29 Sep 2013

Georges Bizet (1838-1875)

From Composer of the Week, 9:00 am on 29 September 2013

Georges Bizet by Henri MeyerBizet's Carmen is one of the most well-loved operas today, but the composer did not have great success in his lifetime. Despite this, the philosopher Nietzsche became obsessed with Carmen, finding the music incredibly healthful.

Frances Moore explores Nietzsche's preoccupation with Carmen and talks about Bizet's other operas, the ones that didn't do so well. The text published with this caricature in 1867 is an example from the time of what some thought of Bizet's opera:

Two librettists, hatred-filled
Stole the mind of Walter Scott
And plunged it to the bottom of the Seine
Much to the delight of an idiot

The Prince of
Pearl Fishers
Bizet, keen-eyed and shrewd
Scorning the blackbirds’ song
Set his jacket down by the path

And, casting his net into the waves
Instantly, such an expert is he,
Fished out the charming
Fille de Perth
And offered it to the world

Music Details:

BIZET: Prelude, from Carmen - Toulouse Capitole Orch/ Michel Plasson (EMI 5 57503)
BIZET: Seguidillas, from Carmen - Jessye Norman (sop) French Radio Chorus; French National Orchestra/ Seiji Ozawa (Philips 422 366)
BIZET: Prelude, from The Pearl Fishers - Toulouse Capitole Chorus and Orchestra/ Michel Plasson (EMI CDS 7 49837)
BIZET: Au fond du temple saint, from The Pearl Fishers - Plácido Domingo (ten), Thomas Hampson (bar), Philharmonia/ Eugene Kohn (EMI Classics 5561982)
BIZET: Danse Bohemienne, from the Fair Maid of Perth Suite - Montreal SO/ Charles Dutoit (Decca 452 102)
BIZET: Nour Eddim roi de Lahore, from Djamileh - Lucia Popp (sop), Munich Radio Orchestra; Bavaria Radio Chorus / Lamberto Gardelli (Orfeo C 174 881)
BIZET: Habanera, from Carmen - Jessye Norman (sop) French Radio Chorus; French National Orchestra/ Seiji Ozawa (Philips 422 366)
BIZET: Finale, from Carmen - Jessye Norman (sop), Neil Shicoff (ten), French Radio Chorus; French National Orchestra/ Seiji Ozawa (Philips 422 366)
BIZET: Prelude, from Carmen - Toulouse Capitole Orch/ Michel Plasson (EMI 5 57503)

 

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