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Georges Bizet

In 1838, composer Georges Bizet, ne Alexandre Cesar Leopold Bizet, was born in Paris. The musical prodigy entered the Paris Conservatoire at age nine. Over the next decade Bizet won virtually every prize available, including the Prix de Rome. Bizet refused a career as a concert pianist in order to compose operas. He wrote about 30, none particularly successful, until he composed "Carmen" in 1875, based on Prosper Mérimée's book about a Spanish gypsy girl. "Carmen" was controversial not only because of its humble subject matter and passionate sweep, but for the fact that the libretto was written in French, and (scandalously) could be understood by the audience. Criticism and a lukewarm reception closed the play after a brief run, although the composers of Bizet's day praised it. The dejected composer, who suffered from ill health, died of a heart attack three months later at the age of 36, never knowing "Carmen" would become the best-known, best-loved and most produced opera in history. Bizet also wrote "Jeux d'Enfants," 12 charming piano duets. Bizet was a rationalist. As a young man, struggling with his religious and philosophical views, Bizet was asked by his Academy to write a Mass. Preferring to write a comedy, he replied: "I don't want to write a mass before being in a state to do it well, that is a Christian. I have therefore taken a singular course to reconcile my ideas with the exigencies of Academy rules. They ask me for something religious: very well, I shall do something religious, but of the pagan religion. . . . I have always read the ancient pagans with infinite pleasure, while in Christian writers I find only system, egoism, intolerance, and a complete lack of artistic taste."Music critic Harold C. Schonberg surmises that had Bizet lived, he might have revolutionised French opera.Macdonald writes that Bizet's legacy is limited by the shortness of his life and by the false starts and lack of focus that persisted until his final five years. "The spectacle of great works unwritten either because Bizet had other distractions, or because no one asked him to write them, or because of his premature death, is infinitely dispiriting, yet the brilliance and the individuality of his best music is unmistakable. It has greatly enriched a period of French music already rich in composers of talent and distinction". D. 1875.More: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georges_...http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Lib/Bize...http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/t...http://www.classiccat.net/bizet_g/bio...http://www.last.fm/music/Georges+Bizethttp://www.pbs.org/wnet/gperf/educati...

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