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
Bizet: Carmen / Verrett, Domingo, van Dam, Solti
Release Date: 09/03/2002   Label: Opera D'oro  
Catalog: 1358   Number of Discs: 3
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Bizet: L'arlésienne Suites, Symphonie En Ut / Pons, Et Al
Release Date: 07/10/2007   Label: Harmonia Mundi Musique D'abord  
Catalog: 1951675   Number of Discs: 1
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Bizet: Carmen / Pretre, Cossotto, Domingo, Van Dam, Et Al
Release Date: 05/23/2000   Label: Opera D'oro  
Catalog: 1244   Number of Discs: 3
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Bizet: Carmen / Karajan, Bumbry, Vickers, Et Al
Release Date: 02/17/1998   Label: Opera D'oro  
Catalog: 1151   Number of Discs: 3
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Bizet: Carmen / Bellezza, Stignani, Gigli, Rome Opera, Et Al
Release Date: 02/27/2001   Label: Opera D'oro  
Catalog: 1278   Number of Discs: 2
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Work: Carmen: Micaëla's Aria

Browse 26-50 of 53 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    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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  • 27.
    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: $16.99
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  • 28.
    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  ... 
    On sale! $18.98
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  • 29.
    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 Cilèa  ... 
    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  ... 
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  • 30.
    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  ... 
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  • 31.
    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
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  • 32.
    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  ... 
    CD: $36.99
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  • 33.
    Helge Rosvaenge - Zürich 1949
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 90338 Release Date: 12/19/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Lehár,  Georges Bizet,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Johann Strauss Jr.
    Performer:  Helge Rosvaenge,  Lisa Della Casa,  Manfred Jungwirth
    Conductor:  Victor Reinshagen
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra
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  • 34.
    Waldoper Zoppot - The Bayreuth Of The North - 99 Singers
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 89406 Release Date: 10/24/2000   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Engelbert Humperdinck,  Carl Maria von Weber,  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Richard Wagner  ... 
    Performer:  Claire Dux,  Robert Hager,  Tiana Lemnitz,  Ludwig Hofmann  ... 
    On sale! $104.98
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  • 35.
    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: $15.99
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  • 36.
    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  ... 
    On sale! $33.98
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  • 37.
    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
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  • 38.
    Lebendige Vergangenheit - Graziella Pareto
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 89181 Release Date: 12/14/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Garme Guetary,  Manuel Ponce,  Gabriele Sibella,  Luigi Arditi  ... 
    Performer:  Graziella Pareto,  Giovanni Manurita,  Fernandino Ciniselli,  Matteo Dragoni  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra,  Chorus
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  • 39.
    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
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  • 40.
    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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  • 41.
    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.
    On sale! $18.98
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  • 42.
    Four Austrian Sopranos Of The Past
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 89973 Release Date: 07/04/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Maria von Weber,  Richard Strauss,  Richard Wagner,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Hilde Konetzni,  Maria Reining,  Luise Helletsgruber,  Berta Kiurina
    On sale! $22.98
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  • 43.
    Bizet: Carmen - Highlights / Solti, Troyanos, Domingo, Et Al
    Label: London/Decca Opera Gala Series   Catalog: 458204 Release Date: 05/12/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Bizet
    Performer:  Placido Domingo,  Tatiana Troyanos,  Dame Kiri Te Kanawa,  Jane Berbié  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  John Alldis Choir,  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Haberdashers' Aske's School Boys Choir
    CD: $12.99
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  • 44.
    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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  • 45.
    Prima Voce - Eide Norena
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 7821 Release Date: 11/01/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Edvard Grieg,  George Frideric Handel,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Eidé Noréna
    Conductor:  Henri Défosse,  Piero Coppola,  Joseph Messner
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  • 46.
    Bizet: Carmen - Highlights / Lombard, Crespin, Py, Van Dam
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 13801 Release Date: 09/03/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Bizet
    Performer:  Gilbert Py,  Régine Crespin,  Nadine Denize,  José Van Dam  ... 
    Conductor:  Alain Lombard
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rhine Opera Chorus,  Strasbourg Philharmonic Orchestra,  St. Maurice Children's Chorus
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  • 47.
    Prima Voce - Farrar In French Opera
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 7872 Release Date: 10/03/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jules Massenet,  Ambroise Thomas,  Charles Gounod,  Jacques Offenbach  ... 
    Performer:  Geraldine Farrar,  Fritz Kreisler,  Edmond Clément,  Antonio [Baritone Vocals] Scotti  ... 
    Conductor:  Walter B. Rogers,  Arturo Toscanini
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  • 48.
    Unvergessene Stimmen Der Wiener Staatsoper
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 89401 Release Date: 02/07/1995   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Carl Maria von Weber,  Richard Strauss,  Richard Wagner,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Hilde Konetzni,  Elisabeth Höngen,  Esther Réthy,  Set Svanholm  ... 
    On sale! $104.98
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  • 49.
    Prima Voce - Eames & Plancon
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 7860 Release Date: 12/06/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Vincenzo Bellini,  Franz Schubert,  Richard Wagner  ... 
    Performer:  Pol Plançon,  Emma Eames,  Louise Homer,  Emilio de Gorgoza  ... 
    CD: $11.99
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  • 50.
    Lebendige Vergangenheit - Elisabeth Rethberg
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 89051 Release Date: 11/29/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Umberto Giordano,  Hubert Patáky,  Richard Strauss  ... 
    Performer:  Elisabeth Rethberg,  Richard Tauber
    On sale! $22.98
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