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Encyclopedia > Bizet

Georges Bizet (October 25, 1838June 3, 1875), was a French composer of the romantic era best known for his opera Carmen.

Georges Bizet
Georges Bizet

Born Alexandre-César-Léopold, but baptized Georges, Bizet, a child prodigy, entered the prestegious Paris Conservatory of Music at the unheard-of age of nine.

In 1857 he shared a prize offered by Jacques Offenbach for a setting of the one_act operetta Le Docteur Miracle and won the Prix de Rome. As per the conditions of the scholarship, he studied in Rome for three years. There, his talent began to mature with such works as Symphony in C (Roma) and the opera Don Procopio. Besides this stay in Rome, Bizet lived in the Paris area for his entire life.

Following his stay in Rome, he returned to Paris where he dedicated himself to composition. Early into his return to Paris, Georges' mother died. In 1863 he composed the opera Les pêcheurs de perles (The Pearl Fishers) for the Theatre-Lyrique. During this period Bizet also wrote the opera La jolie fille de Perth, his well-known L'arlésienne (written as incidental music for a play), and the piano piece Jeux d'enfants (Children's games) He also wrote the romantic opera Djamileh, which is often seen as a percursor to Carmen.

Bizet's best-known work is his 1875 opera, Carmen, which was based on an 1846 novel of the same name by Prosper Mérimée. Influenced by Giuseppe Verdi, he composed the title role in Carmen for a mezzo-soprano. Not an immediate success, Bizet became despondent over the perceived failure, but praise came from such luminaries as Camille Saint-Saëns, Peter Tchaikovsky, and Claude Debussy, who recognized its greatness. Their views were prophetic, as the public made Carmen one of the most popular works in operatic history.

Bizet had long suffered from quinsy, a painful inflammation of the tonsils associated with angina and never got to enjoy Carmen's success. Just a few months after the opera's debut, he died on his sixth wedding anniversary at the early age of 36, the official cause of death being listed as a failed heart due to "acute articular rheumatism". He was interred in the Père Lachaise Cemetery, Paris, France.

The 1954 motion picture Carmen Jones, adapted from the opera, won the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture Musical.

Although it is not well known, Bizet was an extraordinarily fine pianist, whose playing was praised by no less a judge than Franz Liszt himself. After Bizet flawlessly sightread a complex piece, Liszt said he considered Bizet one of the three finest pianists in Europe.

External links

Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to:
  • Georges Bizet (http://w3.rz-berlin.mpg.de/cmp/bizet.html)
  • Georges Bizet (1838-1875) (http://www.mfiles.co.uk/Composers/Georges-Bizet.htm)

  Results from FactBites:
Bizet (1539 words)
Bizet did win the coveted Prix de Rome for composition in 1857 with the premiere of his sparkling operetta 'Le Docteur Miracle', and the 1867 Premiere of his opera 'La jolie fille de Perth', was also favorably received by press.
Bizet finished the opera in four months and it was produced in September 1863, but received an indifferent reception.
George Bizet was consistently racked by self-doubt and depression, and it was his refusal to give in to his natural inclination to compose from the 'heart', that caused so many of his compositions to be aborted before completion.
Georges Bizet (614 words)
Bizet's exceptional powers as a composer are already apparent in the products of his Conservatoire years, notably the Symphony in C, a work of precocious genius dating from 1855 (but not performed until 1935).
Bizet was convinced that in Djamileh he had found his true path, one which he followed in composing his operatic masterpiece, Carmen.
The opera is the supreme achievement of Bizet and of opéra comique, a genre it has transformed in that Bizet extended it to embrace passionate emotion and a tragic end, purging it of artificial elements and embuing it with a vivid expression of the torments inflicted by sexual passion and jealousy.
  More results at FactBites »



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