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Introduction born Paris 25 October 1838 died Bougival 3 June 1875 He was trained by his parents who were musical and admitted to the Paris Conservatoire just before his tenth birthday There he studied counterpoint with Zimmerman and Gounod and composition with Halevy and under Marmontels tuition he became a brilliant pianist Bizets exceptional powers as a composer are already apparent in the products of his Conservatoire years notably the Symphony in C a work of precocious genius dating from 1855 but not performed until 1935 In 1857 Bizet shared with Lecocq a prize offered by Offenbach for a setting of the one-act operetta Le Docteur Miracle later that year he set out for Italy as holder of the coveted Prix de Rome During his three years in Rome Bizet began or projected many compositions only four survive including the opera buffa Don Procopio not performed until 1906 Shortly after his return to Paris in September 1861 his mother died the composer consoled himself with his parents maid by whom he had a son in June 1862 He rejected teaching at the Conservatoire and the temptation to become a concert pianist and completed his obligations under the terms of the Prix de Rome The last of these a one-act op comique La guzla de lemir was rehearsed at the Op-Comique in 1863 but withdrawn when the Th-Lyrique director who had been offered 100 000 francs to produce annually an opera by a Prix de Rome winner who had not had a work staged invited Bizet to compose Les p de perles Bizet completed it in four months It was produced in September 1863 but met with a generally cool reception an uneven work with stiff characterization it is notable for the skilful scoring of its exotic numbers In the ensuing years Bizet earned a living arranging other composers music and giving piano lessons Not until December 1867 was another opera staged - La jolie fille
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