Bizet, Georges (Alexandre-César-Léopold)
- Hugh Macdonald
(b Paris, Oct 25, 1838; d Bougival, nr Paris, June 3, 1875). French composer. Bizet might have surpassed all the many composers active in France in the last third of the 19th century had it not been for his untimely death at the age of 36. Carmen, first performed three months before his death, has become one of the most popular operas of any age.
Both of Bizet’s parents were musical. His father, Adolphe-Armand Bizet (1810–86), came from a family of artisans in Rouen. He had set up in Paris as a hairdresser and wigmaker, but by the time of his marriage in 1837 he had become a singing teacher. He was also a modest composer, with a few published works, but he was evidently not very highly regarded as a musician, even by his son, who leaned more towards his mother’s guidance. She, born Aimée Delsarte (...