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 / Kaufmann, Kasarova, Welser-Most
Release Date: 10/27/2014   Label: Decca  
Catalog: 002188409   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: 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 / Pretre, Callas, Guiot, Gedda, Massard
Release Date: 09/23/2014   Label: Warner Classics  
Catalog: 634110   Number of Discs: 2
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Prima Voce - Pasquale Amato - Leoncavallo, Bizet, Et Al
Release Date: 02/23/1999   Label: Nimbus  
Catalog: 7897   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Carmen: Micaëla's Aria

Browse 26-50 of 83 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    40 Most Beautiful Arias - Luciano Pavarotti, Maria Callas, Placido Domingo, Bryn 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  ... 
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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  ... 
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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.
    Les Prieres De L'opera
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 574540 Release Date: 01/13/2008   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Richard Wagner,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Kurt Moll,  Mirella Freni,  Maria Callas,  Jessye Norman  ... 
    Conductor:  Wolfgang Sawallisch,  Riccardo Muti,  Nicola Rescigno,  Klaus Tennstedt  ... 
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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.
    In Den Großen Oper Szenen / Anneliese Rothenberger
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 8404 Release Date: 03/13/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Strauss,  Giacomo Puccini,  Georges Bizet,  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Anneliese Rothenberger
    Conductor:  Rudolf Neuhaus,  Giuseppe Patané,  Siegfried Kurz
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Staatskapelle
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  • 32.
    Maria Cebotari - Arien, Duette, Szenen
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 90248 Release Date: 10/24/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Georges Bizet,  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Maria Cebotari,  Walther Ludwig,  Helge Rosvaenge,  Karl Schmitt-Walter  ... 
    Conductor:  Arthur Rother,  Gerhard Steeger,  Robert Heger,  Hanns Steinkopf
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Berlin Deutsche Oper Orchestra,  Berlin Staatskapelle Orchestra
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  • 33.
    Montserrat Caballe - Arias from Operas
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 000673302 Release Date: 08/08/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Bizet,  Giacomo Puccini,  Jules Massenet,  Gustave Charpentier  ... 
    Performer:  Montserrat Caballé,  Placido Domingo
    Conductor:  Reynald Giovaninetti,  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmonia Orchestra,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
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  • 34.
    Lebendige Vergangenheit - Eleanor Steber
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 89636 Release Date: 03/28/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Charles Gounod,  Georges Bizet,  Gustave Charpentier  ... 
    Performer:  Eleanor Steber
    Conductor:  Erich Leinsdorf,  Jean Paul Morel,  Walter Susskind,  Fausto Cleva
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  RCA Victor Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
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  • 35.
    Lebendige Vergangenheit - Hildegarde Ranczak
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 89639 Release Date: 03/28/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Georges Bizet,  Ambroise Thomas  ... 
    Performer:  Hildegard Ranczak,  Peter Anders,  Mathieu Ahlersmeyer,  Helge Rosvaenge
    Conductor:  Selmar Meyrowitz,  Arthur Rother,  Franz Schmidt,  Clemens Krauss
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin Deutsche Oper Orchestra,  Berlin State Opera Orchestra  ... 
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  • 36.
    Label: Kristine Muscara   Catalog: 5637409166 Release Date: 03/14/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Francesco Cilèa,  Giacomo Puccini,  Alexander Dargomizhsky,  Ruggero Leoncavallo  ... 
    Performer:  Kristine Muscara
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  • 37.
    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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  • 38.
    Operatunity Winners / Denise Leigh, Jane Gilchrist, Et Al
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 5575942 Release Date: 08/02/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Engelbert Humperdinck,  Giacomo Puccini,  Arthur Sullivan,  Georges Bizet  ... 
    Performer:  Denise Leigh,  Jane Gilchrist
    Conductor:  Paul Daniel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English National Opera Orchestra,  London Voices
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  • 39.
    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
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  • 40.
    Edith Oldrup - Lyrical Soprano Of The Danish Royal Opera
    Label: Danacord   Catalog: 504 Release Date: 09/27/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Christoph Ernst F. Weyse,  Jean Baptiste Edouard Dupuy,  Peter Heise,  Aksel Agerby  ... 
    Performer:  Folmer Jensen
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  • 41.
    Masters Of The Voice - Soprano / Battle, Fleming, Et Al
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 000273702 Release Date: 07/13/2004   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Leonard Bernstein,  Francesco Cilèa,  Richard Strauss  ... 
    Performer:  Dame Joan Sutherland,  June Anderson,  Giovanni Foiani,  Silvio Maionica  ... 
    Conductor:  Francesco Molinari-Pradelli,  Leonard Bernstein,  Franco Capuana,  Sir Georg Solti  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Chorus,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 42.
    Bizet - Greatest Hits
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 000233802 Release Date: 05/11/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Bizet
    Performer:  Teresa Berganza,  Léopold Simoneau,  René Bianco,  Ileana Cotrubas  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado,  Antal Doráti,  Jean Fournet
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ambrosian Singers,  London Symphony Orchestra,  Lamoureux Concerts Association Orchestra
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  • 43.
    Bizet: Carmen - Highlights / Alagna, Gheorgiu, Et Al
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 57502 Release Date: 04/06/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Bizet
    Performer:  Angela Gheorghiu,  Inva Mula-Tchako,  David Alagna,  Roberto Alagna  ... 
    Conductor:  Michel Plasson
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Toulouse Capitole Orchestra,  Les Elements Chamber Choir
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  • 44.
    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  ... 
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  • 45.
    Opera Souvenirs - Four Canadian Singers
    Label: Xxi   Catalog: 420 Release Date: 12/30/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Bizet,  Léo Delibes,  Edvard Grieg,  Thomas Campion  ... 
    Performer:  Sarah Fischer,  Pauline Donalda,  Eva Gauthier,  Emma Albani
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  • 46.
    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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  • 47.
    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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  • 48.
    The Very Best Of Mirella Freni
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 75909 Release Date: 04/22/2003   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Vincenzo Bellini,  Giacomo Puccini,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Mirella Freni,  Stefania Malagú,  Franco Corelli,  Michelle Vilma  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan,  Franco Ferraris,  Riccardo Muti,  Leone Magiera  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Rome Opera House Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 49.
    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
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  • 50.
    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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