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 & L'Arlesienne Suites Nos. 1 & 2 / Marriner, London Symphony
Release Date: 07/08/2016   Label: Pentatone  
Catalog: 5186234   Number of Discs: 1
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Bizet: Carmen / Nanasi, Arena di Verona Orchestra and Chorus
Release Date: 08/28/2015   Label: Bel Air Classiques  
Catalog: 121   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Les pêcheurs de perles: Au fond du temple saint

Browse 1-25 of 107 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Opera Gold: 100 Great Tracks
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002503602 Release Date: 06/03/2016   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Georges Bizet,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Umberto Giordano  ... 
    Performer:  Luciano Pavarotti,  Marilyn Horne,  Dame Joan Sutherland,  Mirella Freni  ... 
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta,  Henry Lewis,  Richard Bonynge,  Herbert von Karajan  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  John Alldis Choir,  Wandsworth School Boys' Choir,  London Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $21.99
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  • 2.
    Classic Duets / Luciano Pavarotti
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002232209 Release Date: 12/09/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Pietro Mascagni,  Umberto Giordano,  Georges Bizet  ... 
    Performer:  Renata Tebaldi,  Luciano Pavarotti,  June Anderson,  Dame Kiri Te Kanawa  ... 
    Conductor:  Bruno Bartoletti,  Riccardo Chailly,  Sir Georg Solti,  James Levine  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra,  Bologna Teatro Comunale Orchestra,  Chicago Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 3.
    Classic Duets / Luciano Pavarotti
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002200802 Release Date: 11/10/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Pietro Mascagni,  Umberto Giordano,  Georges Bizet  ... 
    Performer:  Renata Tebaldi,  Luciano Pavarotti,  June Anderson,  Dame Kiri Te Kanawa  ... 
    Conductor:  Bruno Bartoletti,  Riccardo Chailly,  Sir Georg Solti,  James Levine  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra,  Bologna Teatro Comunale Orchestra,  Chicago Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 4.
    Classics For The People Vol 1 / Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 94982 Release Date: 10/28/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Richard Wagner,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Sir Edward Elgar  ... 
    Performer:  Wynne Evans,  Donald Maxwell,  Deborah Norman
    Conductor:  Owain Arwel Hughes,  Philip Ellis,  Nick Davies
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Goldsmith's Choral Union Choir
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  • 5.
    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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  • 6.
    Verdi: La Forza Del Destino
    Label: Urania Records   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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  • 7.
    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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  • 8.
    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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  • 9.
    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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  • 10.
    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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  • 11.
    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  ... 
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  • 12.
    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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  • 13.
    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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  • 14.
    Best of 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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  • 15.
    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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  • 16.
    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
    On sale! $29.98
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  • 17.
    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,  Giovanni Scaramuzzino,  Sonia Maurer  ... 
    Conductor:  Lovro von Matacic,  Fabio Biondi,  Sir Thomas Beecham,  Pierre Dervaux  ... 
    CD: $7.99
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  • 18.
    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 [Baritone Vocal] Barrard,  Martine Mahé,  Placido Domingo  ... 
    Conductor:  Roger Norrington,  Michel Plasson,  Eugene Kohn,  Antonio de Almeida  ... 
    CD: $17.99
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  • 19.
    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  ... 
    CD: $21.99
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  • 20.
    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  ... 
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  • 21.
    100 Best Placido Domingo
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 47472 Release Date: 01/11/2011   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Giacomo Puccini,  Arrigo Boito,  Pietro Mascagni  ... 
    Performer:  Fiorenza Cossotto,  Placido Domingo,  Montserrat Caballé,  Reri Grist  ... 
    Conductor:  Riccardo Muti,  Carlo Maria Giulini,  John Barker,  Bruno Bartoletti  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Chorus,  New Philharmonia Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $19.99
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  • 22.
    50 Best Placido Domingo
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 48750 Release Date: 01/11/2011   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Giacomo Puccini,  Arrigo Boito,  Pietro Mascagni  ... 
    Performer:  Fiorenza Cossotto,  Placido Domingo,  Montserrat Caballé,  Reri Grist  ... 
    Conductor:  Riccardo Muti,  Carlo Maria Giulini,  John Barker,  Bruno Bartoletti  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Chorus,  New Philharmonia Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $17.99
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  • 23.
    Jean Noté - Recordings 1899-1917
    Label: Hafg   Catalog: 10170 Release Date: 11/23/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Jacques Halévy,  Eugeno Diaz de la Peña  ... 
    Performer:  Jean Noté,  Yvonne Gall,  Charles Fontaine,  Agustarello Affre  ... 
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  • 24.
    Mathieu Ahlersmeyer - Recordings 1938-1943
    Label: Hafg   Catalog: 10002 Release Date: 10/29/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Georges Bizet,  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Kurt Böhme,  Margarete Teschemacher,  Mathieu Ahlersmeyer,  Maria Cebotari  ... 
    Conductor:  Karl Elmendorff,  Karl Böhm,  Arthur Rother
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra
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  • 25.
    Margherita Carosio & Luigi Fort - Recordings 1930-1949
    Label: Hafg   Catalog: 10086 Release Date: 10/15/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franco Vittadini,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Giacomo Puccini,  Daniel-François Auber  ... 
    Performer:  Luigi Fort,  Leo Picciòli,  Margherita Carosio
    Conductor:  L. E. Gennai
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