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 solfčge 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 pęcheurs 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 Genevičve 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'arlčsienne 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 / Haitink, Ewing, McCauley, et al
Release Date: 09/27/2005   Label: Kultur Video  
Catalog: 2843   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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Bizet: Carmen (Highlights)
Release Date: 01/28/1994   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8550727   Number of Discs: 1
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Bizet: Symphony In C - Jeux D'enfants
Release Date: 01/04/1996   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8553027   Number of Discs: 1
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Classics Explained - An Introduction To Bizet: Carmen
Release Date: 07/16/2002   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8558010   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Carmen: Micaëla's Aria

Browse 26-50 of 58 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    40 Most Beautiful Arias - Pavarotti, Callas, Domingo, Terfel, Et Al
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 447164 Release Date: 03/25/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Léo Delibes,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Vincenzo Bellini,  George Frideric Handel  ... 
    Performer:  Hei-Kyung Hong,  Jennifer Larmore,  Maria Callas,  Hans-Peter Blochwitz  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Scimone,  Maurizio Barbacini,  Marcello Viotti,  Carlo Rizzi  ... 
    CD: $14.99
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  • 27.
    Arien / Irmgard Seefried
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 437677 Release Date: 02/21/2008   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Carl Maria von Weber,  Richard Strauss,  Albert Lortzing,  Ambroise Thomas  ... 
    Performer:  Irmgard Seefried,  Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau,  Marianne Schech,  Rita Streich  ... 
    Conductor:  Eugen Jochum,  Karl Böhm,  Christoph Stepp,  Jean Fournet  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Dresden Staatskapelle,  Bamberg Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    On sale! $24.98
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  • 28.
    The Edison Legacy Vol. 1
    Label: Marston   Catalog: 52042 Release Date: 02/12/2008   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Umberto Giordano,  Amilcare Ponchielli,  Richard Wagner,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Carolina White,  Edyth Walker,  Fritz Vogelstrom,  Domenico Viglione-Borghese  ... 
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  • 29.
    Luisa Tetrazzini- The London Recordings
    Label: Emi Great Recordings Of The Century   Catalog: 63802 Release Date: 02/06/2008   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Gaetano Lama,  J. Eugčne Gaston Lemaire,  Ernesto De Curtis,  Karl Hoschna  ... 
    Performer:  Attilio Baggiore,  Toto Amici,  Luisa Tetrazzini,  Percy Pitt  ... 
    Conductor:  Percy Pitt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra,  Chorus
    On sale! $33.98
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  • 30.
    Maria Callas - Opera Highlights - Bellini, Bizet, Verdi, Etc
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 97104 Release Date: 08/28/2007   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Giacomo Puccini,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Georges Bizet  ... 
    Performer:  Maria Callas,  Ettore Bastianini,  Giuseppe Di Stefano,  Giuseppe Zampieri  ... 
    Conductor:  Carlo Maria Giulini,  Tullio Serafin,  Victor De Sabata,  Herbert von Karajan  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus,  Philharmonia Chorus  ... 
    CD: $54.49
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  • 31.
    Label: Kristine Muscara   Catalog: 5637409166 Release Date: 03/14/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Francesco Cilča,  Giacomo Puccini,  Alexander Dargomizhsky,  Ruggero Leoncavallo  ... 
    Performer:  Kristine Muscara
    CD: $18.99
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  • 32.
    Arias / Hei-kyung Hong, John Fiore, Orchestra Of St. Luke's
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 68881 Release Date: 09/13/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gustave Charpentier,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Vincenzo Bellini,  Gaetano Donizetti  ... 
    Performer:  Hong Hei-Kyung,  Stewart Rose
    Conductor:  John Fiore
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra of St. Luke's
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  • 33.
    San Francisco Opera Gems Volume 2 / Merola, Et Al
    Label: Guild   Catalog: 2287/89 Release Date: 02/22/2005   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Georges Bizet,  Richard Strauss,  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Umberto Giordano  ... 
    Performer:  Eleanor Steber,  Alessio De Paolis,  John Garris,  Mack Harrell  ... 
    Conductor:  Georges Sebastian,  Kurt Herbert Adler,  Gaetano Merola
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  San Francisco Opera Orchestra,  San Francisco Opera Chorus
    On sale! $35.98
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  • 34.
    Kiri - A Portrait
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000186302 Release Date: 02/10/2004   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Andrew Lloyd Webber,  Carl Davis,  Gottfried H. Stölzel,  Johann Strauss Jr.  ... 
    Performer:  Dame Kiri Te Kanawa,  Olga Hegedus,  Christopher Bowers-Broadbent,  José Carreras  ... 
    Conductor:  Stephen Barlow,  Carl Davis,  Sir Georg Solti,  Julius Rudel  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  London Voices,  Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $19.99
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  • 35.
    Great Voices Of The Past - Favorite French Excerpts
    Label: Opera D'oro   Catalog: 8016 Release Date: 07/01/2003   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Georges Bizet,  Jacques Halévy,  Gustave Charpentier,  Edouard Lalo  ... 
    Performer:  Rosa Ponselle,  Emmy Destinn,  Lawrence Tibbett,  Enrico Caruso  ... 
    Conductor:  Erno Rapée,  Carlo Sabajno,  Alberto Erede,  Lorenzo Molajoli  ... 
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  • 36.
    Close Encounters With Great Singers - Mirella Freni
    Label: Vai Audio   Catalog: 1216 Release Date: 06/24/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Giacomo Puccini,  Francesco Cilča  ... 
    Performer:  José Carreras,  Mirella Freni,  Agnes Baltsa,  Luciano Pavarotti  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan,  James Levine,  Antonino Votto,  Otto Klemperer  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Dresden Staatskapelle,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $11.99
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  • 37.
    Bizet: Carmen - Highlights / Sinopoli, Larmore, Moser, Et Al
    Label: Apex   Catalog: 48727 Release Date: 02/18/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Bizet
    Performer:  Jennifer Larmore,  Thomas Moser,  Angela Gheorghiu,  Samuel Ramey
    Conductor:  Giuseppe Sinopoli
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian State Orchestra,  Bavarian State Opera Chorus
    CD: $8.99
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  • 38.
    The Art Of Pilar Lorengar
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 473317 Release Date: 12/02/2002   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Joaquin Turina,  Enrique Granados,  Richard Strauss,  Manuel de Falla  ... 
    Performer:  Pilar Lorengar,  Alicia De Larrocha
    Conductor:  Jesús Lopez-Cobos,  Walter Weller,  Giuseppe Patané,  Sir Georg Solti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Orchestra,  Vienna Opera Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    On sale! $24.98
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  • 39.
    Galakonzert - Munich 1971 / Freni, Alvarez, Et Al
    Label: Melodram   Catalog: 40062 Release Date: 10/29/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Jules Massenet,  Hector Berlioz,  Giacomo Puccini  ... 
    Performer:  Eduardo Alvares,  Mirella Freni
    Conductor:  Kurt Eichhorn
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Radio Symphony Orchestra
    On sale! $18.98
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  • 40.
    Florence Easton - Absolute Soprano
    Label: Marston   Catalog: 52033 Release Date: 06/01/2002   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Strauss,  Johannes Brahms,  Robert Schumann,  Antonio Secchi  ... 
    Performer:  Lester Hodges,  Florence Easton,  Gerald Moore,  Mario Chamlee  ... 
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  • 41.
    Bizet: Carmen (Highlights) / de Burgos, Bumbry, Freni, Vickers, Paris National Opera Orchestra
    Label: Emi Seraphim   Catalog: 74127 Release Date: 10/24/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Bizet
    Performer:  Jon Vickers,  Grace Bumbry,  Kostas Paskalis,  Bernard Gontcharenko  ... 
    Conductor:  Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Paris Opera Chorus,  National Theater Opera Orchestra of Paris
    Recommendation
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  • 42.
    Renée Fleming
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 467049 Release Date: 09/26/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Vincenzo Bellini,  Charles Gounod  ... 
    Performer:  Renée Fleming
    Conductor:  Sir Charles Mackerras
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Voices
    CD: $17.99
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  • 43.
    The Prima Voce Treasury Of Opera Vol 1
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 1742 Release Date: 02/15/2000   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Jules Massenet,  Giacomo Puccini,  Franz Lehár  ... 
    Performer:  Eidé Noréna,  Conchita Supervia,  Tito Schipa,  Riccardo Stracciari  ... 
    Conductor:  Henri Défosse,  Angelo Albergoni,  Giorgio Polacco,  Nils Grevillius  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Odeon-Künstler Orchestra,  Rome Opera Teatro Reale Orchestra,  Philadelphia Orchestra  ... 
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  • 44.
    Prima Voce - Alma Gluck
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 7904 Release Date: 01/11/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Engelbert Humperdinck,  Robert Johnson,  Jean-Philippe Rameau,  Camille Saint-Saëns  ... 
    Performer:  Alma Gluck
    CD: $14.99
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  • 45.
    Prima Voce - Elisabeth Rethberg
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 7903 Release Date: 10/12/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Georges Bizet,  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Elisabeth Rethberg
    CD: $14.99
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  • 46.
    Simply The Best Night At The Opera / Algana, Bartoli, Et Al
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 26499 Release Date: 07/06/1999   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Richard Wagner,  Giacomo Puccini  ... 
    Performer:  Samuel Ramey,  Annick Massis,  Marilyn Horne,  Hĺkan Hagegĺrd  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Scimone,  Marc Minkowski,  Lawrence Foster,  Marek Janowski  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Solisti Veneti,  Le Concert des Tuileries,  Monte Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $17.99
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  • 47.
    Dorothy Warenskjold - A Treasury Of Operatic Heroines
    Label: Cambria   Catalog: 1111 Release Date: 06/29/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Maria von Weber,  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Giacomo Puccini,  Franco Leoni  ... 
    Performer:  Dorothy Warenskjold
    Conductor:  Gaetano Merola,  Fausto Cleva,  Arthur Fiedler,  Eugen Szenkar  ... 
    CD: $17.99
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  • 48.
    Bizet: Carmen Highlights / Migenes, Domingo, Maazel
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 45209 Release Date: 06/22/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Bizet
    Performer:  Julia Migenes,  Faith Esham,  Placido Domingo,  Lillian Watson  ... 
    Conductor:  Lorin Maazel
    CD: $9.99
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  • 49.
    En Francais - Airs D'opera / Valerie Masterson, Et Al
    Label: Jay Records   Catalog: 1318 Release Date: 06/15/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Charles Gounod,  Georges Bizet,  Jules Massenet,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Performer:  Valerie Masterson
    Conductor:  John Owen Edwards
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Symphony, Washington, D. C.
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  • 50.
    Prima Voce - Tetrazzini Vol 2
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 7891 Release Date: 03/17/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Félicien César David,  Vincenzo Bellini,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Luisa Tetrazzini,  Cleofonte Campanini,  Walter Oesterreicher,  Percy Pitt
    Conductor:  Percy Pitt,  Walter Rogers
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
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