Georges BIZET
25 October 1838 - 3 June 1875 (age 36)

Bizet was a French 19th century composer best known for his opera 'Carmen'. He was a child prodigy and lived a short but productive life dying at 36 years old.

- Family

- Quotes

- Major Works

- Travels and career

- Links

More French composers here

Portrait of Georges Bizet


Born: 25 Oct 1838 in Paris. Zodiac: Scorpio
Died: 3 June 1875 in Paris. Age: 36
Cause of death: Heart attacks.
Father: Adolphe - hairdrsser, wigmaker and music teacher
Mother: Aimée - talented pianist
Siblings: none
Wife: Genevieve daughter of his teacher Prof.Jacques Halevy
Children: one son, Jean, with his mother's maid and one son, Jacques, with his wife Genevieve.
Grave Cimetière du Père Lachaise, Paris
Influenced by: Schubert, Gounod, Saint-Saens, Offenbach.

Major works

OPERA: Best known for Carmen, he in fact wrote 30 operas, many of which are rarely performed.
- The Pearl Fishers - set in Ceylon (Sri Lanka)
- The Fair Maid of Perth
- Djamileh
- Carmen

ORCHESTRAL: He wrote a symphony when he was 17. It was discovered in 1935 in the archives of the Paris Conservatory where he studied.
- Symphony in C
- Rome Suite
- L'Arlésienne

PIANO: He was an accomplished pianist and wrote many pieces for the keyboard.
- Chromatic Variations
- Jeux d'Enfants (Children's Games)

Curly black hair, square jaw, great beard, bright alert eyes, impressive appearance.

He had a good sense of humour and was well liked. He did however have a violent temper and was prone to challenge people to fights or even duels.
Heavy smoker in spite of recurring throat problems (probably throat cancer).
Left-wing politically. Anti-religious. Womaniser.

Bizet Quotes

"Ah, music! What a beautiful art! But what a wretched profession!"

"Religion is a means of exploitation employed by the strong against the weak; religion is a cloak of ambition, injustice and vice."

Travels and career

  •  - Age 9 - Entered Paris Conservatoire (below their minimum age)
     - Age 17 - Produced the Symphony in C, his first.
     - Age 19 - Won the prestigious Prix de Rome
     - Age 20-23 - Lived and studied in Rome at the Villa Medici where he was popular with the other students.
     - Age 25 - 'The Pearl Fishers', his first important opera, staged in Paris.
     - Age 31 - Married Genevieve, rich daughter of his former teacher.
     - Age 32 - Although as Prix de Rome winner he was exempt from conscription, he joined the National Guard to defend Paris in the Siege during the Franco-Prussian War.
     - Age 34 - Birth of son Jacques
     - Age 36 - Premier of 'Carmen'. 
     - Appointed chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur. 
     - Died of a heart attack 3 months later.

  • Bizet in Art
    A fascinating collection of images - art, portraits, caricatures, cartoons, album covers and postage stamps.

    Amazon Store 
    Bizet on Amazon - USA store

    Carmen - Habanera

    Carmen - Toreador

    L´ARLESIENNE SUITE No.1, Daniel Barenboim, Complete

    Duet from the Pearl Fishers - Andrea Bocelli & Bryn Terfel

    Links, sources, where to go for more information

    - Answers.com

    - Georges Bizet

    - His grave

    French composers here at 52composers.com

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