Home: Overview: Biographies: George Bizet

Both of Bizet's parents were musicians. George Bizet was a child prodigy. By age four he could read words and music. He was trained by his parents and later entered the Paris Conservatoire when he was nine years old.

He studied with Zimmerma, Gounod and Haley. In 1857 Bizet shared a prize with Lecocq offered by Offenbach for a setting up a one-act operetta called Le Docteur Miracle. Later that year, Bizet won the Prix de Rome.

In the late 1850's, he moved to Rome for three years. He completed four compositions. When he returned to Paris in 1861, his mother died. One year later, Bizet had a son from one of the household maids.

During this period, Bizet rejected the traditions of the Paris Conservatoire as did the Impressionist who were breaking out of the academy to foster new ideas of painting. Bizet refused to become a concert pianist, although he did agree to finish his obligations at the Prix de Rome. In 1871, he composed a one-act opera comique, La guzla de l'emir and was invited to compose Les pêcheurs de perles. Bizet completed this piece in four months.

He 1863, Les pecheurs de perles was performed, but not perceived well by the art critics. It wasn't until four years later, that his Les pecheurs received good press from the art critics.

In 1868, this was a crisis year for Bizet. With more of his work not being accepted. In 1869, he married Genevieve Halevy, daughter of his former teacher, Halevy. The following year, in enlisted with the National Guide to avoid the Franco-Prussian war. In 1871, he worked on an opera called Djamileh. Bizet was convinced that this was the seed to his future creative operetta efforts.

In 1875, Bizet wrote Carmen. The story of Carmen is a scene from of the opera set in Sevilla. The performance of Carmen received unfavorable press. Bizet was so distressed, he took his family to Boubival in the countryside near Paris to regain his health.

Bizet died on June 3rd, at age 36, due to heart failure. On the night of his funeral, Carmen was performance. The press reported that Carmen was "almost unbearably moving" masterpiece.

Genevieve, his wife survived him for fifty years. They had one son who died of mental health.

Abridged list of compositions:

• Amour peintre
• Carmen - 1875
• Clarissa Marlowe
• La Coupe du Roi de Thulé
• Le Doceur Miracle, one act opéra
• Djamileh - 1872, one act opéra
• Don Procopio
• Don Rodrique
• Griséldis
• La Guzla de l'Emir
• Ivan IV
• La Jolie Fille de Perth
• La Maison du docteur
• Les Pécheurs de perles

• Symphony in C
• Variations chromatiques for piano

Incidental Music
• L'Arlésienne
• Ode-symphonie
• Vasco de Gama

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