Opera Scotland

Georges Bizet Suggest updates

Alexandre-César-Léopold Bizet.

Born Paris, 25 October 1838.

Died Bougival, nr Paris, 3 June 1875.

French composer.

Bizet will always remain one of the greatest opera composers because of his final masterpiece, Carmen. It seems strange that his previous operas give little hint of the mastery shown by that work. Djamileh contains superbly atmospheric music, but is very short, without a great text. The Fair Maid of Perth also suffers from a poor libretto, which is not an adequate reflection of Scott's novel. However the tenor's famous Serenade is far from being the only good thing in it. His first notable success, The Pearl Fishers, has gained great popularity in recent decades, and its tenor-baritone duet is a deserved classic, but the work as a whole is dramatically inadequate. His early piece, Ivan IV was an attempt at a large-scale grand opera, some of its music being recycled into later projects. Don Procopio and Doctor Miracle, are occasionally performed in the music colleges, though there is nothing in them of comparable quality to his miraculous Symphony in C, written in his teens.

Operas performed in Scotland are shown in bold:-

01   La maison du docteur (c1855; Austin Texas 1989) (cpsr, after Boisseaux)

02   Le Docteur Miracle (Paris 1857) (Battu & Halévy)

03   Don Procopio (1858-9; prod Monte Carlo 1906) (Cambiaggio)

04   La guzla de l’emir (1862 unperf) () (lost)

05   Les Pêcheurs de perles (Paris 1863) (Cormon & Carré)

06   Ivan IV (1863-4; private Paris 1943; Bordeaux 1951) (Leroy & Trianon)

07   La Jolie Fille de Perth (Paris 1867) (St Georges & Adenis)

08   Marlbrough s'en va t'en guerre (collaboration) (Paris 1867) (Siraudin & Busnach) (lost)

09   Djamileh (Paris 1872) (Gallet)

10   Sol-si-re-pif-pan (Paris 1872) (Busnach) (lost)

11   Don Rodrigue (1873 unfin ) ()

12   Carmen (Paris 1875) (Meilhac & Halévy)                                                                                                                                                      5

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