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Born: 1838, Paris, France
Died: 1875, Bougival, France
"Ah, music! What a beautiful art! But what a wretched profession!"
The son of a musical family, Bizet was admitted to the Paris Conservatory at the age of nine. An instinctively dramatic composer, Bizet planned or projected some 30 operas before dying of multiple ailments at the age of 36, just three months after the premiere of Carmen, his masterpiece. Besides Carmen, only four other of all those projects were completed and performed in his lifetime. But Carmen alone would be enough to sustain anyone's fame, and Bizet also has a symphony, incidental music for the play L'Arlésienne, the four-hand piano Jeux d'enfants, and more than 30 songs to keep him current in a broad range of repertories.
Julia Migenes-Johnson, Plácido Domingo, Faith Esham
French National Orchestra, Lorin Maazel (Erato)
L'Arlésienne, Suite No. 1 (1871)
Thomas Beecham, French Radio Orchestra