by Don Dagenais
It is one of the paradoxes of musical history that the shy, bespectacled Frenchman Georges Bizet was creator of Carmen , the story of the sensuous and tempestuous gypsy woman whose life, full of crime and violence, ends in one of the most dramatic of all stage murders. But such are the curiosities of art.
Bizet was born in 1838 and, after showing prodigious musical talent at a tender age, entered the famed Paris Conservatoire when only nine. His teachers there included the grand opera masters Charles Gounod and Fromental Halévy (whose daughter Bizet later married), and upon his graduation he won France’s coveted Prix de Rome. Continue reading