Boosey & Hawkes

Bizet

 Portrait

Georges Bizet
1838 - 1875

Bizet’s reputation rests largely on the abiding popularity of his opera Carmen, but surprisingly the work was not a success at its premiere. Written as an opéra-comique, the audience was shaken by its ambivalent anti-heroine and the tragic ending, and the press rejected it merely as a scandal. It was only after the composer’s early death at the age of 36 that the work was recast as a grand opera with added dialogue, and staked its claim for repertoire status. Bringing a colourful world of gypsy life, bull-fighting, and passionate romance to the stage was highly original, but it was the sun-filled depiction of Mediterranean life that was most influential, as also heard in his incidental music for L’Arlésienne.

Born in Paris, the son of a wigmaker, Bizet’s musical talent took him to the Conservatoire at the tender age of nine, where he soon came to the attention of the French musical establishment with works such as his Symphony in C. Winning a Prix de Rome he spent three formative years in Italy, and on his return to Paris in 1860 set about breaking into the opera scene. Supporting himself through hack editorial work and teaching, he failed to achieve a breakthrough - even The Pearl Fishers with its famous male duet was received indifferently. Disappointed by the failure of Carmen and suffering from a heart condition, Bizet died in 1875, robbing the musical world of a genuine operatic talent.

Recommended Listening:

Carmen, Jeux d’enfants

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Jeux d'enfants - Berceuse PlayClick for Truetone ordering instructions
Jeux d'enfants - Duo PlayClick for Truetone ordering instructions
Jeux d'enfants - Galop PlayClick for Truetone ordering instructions
Jeux d'enfants - Impromptu PlayClick for Truetone ordering instructions
Jeux d'enfants - Impromptu PlayClick for Truetone ordering instructions
Jeux d'enfants - Marche PlayClick for Truetone ordering instructions
Les pecheurs de perles - Les pecheurs de perles - An fond du temple saint PlayClick for Truetone ordering instructions
Carmen - Suite No. 1 - Marche du toreador PlayClick for Truetone ordering instructions
Carmen - Suite No. 1 - Prelude PlayClick for Truetone ordering instructions
Carmen - Suite No. 1 - Aragonaise PlayClick for Truetone ordering instructions
Carmen - Suite No. 1 - Intermezzo PlayClick for Truetone ordering instructions
Carmen - Suite No. 1 - Seguidilla PlayClick for Truetone ordering instructions
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Carmen - Habanera PlayClick for Truetone ordering instructions PlayClick for Truetone ordering instructions
Carmen - March du Toreador PlayClick for Truetone ordering instructions PlayClick for Truetone ordering instructions
Carmen - Aragonaise PlayClick for Truetone ordering instructions
Carmen - Chanson du Toreador PlayClick for Truetone ordering instructions
Duet from the Pearl Fishers PlayClick for Truetone ordering instructions
Jeux d'Enfants - Galop PlayClick for Truetone ordering instructions
L'Arlésienne - Suite No. 1 - Carillon PlayClick for Truetone ordering instructions
L'Arlésienne - Suite No. 1 - Minuet PlayClick for Truetone ordering instructions
L'Arlésienne - Suite No. 2 - Farandole PlayClick for Truetone ordering instructions
Symphony No.1 in C - Allegro Vivace PlayClick for Truetone ordering instructions
Symphony No.1 in C - Allegro Vivace 2 PlayClick for Truetone ordering instructions
Symphony No.1 in C - Allegro Vivo PlayClick for Truetone ordering instructions