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Georges Bizet

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Georges Bizet (1838–1875) was a French composer and pianist of the romantic era.

Bizet was born on 25th October 1838 in Paris. He was registered with the legal name Alexandre-César-Léopold Bizet, but was baptised Georges Bizet and was always known by the latter name. A child prodigy, he entered the prestigious Paris Conservatory of Music a fortnight before his tenth birthday.

In 1857 he shared a prize offered by Jacques Offenbach for a setting of the one-act operetta Le docteur Miracle, and won the Prix de Rome. As per the conditions of the scholarship, he studied in Rome for three years. There, his talent began to mature with such works as the opera Don Procopio. Apart from this stay in Rome, Bizet lived in the Paris area for his entire life.

On his return from Rome, he dedicated himself to composition. In 1863 he composed the opera Les pêcheurs de perles for the Theatre-Lyrique. During this period Bizet also wrote the opera La jolie fille de Perth, his well-known L’arlésienne (written as incidental music for a play), and the piano piece Jeux d’enfants. He also wrote the romantic opera Djamileh, which is often seen as a percursor of Carmen. His first symphony, the symphony in C major, was written at the Paris Conservatory when he was only seventeen years old, evidently as a student assignment. It seems that Bizet completely forgot about it himself, and it was not discovered again until 1935, in the archives of the Conservatory library.

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