  Rachel Frenkel  ... 
    Conductor:  Simon Rattle,  Marco Armiliato,  Patrick Summers,  Jean-Christophe Spinosi  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Matheus,  English Concert,  tenThing (Brass Ensemble)  ... 
    CD: $17.99
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  • 21.
    Forever Domingo
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001784502 Release Date: 11/19/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Agustín Lara,  Nicholas Brodszky,  Salvatore Cardillo,  Ernesto Lecuona  ... 
    Performer:  Placido Domingo,  Sherrill Milnes,  Piero Cappuccilli,  Nicolai Ghiaurov  ... 
    Conductor:  Marcel Peeters,  Karl-Heinz Loges,  Herbert von Karajan,  Giuseppe Sinopoli  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Vienna State Opera Chorus,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $11.99
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  • 22.
    Be My Love - Tribute To Mario Lanza / 	Joseph Calleja
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001743802 Release Date: 10/09/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Nicholas Brodszky,  Agustín Lara,  Renato Rascel,  Juventino Rosas  ... 
    Performer:  Joseph Calleja
    Conductor:  Steven Mercurio
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Concert Orchestra,  New London Singers
    CD: $14.99
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  • 23.
    Domingo Conducts Milnes! Milnes Conducts Domingo!
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 195828 Release Date: 07/31/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Bizet,  Jules Massenet,  Charles Gounod,  Umberto Giordano  ... 
    Performer:  Doreen Price,  Sarah Walker,  Jean Temperley,  Sherrill Milnes  ... 
    Conductor:  Placido Domingo,  Sherrill Milnes
    CD: $6.99
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  • 24.
    Rene Kollo - Der Opernsanger
    Label: Acanta/Pilz   Catalog: 233554 Release Date: 07/31/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Carl Maria von Weber,  Eugen D'Albert,  Wilhelm Kienzl  ... 
    Performer:  René Kollo,  Norbert Orth,  Eva Martón,  Katia Ricciarelli
    Conductor:  Hans Wallat,  Wolfgang Ebert,  Marek Janowski,  Heinz Geese  ... 
    CD: $24.99
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  • 25.
    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
    CD: $18.99
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