Bizet, Georges

BORN 11 Dec 1838, Paris: 28 rue de la Tour d'Auvergne - DIED 3 Jun 1875, Bougival, Yvelines
BIRTH NAME Bizet, Alexandre César Léopold
GRAVE LOCATION Paris: Père Lachaise, Rue du Repos 16 (division 68, ligne 01, W, 9)

Georges Bizet grew up at Montmartre and was educated at the Conservatory in Paris, where he started his studies when he was ten years old and studied under Fromental Halévy. He wrote his "Symphony in C Major" when he was seventeen (it was rediscovered in 1935).

In 1857 he won a prize offered by Jacques Offenbach with his operatta "Le docteur Miracle" and after he also won the Prize of Rome in 1857 for his cantata "Clovis et Clothilde" he was able to study in Rome for three years. Back in Paris he composed the opera "Les pêcheurs de perles", followed by "La jolie fille de Perth" (1867).

After Halévy died in 1865 he finished his opera Noé and he wanted to marry his daughter Genéviève in 1867. But due to his lack of success her family postponed the marriage. It finally took place in 1869. Their son Jacques Bizet was a friend of Marcel Proust and Genéviève appears in the work of Proust as Duchesse de Guermantes in "A la recherche du temps perdu".

Bizet's "L'arlésienne" was meant as music for play by Daudet and became very popular in 1872. His last opera was "Carmen", based on the novella by Prosper Mérimée (1846). In musical circles there as much doubt about "Carmen" and Célestine Galli Marié, who was to sing Carmen, was a great support to him during this time. Although it was praised by Debussy and Tschaikovsky, "Carmen" wasn't an immediate success. But in October, 1875 it was produced in Vienna and from there it conquered the world. Bizet didn't live to see his fame grow, because he had died from angina in June of that year, a few months after the first performances in Paris.

Related persons
• was influenced by Gounod, Charles
• was pupil to Halévy, Fromental
• was pupil to Zimmermann, Pierre

30/9/1883Premiere of Bizet's "Les pêcheurs de perles" at the Théâtre Lyrique in Paris. Adolphe Deloffre was the conductor, Léontine de Maësen was Leila and Francóis Morini was Nadir. 


The grave of Georges Bizet at Père Lachaise, Paris.
Picture by Androom (19 Nov 2006)


• Culbertson, Judi & Tom Randall, Permanent Parisians, Robson Books, London, 1991
Georges Bizet - Wikipedia
Les pêcheurs de perles - Wikipedia

Björnson, Maria

Published: 30 Sep 2007
Last update: 12 May 2022