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 / Solti, Domingo, Verrett, Te Kanawa, Et Al
Release Date: 09/13/2005   Label: Opera D'oro  
Catalog: 7010   Number of Discs: 3
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Bizet: Le Docteur Miracle / Amaducci, Massard, Corazza, Eda-pierre
Release Date: 09/14/2010   Label: Opera D'oro  
Catalog: 7077   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 / 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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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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Work: Les pêcheurs de perles: Au fond du temple saint

Browse 1-25 of 143 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    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  ... 
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  • 2.
    Label: Urania   Catalog: 22315 Release Date: 07/16/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Georges Bizet,  Jules Massenet  ... 
    Performer:  Giuseppe Di Stefano,  Leyla Gencer,  Stefania Malagú,  Franco Calabrese  ... 
    Conductor:  Antonino Votto
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  • 3.
    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  ... 
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  • 4.
    Classic Voices Of The Century
    Label: Regis   Catalog: 2050 Release Date: 07/12/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Georges Bizet,  Gioachino Rossini,  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Jussi Björling,  Robert Merrill,  Tito Gobbi,  Elisabeth Schwarzkopf
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  • 5.
    The Complete Arthur Endreze
    Label: Marston   Catalog: 55001 Release Date: 05/01/2013   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Georges Bizet,  Jules Massenet,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Ambroise Thomas  ... 
    Performer:  Arthur Endrèze,  Gaston Micheletti,  René Verdière,  Paul-Henri Vergnes  ... 
    Conductor:  Henri Défosse,  Gustav Cloëz,  François Ruhlmann,  Selmar Meyrowitz
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  • 6.
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 5412002 Release Date: 02/25/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Eric Coates,  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Giacomo Puccini  ... 
    Performer:  Dame Kiri Te Kanawa,  Kathryn Stott,  Michael Boriskin,  Todd Levy  ... 
    Conductor:  Vernon Handley,  Eugene Ormandy,  Leonard Slatkin,  John Pritchard  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Taverner Players
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  • 7.
    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
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  • 8.
    Singers Of The Century - 40 Greats Of  The 20th Century
    Label: Regis   Catalog: 2078 Release Date: 01/29/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Giacomo Puccini,  Pietro Mascagni,  Umberto Giordano  ... 
    Performer:  Ettore Bastianini,  Giuseppe Taddei,  Richard Tucker,  Mario Del Monaco  ... 
    CD: $21.99
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  • 9.
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 1007092 Release Date: 11/06/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Umberto Giordano,  Giacomo Puccini  ... 
    Performer:  Andrea Bocelli
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  • 10.
    Label: Simply   Catalog: 1206108 Release Date: 09/04/2012   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Vincenzo Bellini,  George Frideric Handel,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Georges Bizet  ... 
    Performer:  Maria Callas,  Joszef Mukle,  Alberto Cupido,  Graciela Alperyn  ... 
    Conductor:  Camerata Budapest,  László Kovács,  Martin Elmquist,  Alexander Rahbari  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Scholars Baroque Ensemble,  I Solisti Italiani
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  • 11.
    Great Opera Duets
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 195437 Release Date: 07/31/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Georges Bizet,  Amilcare Ponchielli
    Performer:  Sherrill Milnes,  Placido Domingo
    Conductor:  Anton Guadagno
    CD: $6.99
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  • 12.
    Concerto: One Night In Central Park / Andrea Bocelli [DVD]
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 001610309 Release Date: 05/22/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Franz Schubert,  Umberto Giordano,  Georges Bizet  ... 
    Performer:  Andrea Bocelli,  Ana Maria Martinez,  Bryn Terfel,  Pretty Yende  ... 
    Conductor:  Alan Gilbert
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
    DVD: $19.99
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  • 13.
    Il Tenore / Salvatore Licitra
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 798960 Release Date: 02/07/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Pietro Mascagni,  Francesco Cilèa  ... 
    Performer:  Salvatore Licitra,  Mary Plazas,  Marcelo Alvarez
    Conductor:  Carlo Rizzi,  Roberto Rizzi Brignoli,  Daniel May
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Chorus,  Verdi Grand Symphonic Orchestra Milan  ... 
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  • 14.
    Concerto: One Night In Central Park / Andrea Bocelli
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 001597702 Release Date: 11/15/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Franz Schubert,  Umberto Giordano,  Georges Bizet  ... 
    Performer:  Andrea Bocelli,  Ana Maria Martinez,  Bryn Terfel,  Pretty Yende  ... 
    Conductor:  Alan Gilbert
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
    CD: $14.99
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  • 15.
    Concerto: One Night In Central Park / Andrea Bocelli [CD & DVD]
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 001610000 Release Date: 11/15/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Franz Schubert,  Umberto Giordano,  Georges Bizet  ... 
    Performer:  Andrea Bocelli,  Ana Maria Martinez,  Bryn Terfel,  Pretty Yende  ... 
    Conductor:  Alan Gilbert
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
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  • 16.
    Concerto: One Night In Central Park / Andrea Bocelli [Blu-ray]
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 2787792 Release Date: 11/14/2011  
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Franz Schubert,  Umberto Giordano,  Georges Bizet  ... 
    Performer:  Andrea Bocelli,  Ana Maria Martinez,  Bryn Terfel,  Pretty Yende  ... 
    Conductor:  Alan Gilbert
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
    On sale! $36.99
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  • 17.
    Classics At The Movies
    Label: Abc Classics   Catalog: 4764553 Release Date: 08/16/2011   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  George Gershwin,  Giacomo Puccini,  Tomaso Albinoni,  Pietro Mascagni  ... 
    Performer:  Isador Goodman,  Yvonne Kenny,  Jane Sheldon,  Lauris Elms  ... 
    Conductor:  Patrick Thomas,  Wlodzimierz Kamirski,  William Motzing,  David Measham  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cantillation,  Tasmanian Symphony Chamber Players
    On sale! $65.98
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  • 18.
    Great Opear Duets
    Label: Virgin Classics   Catalog: 28984 Release Date: 07/26/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Hector Berlioz,  Christoph W. Gluck  ... 
    Performer:  Rolando Villazón,  Anna Netrebko,  Natalie Dessay,  Roberto Alagna  ... 
    Conductor:  Carlo Rizzi,  Evelino Pidò,  John Nelson,  John Eliot Gardiner  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Seminario Musicale,  Il Complesso Barocco,  Ensemble Orchestral de Paris  ... 
    CD: $17.99
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  • 19.
    Jussi Bjorling - The Complete RCA Album Collection
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 774892 Release Date: 07/26/2011   Number of Discs: 14
    Composer:  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Charles Gounod,  Giacomo Puccini,  Giacomo Meyerbeer  ... 
    Performer:  Jussi Björling,  Robert Merrill,  Emil Markow,  Frederick Schauwecker  ... 
    Conductor:  Renato Cellini,  Nils Grevillius,  Jonel Perlea,  Erich Leinsdorf  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra,  Orchestra,  Rome Opera House Orchestra  ... 
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  • 20.
    Moonlight Classics
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 82161 Release Date: 07/26/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Edvard Grieg,  Claude Debussy,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Jules Massenet  ... 
    Performer:  Sviatoslav Richter,  Alexis Weissenberg,  Sonia Maurer,  Giovanni Scaramuzzino  ... 
    Conductor:  Lovro von Matacic,  Fabio Biondi,  Sir Thomas Beecham,  Pierre Dervaux  ... 
    CD: $7.99
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  • 21.
    The Very Best Of Thomas Hampson
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 94807 Release Date: 07/26/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Charles Gounod,  Jules Massenet,  Georges Bizet  ... 
    Performer:  Thomas Hampson,  Marc Barrard,  Martine Mahé,  Placido Domingo  ... 
    Conductor:  Roger Norrington,  Michel Plasson,  Eugene Kohn,  Antonio de Almeida  ... 
    CD: $17.99
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  • 22.
    The Opera Album 2011
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001566102 Release Date: 06/14/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Georges Bizet,  Giacomo Puccini,  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Alfredo Catalani  ... 
    Performer:  Bryn Terfel,  Anna Netrebko,  Andrea Bocelli,  Jonas Kaufmann  ... 
    Conductor:  Barry Wordsworth,  Gianandrea Noseda,  Zubin Mehta,  Antonio Pappano  ... 
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  • 23.
    Label: Opera Collective   Catalog: 5637688526 Release Date: 03/15/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Bizet,  Giacomo Puccini,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Jacques Offenbach  ... 
    Performer:  Vaughn Lindquist,  Geoffrey Duce,  Carla Wesby,  Adrienne Patino  ... 
    CD: $14.99
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  • 24.
    Label: Membran International Gmbh   Catalog: 232763 Release Date: 02/15/2011   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Albert Lortzing,  Christoph W. Gluck,  Hans Pfitzner,  Richard Strauss  ... 
    Performer:  Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau,  Rita Streich,  Lisa Della Casa,  Rudolf Schock  ... 
    Conductor:  Wilhelm Schüchter,  Arthur Rother,  Richard Kraus,  Joseph Keilberth  ... 
    CD: $22.99
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  • 25.
    Viva Domingo!
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 48757 Release Date: 02/08/2011   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Vincenzo Bellini,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  George Frideric Handel  ... 
    Performer:  Placido Domingo,  Keith Erwen,  David Cangelosi,  Renata Scotto  ... 
    Conductor:  Riccardo Muti,  John Barker,  Eugene Kohn,  Asher Fisch  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmonia Orchestra,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra,  Ambrosian Opera Chorus  ... 
    CD: $27.49
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