Georges Bizet

~ Person


Georges Bizet (French: [ʒɔʁʒ bizɛ]; 25 October 1838 – 3 June 1875), registered at birth as Alexandre César Léopold Bizet, was a French composer of the romantic era. Best known for his operas in a career cut short by his early death, Bizet achieved few successes before his final work, Carmen, which has become one of the most popular and frequently performed works in the entire opera repertoire.

During a brilliant student career at the Conservatoire de Paris, Bizet won many prizes, including the prestigious Prix de Rome in 1857. He was recognised as an outstanding pianist, though he chose not to capitalise on this skill and rarely performed in public. Returning to Paris after almost three years in Italy, he found that the main Parisian opera theatres preferred the established classical repertoire to the works of newcomers. His keyboard and orchestral compositions were likewise largely ignored; as a result, his career stalled, and he earned his living mainly by arranging and transcribing the music of others. Restless for success, he began many theatrical projects during the 1860s, most of which were abandoned. Neither of his two operas that reached the stage in this time—Les pêcheurs de perles and La jolie fille de Perth—were immediately successful.

After the Franco-Prussian War of 1870–71, during which Bizet served in the National Guard, he had little success with his one-act opera Djamileh, though an orchestral suite derived from his incidental music to Alphonse Daudet's play L'Arlésienne was instantly popular. The production of Bizet's final opera, Carmen, was delayed because of fears that its themes of betrayal and murder would offend audiences. After its premiere on 3 March 1875, Bizet was convinced that the work was a failure; he died of a heart attack three months later, unaware that it would prove a spectacular and enduring success.

Bizet's marriage to Geneviève Halévy was intermittently happy and produced one son. After his death, his work, apart from Carmen, was generally neglected. Manuscripts were given away or lost, and published versions of his works were frequently revised and adapted by other hands. He founded no school and had no obvious disciples or successors. After years of neglect, his works began to be performed more frequently in the 20th century. Later commentators have acclaimed him as a composer of brilliance and originality whose premature death was a significant loss to French musical theatre.

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Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1960 Symphony in C / Jeux d'enfants / La jolie fille de Perth Georges Bizet; Ernest Ansermet, L'Orchestre de la Suisse Romande 1
1976 Bizet - Le docteur Miracle Georges Bizet; Orchestre philharmonique de Radio France, Bruno Amaducci 1
1976 Carmen (1975 studio cast) Bizet; Troyanos, Domingo, van Dam, Te Kanawa, London Philharmonic Orchestra, John Alldis Choir, Sir Georg Solti 5 4
1978 Mussorgsky: Bilder einer Ausstellung / Tschaikowsky: Capriccio italien / Bizet: Carmen Suite No. 1 / Weber: Aufforderung zum Tanz Mussorgsky / Tchaikovsky / Bizet / Weber 1
1981 Rossini, Respighi: La Boutique fantasque / Bizet: L'Arlésienne Suite no. 2, Jeux d'enfants Gioachino Rossini, Ottorino Respighi, Georges Bizet; Toronto Symphony, Andrew Davis 1
1983 Carmen (1982 studio cast) Georges Bizet; Agnes Baltsa, José Carreras, José van Dam, Katia Ricciarelli, Chœur de l’Opéra de Paris, Berliner Philharmoniker, Herbert von Karajan 3
1984 L'œuvre intégrale pour piano seul Georges Bizet; Setrak 4
1985 L'Arlesienne: Suites nos. 1 & 2 / Carmen: Suite no. 1 Bizet; Berliner Philharmoniker, Herbert von Karajan 1
1985 Carmen (1964 studio cast) Georges Bizet; Maria Callas, Nicolai Gedda, Andréa Guiot, Robert Massard, Chœurs René Duclos, Orchestre du Théâtre National de l'Opéra de Paris, Georges Prêtre 8
1987 Carmen Bizet; London Symphony Orchestra, Claudio Abbado 2
1987 Carmen (1977 studio cast) Georges Bizet; Teresa Berganza, Ileana Cotrubaş, Sherrill Milnes, Plácido Domingo, London Symphony Orchestra, Claudio Abbado 5 3
1987 Carmen (1959 studio cast) Georges Bizet; Victoria de los Ángeles, Nicolai Gedda, Janine Micheau, Ernest Blanc, Chœurs National de la Radiodiffusion Française, Orchestre National de la Radiodiffusion Française, Sir Thomas Beecham 4
1987 Orchestral Works, Volume 1 Bizet; Orquesta Filarmónica de la Ciudad de México, Enrique Bátiz 2
1988 L'Arlésienne Suiten Nos. 1 & 2 / Carmen Suite No. 1 Georges Bizet; London Symphony Orchestra, Claudio Abbado 1
1988 Djamileh Georges Bizet; Lamberto Gardelli, Lucia Popp, Franco Bonisolli, Jean-Philippe Lafont, Chor des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Münchner Rundfunkorchester 1
1988 L'Arlesienne & Carmen Suites Bizet; Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, Charles Dutoit 1
1988 Les Pêcheurs De Perles / IVAN IV Georges Bizet; Chœurs du Théâtre National de l'Opéra-Comique, Orchestre du Théâtre National de l'Opéra-Comique, Pierre Dervaux 1
1988 Prokofiev: Classical Symphony / Bizet: Symphony in C / Britten: Simple Symphony Prokofiev, Bizet, Britten; Orpheus Chamber Orchestra 1 2
1988 Symphonie en ut majeur / L'Arlésienne Bizet; Orchestre de l'Opéra de Lyon, Sir John Eliot Gardiner 1
1989 Carmen (1988 studio cast) Georges Bizet; Jessye Norman, Neil Shicoff, Mirella Freni, Simon Estes, Chœur de Radio France, Orchestre National de France, Seiji Ozawa 3
1989 L'Arlesienne, Suites 1 & 2 / Carmen, Suites 1 & 2 Georges Bizet; Budapest Philharmonic Orchestra; János Sándor 1
1989 Les pêcheurs de perles (Chœurs et Orchestre du Capitole de Toulouse feat. conductor: Michel Plasson) Georges Bizet 1
1990 Carmen (1963 studio cast, Leontyn Price in title role) Georges Bizet; Leontyne Price, Franco Corelli, Robert Merrill, Mirella Freni, Wiener Philharmoniker, Herbert von Karajan 3
1990 Carmen Georges Bizet; Graciela Alperyn, Giorgio Lamberti, Alan Titus, Doina Palade, Slovak Philharmonic Chorus, Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra, Alexander Rahbari 1
1990 L’Arlésienne Suite 1 and 2 / Symphony no. 1 Georges Bizet; London Festival Orchestra, Alfred Scholz 2
1991 Carmen (1972 studio cast) Bizet; Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Manhattan Opera Chorus, Leonard Bernstein, Marilyn Horne, James McCracken, Adriana Maliponte, Tom Krause 1
1991 L'Arlésienne / Jeux d'enfants Georges Bizet; The Consort of Voices, Consort of London, Robert Haydon Clark 2
1991 Bizet: L'Arlésienne / Gounod: Symphonies Bizet, Gounod; Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Christopher Hogwood 1
1991 L'Arlesienne-Suite No. 2 / Symphonie No. 1 Georges Bizet; London Festival Orchestra, Alfred Scholz 1
1992 Smetana: The Moldau / Mendelssohn: A Midsummer Night's Dream / Bizet: Symphony No. 1 Smetana / Mendelssohn / Bizet 1
1992 Ernest Ansermet L'orchestre de la suisse romande Georges Bizet / Maurice Ravel 1
1992 L'Arlésienne, Suites Nos. 1 & 2 / Carmen, Suites Nos. 1 & 2 (Philharmonia Cassovia feat. conductor: Alfred Walter) Georges Bizet 1
1992 Mendelssohn and Bizet (Vienna Master Series) Felix Mendelssohn & Georges Bizet 1
1992 Symphony No. 1 / La jolie fille de Perth / Jeux d'enfants / Namouna / Norwegian rhapsody / Cello concerto Bizet, Lalo; Orchestre National de l'ORTF, Pierre Fournier, Orchestre Lamoureux, Jean Martinon 1
1993 La Belle Époque Bizet, Lehár, Verdi; Maurice André 1
1993 Carmen (1990 studio cast) Georges Bizet 1
1993 Carmen (1963 studio cast, Regina Resnik in title role) Georges Bizet; L'Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Thomas Schippers 1
1993 Carmen (1954 live cast) Georges Bizet; Giulietta Simionato, Nicolai Gedda, Hilde Güden, Michel Roux, Graziella Sciutti, Luisa Ribacchi, Gino del Signore, Mario Carlin, Enzo Sordello, Frederick Guthrie, Herbert von Karajan 2
1993 Carmen (Live Tokyo 1958) Georges Bizet 1
1993 Carmen (Chór i Orkiestra Filharmonii Narodowej, director: Jerzy Semkow) Georges Bizet 1
1994 Symphony in C major / Jeux d'enfants / Scènes Bohémiennes Georges Bizet; New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Donald Johanos 1
1994 Bizet: Carmen Suites / Grieg: Peer Gynt Suites Bizet, Grieg; Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Mark Ermler 1
1994 Symphony no. 1 in C major / Symphony no. 1 in D major Georges Bizet, Franz Schubert; Paris Philharmonic Orchestra, René Leibowitz 1
1995 Greatest Hits Bizet 1
1995 Carmen (Orchestre National Bordeaux Aquitaine feat. conductor: Alain Lombard) Georges Bizet 1
1995 Carmen (extraits) (1974 studio cast) Bizet ; Régine Crespin, José van Dam, Alain Lombard 4
1995 Carmen / L'Arlésienne Suites / Jeux d'enfants Georges Bizet 1
1996 Romantic - Bizet: Carmen Suite, L' Arlesienne Suite; Mendelssohn: A Midsummer Night's Dream Bizet / Mendelssohn 1
1996 Carmen Bizet; Bayerisches Staatsorchester, Giuseppe Sinopoli 1
1996 Im Herzen der Klassik, Volume 9: Bizet: Carmen Georges Bizet 1

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