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: Symphony In C, L'arlesienne Suites / Delacote, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Release Date: 11/10/2009   Label: Royal Philharmonic Masterworks  
Catalog: 28480   Number of Discs: 1
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Prokofiev: Peter & the Wolf; Saint-Saens, Bizet / Gielgud, Licata
Release Date: 10/13/2009   Label: Royal Philharmonic Masterworks  
Catalog: 28450   Number of Discs: 1
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Bizet: Carmen Suite  / Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Release Date: 09/08/2009   Label: Royal Philharmonic Masterworks  
Catalog: 28020   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 / Haitink, Ewing, McCauley, et al
Release Date: 09/27/2005   Label: Kultur Video  
Catalog: 2843   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Les pêcheurs de perles: Au fond du temple saint

Browse 26-50 of 138 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    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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  • 27.
    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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  • 28.
    Best Film 50
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 31673 Release Date: 10/12/2010   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Richard Strauss,  Richard Wagner,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  James Horner  ... 
    Performer:  Ernest Blanc,  Nicolai Gedda,  Gérard Caussé,  Augustin Dumay  ... 
    Conductor:  Klaus Tennstedt,  Mariss Jansons,  Richard Hickox,  David Abel  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Symphony Chorus  ... 
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  • 29.
    The Pearl Fishers' Duet: The Very Best Of Jussi Bjorling
    Label: Musical Concepts   Catalog: 1100 Release Date: 10/05/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Bizet,  Giacomo Puccini,  Jules Massenet,  Charles Gounod  ... 
    Performer:  Jussi Björling,  Robert Merrill,  Harry Ebert
    Conductor:  Renato Cellini,  Erich Leinsdorf,  Nils Grevilius,  Sir Thomas Beecham
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  • 30.
    Essential Opera
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 27920 Release Date: 08/24/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Georges Bizet,  Gioachino Rossini,  Giacomo Puccini  ... 
    Performer:  Placido Domingo,  Nicolai Gedda,  Ernest Blanc,  Thomas [Baritone Vocal] Hampson  ... 
    Conductor:  Riccardo Muti,  Thomas Schippers,  Pierre Dervaux,  Gianluigi Gelmetti  ... 
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  • 31.
    Musical Handyman
    Label: Abc Classics   Catalog: 897376 Release Date: 08/17/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Carl Orff,  Joaquin Rodrigo,  Georges Bizet,  Aram Khachaturian  ... 
    Performer:  Karin Schaupp,  David Hobson,  Teddy Tahu Rhodes,  Li Wei  ... 
    Conductor:  Anthony Walker,  Benjamin Northey,  Thomas Woods,  Leonard Dommett  ... 
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  • 32.
    Classical Favourites Sampler
    Label: Avid   Catalog: 577 Release Date: 05/11/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Giacomo Puccini,  Franz Schubert,  Sergei Rachmaninov  ... 
    Performer:  Jussi Björling,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Claudia Muzio,  Jascha Heifetz  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham,  Nils Grevillius,  Sir John Barbirolli,  Arturo Toscanini  ... 
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  • 33.
    The Hit Men: The Greatest Voices Of Our Time
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 28546 Release Date: 04/20/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Salvatore Cardillo,  Giacomo Puccini,  Gioachino Rossini  ... 
    Performer:  Giuseppe Di Stefano,  Franco Corelli,  Placido Domingo,  Sherrill Milnes  ... 
    Conductor:  Tullio Serafin,  Rafaele Mingardo,  Bruno Bartoletti,  James Levine  ... 
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  • 34.
    Icon - Nicolai Gedda - Lyric Poet Of The Tenor Voice
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 56095 Release Date: 03/23/2010   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Joaquin Turina,  Ottorino Respighi,  Francesco Maria Veracini,  Sergei Rachmaninov  ... 
    Performer:  Nicolai Gedda,  Gerald Moore,  Jan Eyron,  Aldo Ciccolini  ... 
    Conductor:  Lonya Kolbouss,  Robert Stolz,  Willy Mattes,  Willi Boskovsky  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Russian Men's Chorus,  Balalaika Orchestra,  Graunke Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 35.
    Dokumente Einer Sangerkarriere - Josef Metternich Vol 3
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 93467 Release Date: 02/09/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Giacomo Meyerbeer,  Georges Bizet,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Josef Metternich,  Rudolf Schock,  Melitta Muszely,  Erika Köth  ... 
    Conductor:  Wilhelm Schüchter
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  • 36.
    Palm Court Pleasures
    Label: Opening Day   Catalog: 9365 Release Date: 01/26/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ignace Jan Paderewski,  George Gershwin,  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Filippo Schreier  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Vivant
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  • 37.
    Da Capo - Opera Highlights
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 149512 Release Date: 01/12/2010   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Otto Nicolai,  Richard Wagner,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Christoph W. Gluck  ... 
    Performer:  Armin Ude,  Grace Bumbry,  Siegfried Lorenz,  Sona Cervana  ... 
    Conductor:  Bernhard Klee,  Otmar Suitner,  Hans Vonk,  Václav Neumann  ... 
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  • 38.
    Label: C-force   Catalog: 36719 Release Date: 01/01/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Georges Bizet,  Joseph Bologne Chevalier de Saint-Georges,  Werner Jaegerhuber  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  C-Force (Chamber Ensemble)
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  • 39.
    Pearlfishers Duet / Bastianini, Carreras, Del Monaco, Fischer-dieskau
    Label: Eloquence   Catalog: 4802614 Release Date: 08/04/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Bizet,  Vincenzo Bellini
    Performer:  Gregory Cross,  Gino Quilico,  Nicolai Ghiaurov,  Piero Cappuccilli
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  • 40.
    1001 Nights - Breezes From The Orient / Schneidt, Guida, Ottenthal
    Label: Phoenix Edition   Catalog: 420 Release Date: 05/26/2009   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Ernest Reyer,  Karol Szymanowski,  Peter Cornelius,  Christoph W. Gluck  ... 
    Performer:  Gertrud von Ottenthal,  Bruno Lazzaretti,  Roberto Servile,  Georg Donderer  ... 
    Conductor:  Guido Maria Guida,  Hanns-Martin Schneidt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Berlin RIAS Chamber Chorus,  Berlin St. Hedwigs Cathedral Chorus
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  • 41.
    Palm Court Encores / Ensemble Vivant
    Label: Opening Day   Catalog: 9364 Release Date: 05/04/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Scott Joplin,  Claude Debussy,  Luigi Boccherini,  Jacob Gade  ... 
    Performer:  Catherine Wilson,  Marie Berard,  Dorothy Lawson
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Vivant
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  • 42.
    Opera's Greatest Moments - Favourite Arias And Choruses
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8557926-27 Release Date: 02/24/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Carl Maria von Weber,  Vincenzo Bellini,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Giacomo Puccini  ... 
    Performer:  Marina Mescheriakova,  John Dickie,  Thomas Harper,  Patrizia Pace  ... 
    Conductor:  Johannes Wildner,  Michael Halász,  Piergiorgio Morandi,  Alexander Rahbari  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Slovak Philharmonic Chorus,  Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Capella Istropolitana  ... 
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  • 43.
    The Opera Gala - Live from Baden-Baden / Netrebko, Vargas [Blu-ray]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001208859 Release Date: 11/25/2008  
    Composer:  Georges Bizet,  Ruperto Chapí (y Lorente),  Giacomo Puccini,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Ludovic Tézier,  Elina Garanca,  Ramón Vargas,  Anna Netrebko
    Conductor:  Marco Armiliato
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Southwest German Radio Symphony Orchestra
    Blu-ray Video: $32.99
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  • 44.
    The Berlin Concert: Live From The Waldbühne / Domingo, Netrebko, Villazón [Blu-ray]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001208459 Release Date: 11/18/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Lehár,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Pablo Sorozabal,  Giacomo Puccini  ... 
    Performer:  Rolando Villazón,  Anna Netrebko,  Placido Domingo
    Conductor:  Marco Armiliato
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Deutsche Oper Orchestra
    Blu-ray Video: $32.99
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  • 45.
    Robert Merrill & Jussi Bjorling - Arias & Duets
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 7945 Release Date: 11/11/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Charles Gounod,  Georges Bizet,  Giacomo Meyerbeer,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Jussi Björling,  Robert Merrill
    Conductor:  Renato Cellini,  Nils Grevillius,  Arthur Fiedler
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  RCA Victor Orchestra,  Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra
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  • 46.
    Welt der Oper
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 182512 Release Date: 10/25/2008   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Franz von Suppé,  Otto Nicolai,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Christoph W. Gluck  ... 
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  • 47.
    Mirror Image At The Opera - Handel, Mozart, Delibes, Verdi, Etc / Bontrager, Stebleton, Kanamaru
    Label: Msr   Catalog: 1234 Release Date: 10/14/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Engelbert Humperdinck,  Georges Bizet,  Vincenzo Bellini,  Théodore Dubois  ... 
    Performer:  Michelle Stebleton,  Lisa Bontrager,  Tomoko Kanamaru
    On sale! $13.98
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  • 48.
    Bizet: The Pearl Fishers Highlights In English / Cohen
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 3156 Release Date: 09/30/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Bizet
    Performer:  Barry Banks,  Rebecca Evans,  Simon Keenlyside,  Alastair Miles
    Conductor:  Brad Cohen
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Geoffrey Mitchell Choir
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  • 49.
    La Belle Vie - French Opera Fantasie / Bell' Alma Duo
    Label: Ten Thousand Lakes   Catalog: 126 Release Date: 04/22/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Paul Taffanel,  Daniel Strum,  Claude Debussy,  Henri Duparc  ... 
    Performer:  Michele Frisch,  Kathy Kienzle
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bell' Alma Duo
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  • 50.
    Lebendige Vergangenheit - John Mccormack
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 89697 Release Date: 04/08/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gaetano Donizetti,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Gioachino Rossini,  Giacomo Puccini  ... 
    Performer:  John McCormack,  Lucrezia Bori,  Mario Sammarco,  Josephine Jacobi  ... 
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