Today Georges Bizet is most immediately recognized as the composer of the acclaimed opera Carmen. One of the most frequently performed operas for over a century, Carmen explores concepts such as the femme fatale and murderous jealousy with vivacity, color, and a wealth of melody. Yet it is only one act in Bizet's story. In Bizet, rewned musicologist Hugh Macdonald goes beyond the composer's most famous opera to take an in-depth look at his entire life and oeuvre. In so doing, Macdonald identifies a number of previously unkwn pieces by Bizet, assembling the first comprehensive catalogue of the composer's work. Incorporating these little-kwn pieces with a thorough reading of primary sources, Macdonald considers the latest in Bizet scholarship to create a complete biography of the composer. Revealing the true extent of Bizet's work as arranger and transcriber, Macdonald sheds light on the composer's complex relationships with his contemporaries, and traces the strange misrepresentation of Bizet's work by French publishers and opera houses in the 1880s, when Carmen rose to worldwide popularity ten years after the composer's early death. The first biography of Bizet in the Master Musicians series in nearly four decades, Bizet will be essential reading for students and scholars of nineteenth-century opera, as well as for Carmen devotees and opera fans.
Hugh Macdonald is an acknowledged authority on French music, having edited the complete works of Berlioz (Barenreiter, 1967-2006) and a number of French operas. He has written books on Berlioz and Scriabin, and his recent Music in 1853: the Biography of a Year has been widely acclaimed. He is also active as a translator of opera and song for performance.