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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 solfčge 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 pęcheurs 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 Genevičve 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'arlčsienne 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 / Krasteva, Antonenko, Märzendorfer, Et Al
Release Date: 10/18/2005   Label: Euroarts  
Catalog: 2054528   Number of Discs: 1
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Bizet: Carmen / Kaufmann, Kasarova, Welser-Most
Release Date: 10/27/2014   Label: Decca  
Catalog: 002188409   Number of Discs: 1
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Bizet: Les Pecheurs De Perles / Fournet, Simoneau, Alarie
Release Date: 11/08/2011   Label: Guild  
Catalog: 2382/83   Number of Discs: 2
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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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Bizet: Carmen / Ozawa, Norman, Freni, Schicoff, Estes
Release Date: 08/07/1989   Label: Philips  
Catalog: 422366   Number of Discs: 3
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Work: Symphony in C major

Browse 1-25 of 50 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    The Argo Years / Neville Marriner, Academy Of St Martin In The Fields [28-CD Set]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002081902 Release Date: 06/03/2014   Number of Discs: 28
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Arcangelo Corelli,  Giuseppe Torelli,  Pietro Antonio Locatelli  ... 
    Performer:  Gwynne Howell,  Philip Langridge,  Anna Reynolds,  Elly Ameling  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields Chorus,  Philip Jones Brass Ensemble
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    CD: $163.49
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  • 2.
    Celibidache - The Berlin Recordings 1945-1957
    Label: Audite   Catalog: 21423 Release Date: 10/29/2013   Number of Discs: 13
    Composer:  Samuel Barber,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Hector Berlioz,  Georges Bizet  ... 
    Performer:  Raoul Koczalski
    Conductor:  Sergiu Celibidache
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $58.99
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  • 3.
    Bizet: Symphony In C, Jeux D'enfants, Variations Chromatiques / West,  San Francisco Ballet Orchestra
    Label: Reference Recordings   Catalog: 131 Release Date: 09/10/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Bizet
    Conductor:  Martin West
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  San Francisco Ballet Orchestra
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  • 4.
    Bizet: Symphony In C Major, Etc / Fruhbeck De Burgos, Et Al
    Label: Regis   Catalog: 1191 Release Date: 01/29/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Bizet
    Conductor:  Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos,  Dirk Joeres,  Barry Wordsworth
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  West German Sinfonia
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  • 5.
    Bizet: Symphonie In C, Carmen Suite, Etc / Ozawa
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 322892 Release Date: 01/08/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Bizet
    Conductor:  Seiji Ozawa
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  ORTF National Orchestra
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  • 6.
    Bizet: Symphony In C, Carmen Suites, Petite Suite / Joeres, Ermler
    Label: Musical Concepts   Catalog: 1198 Release Date: 10/16/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Bizet
    Conductor:  Mark Ermler,  Dirk Joeres
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  West German Sinfonia
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  • 7.
    Leopold Stokowski - The Columbia Stereo Recordings
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 197115 Release Date: 09/11/2012   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Manuel de Falla,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Charles Ives  ... 
    Performer:  Shirley Verrett,  Fernando Valenti,  Anshel Brusilow,  William Kincaid  ... 
    Conductor:  Leopold Stokowski,  Gregg Smith
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra,  American Symphony Orchestra,  Schola Cantorum New York members  ... 
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  • 8.
    Bizet: Complete Orchestral Works / Batiz
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 94404 Release Date: 08/28/2012   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Georges Bizet
    Conductor:  Enrique Bátiz
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mexico Philharmonic Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 9.
    Label: Zyx Records   Catalog: 7 Release Date: 06/01/2012   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Anton Rubinstein,  Bedrich Smetana,  Antonín Dvorák,  Niccolň Paganini  ... 
    Performer:  Michael Ponti,  Iwan Czerkow,  Dubravka Tomsic,  Ivan Cerkov  ... 
    Conductor:  Othmar M. F. Mága,  Heribert Beissel,  Vladimir Petroschoff,  Alfred Scholz  ... 
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  • 10.
    Mendelssohn: Symphony No. 4
    Label: Archipel   Catalog: 140 Release Date: 01/01/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Georges Bizet
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  • 11.
    Munch Conducts Roussel & Other French Composers
    Label: Dutton Laboratories/Vocalion   Catalog: 9809 Release Date: 12/13/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Bizet,  Albert Roussel,  Camille Saint-Saëns
    Conductor:  Charles Munch
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  • 12.
    Prokofiev, Haydn, Bizet: First Symphonies / Wolff, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra
    Label: Apex   Catalog: 4673020 Release Date: 10/25/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Bizet,  Sergei Prokofiev,  Franz Joseph Haydn
    Conductor:  Hugh Wolff
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  St. Paul Chamber Orchestra
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  • 13.
    Verbier Festival 2010 - Martha Argerich
    Label: Ideale Audience   Catalog: 3079568 Release Date: 06/28/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Dmitri Shostakovich,  Georges Bizet,  Domenico Scarlatti
    Performer:  Martha Argerich,  David Guerrier
    Conductor:  Gábor Takács-Nagy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Verbier Festival Chamber Orchestra
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  • 14.
    Verbier Festival 2010 - Martha Argerich [Blu-ray]
    Label: Ideale Audience   Catalog: 3079564 Release Date: 06/28/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Dmitri Shostakovich,  Georges Bizet,  Domenico Scarlatti
    Performer:  Martha Argerich,  David Guerrier
    Conductor:  Gábor Takács-Nagy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Verbier Festival Chamber Orchestra
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  • 15.
    Marriner & The Academy - 20th-Century Classics [10-CD Set]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001553402 Release Date: 05/24/2011   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Igor Stravinsky,  Richard Strauss,  Richard Wagner,  Heinrich Baermann  ... 
    Performer:  Jack Brymer,  John Ogdon,  John Wilbraham,  Michael Laird  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
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  • 16.
    Sir Thomas Beecham: French Music - Berlioz, Bizet, Delibes, Debussy, Faure, Etc.
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 9932 Release Date: 03/22/2011   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Hector Berlioz,  Georges Bizet,  Charles Gounod,  Léo Delibes  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  ORTF National Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Beecham Choral Society  ... 
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  • 17.
    Balanchine Ballets: Jewels; Serenade; Allegro Brillante; Symphony In C
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 48625 Release Date: 01/11/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gabriel Fauré,  Igor Stravinsky,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Georges Bizet
    Performer:  Michel Béroff,  Peter Donohoe
    Conductor:  Michel Plasson,  Seiji Ozawa,  Riccardo Muti,  Richard Hickox  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Toulouse Capitole Orchestra,  Paris Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
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  • 18.
    Bizet: Symphony in C, Jeux d'Enfants, Roma / Paavo Jarvi
    Label: Virgin Classics   Catalog: 28613 Release Date: 10/05/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Bizet
    Conductor:  Paavo Järvi
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestre de Paris
    CD: $17.99
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  • 19.
    Eduardo Mata Edition Vol 4 - Ravel, Bizet, Dukas
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 30980 Release Date: 10/01/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Georges Bizet,  Paul Dukas
    Conductor:  Eduardo Mata
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dallas Symphony Orchestra,  National Arts Centre Orchestra
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  • 20.
    Bizet: Carmen, Suites; Symphony In C
    Label: Cascavelle   Catalog: 3103 Release Date: 07/13/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Bizet
    Performer:  Dominique Descamps,  Nathalie Mule,  Jean-Francois Dion,  Samuel Coles  ... 
    Conductor:  Frédéric Lodéon
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  • 21.
    Label: Archipel   Catalog: 442 Release Date: 05/25/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Robert Schumann,  Georges Bizet
    Performer:  Henryk Szeryng,  Maurice Gendron
    Conductor:  André Cluytens
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  • 22.
    A Festival Of Ballet
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 67063 Release Date: 01/26/2010   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Richard Strauss,  Gustav Holst,  Sergei Prokofiev,  Modest Mussorgsky  ... 
    Performer:  Barbara Hendricks,  Susan Bickley,  Lorraine Hunt Lieberson,  Catherine Pierard  ... 
    Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe,  André Previn,  Paavo Järvi,  Sir Charles Mackerras  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Staatskapelle,  London Symphony Orchestra,  Radio France Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    On sale! $100.98
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  • 23.
    19th Century Masterpieces
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 98317 Release Date: 11/17/2009   Number of Discs: 17
    Composer:  Sir Edward Elgar,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Paul Dukas,  Giacomo Puccini  ... 
    Performer:  Lucia Popp,  Emmanuel Pahud,  Aldo Ciccolini,  Elisabeth Schwarzkopf  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult,  Michel Plasson,  Eugene Ormandy,  Klaus Tennstedt  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Dresden Staatskapelle,  London Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    On sale! $152.98
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  • 24.
    Bizet: Symphony In C, L'arlesienne Suites / Delacote, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
    Label: Royal Philharmonic Masterworks   Catalog: 28480 Release Date: 11/10/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Bizet
    Conductor:  Jacques Delacôte
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 25.
    Berlioz: Les nuits d'ete; Bizet: Symphony; Massenet: Suites; Messager: Fortunio / Gardiner
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 4694223 Release Date: 10/20/2008   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Hector Berlioz,  Georges Bizet,  Jules Massenet,  André Messager
    Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner
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