Giorges Bizet  
Giorges Bizet
Giorges Bizet, original name Alexandre-César-Léopold Bizet (born October 25, 1838, Paris, France—died June 3, 1875, Bougival, near Paris), French composer best remembered for his opera Carmen (1875). His realistic approach influenced the verismo school of opera at the end of the 19th century.

Bizet’s father was a singing teacher and his mother a gifted amateur pianist, and his musical talents declared themselves so early and so unmistakably that he was admitted to the Paris Conservatoire before he had completed his 10th year. There, his teachers included the accomplished composers Charles Gounod and Fromental Halévy, and he quickly won a succession of prizes, culminating in the Prix de Rome, awarded for his cantata Clovis et Clotilde in 1857. This prize carried with it a five-year state pension, two years of which musicians were bound to spend at the French Academy in Rome.

Bizet had already shown a gift for composition far superior to that of a merely precocious boy. His first stage work, the one-act operetta Le Docteur miracle, performed in Paris in 1857, is marked simply by high spirits and an easy mastery of the operetta idiom of the day. His Symphony in C Major, however, written in 1855 but subsequently lost and not discovered and performed until 1935, will bear easy comparison with any of the works written at the same age of 17 by either Mozart or Felix Mendelssohn. Flowing and resourceful counterpoint, orchestral expertise, and a happy blend of the Viennese classical style with French melody give the symphony a high place in Bizet’s output.

Bizet, 1860


The young composer was already aware of his gifts and of the danger inherent in his facility. “I want to do nothing chic,” he wrote from Rome, “I want to have ideas before beginning a piece, and that is not how I worked in Paris.” In Rome he set himself to study Robert Schumann, Carl Maria von Weber, Mendelssohn, and Gounod, who was regarded as more than half a German composer by the admirers of the fashionable French composer Daniel Auber.

Mozart’s music affects me too deeply and makes me really unwell. Certain things by Rossini have the same effect; but oddly enough Beethoven and Meyerbeer never go so far as that. As for Haydn, he has sent me to sleep for some time past.

Instead of spending his statutory third year in Germany, he chose to stay on in Rome, where he collected impressions that were eventually collected to form a second C major symphony (Roma), first performed in 1869. An Italian-text opera, Don Procopio, written at this time, shows Donizetti’s style, and the ode Vasco de Gama is largely modeled on Gounod and Meyerbeer.

When Bizet returned to Paris in the autumn of 1860, he was accompanied by his friend Ernest Guiraud, who was to be responsible for popularizing Bizet’s work after his death. In spite of very decided opinions, Bizet was still immature in his outlook on life (youthfully cynical, for instance, in his attitude toward women) and was plagued by an artistic conscience that accused him of preferring the facilely charming in music to the truly great. He was even ashamed of his admiration for the operas of his Italian contemporary Giuseppe Verdi and longed for the faith and vision of the typical Romantic artist, which he could never achieve. “I should write better music,” he wrote in October 1866 to his friend and pupil Edmond Galabert, “if I believed a lot of things which are not true.” In fact the skepticism and materialism of the dominant Positivist philosophy persistently troubled Bizet; it may well have been an inability to reconcile his intelligence with his emotions that caused him to embark on so many operatic projects that he never brought to a conclusion. The kind of drama demanded by the French operatic public of the day could very seldom engage his whole personality. The weaknesses in the first two operas that he completed after his return to Paris are a result not so much of the composer’s excessive regard for public taste as of his flagging interest in the drama. Neither Les Pêcheurs de perles (The Pearl Fishers; first performed 1863) nor La Jolie Fille de Perth (1867; The Fair Maid of Perth) had a libretto capable of eliciting or focusing the latent musical and dramatic powers that Bizet eventually proved to possess. The chief interest of Les Pêcheurs de perles lies in its exotic Oriental setting and the choral writing, which is more individual than that of the lyrical music, over which Gounod still casts a long shadow. Although La Jolie Fille de Perth bears only a skeletal resemblance to Sir Walter Scott’s novel, the characterization is stronger (the gypsy Mab and the “Danse bohémienne” anticipate Carmen), and even such conventional features as the night patrol, the drinking chorus, the ballroom scene, and the heroine’s madness exhibit a freshness and elegance of language that raise the work unmistakably above the general level of French opera of the day.

Although warmly acknowledged by Berlioz, Gounod, Saint-Saëns, and Liszt, Bizet was still obliged during these years to undertake the musical hackwork that only the most successful French composers were able to avoid. Stories of his moodiness and readiness to pick a quarrel suggest a profound inner uncertainty, and the cynicism and vulnerability of adolescence hardly yielded to a mature emotional attitude of life until his marriage, on June 3, 1869, to Geneviève Halévy, the daughter of the composer of the opera La Juive (1835; The Jewess). Between his engagement in 1867 and his marriage, Bizet was himself aware of undergoing “an extraordinary change . . . both as artist and man. I am purifying myself and becoming better.” Adverse criticism of certain features of La Jolie Fille de Perth prompted him to break once and for all with “the school of flonflons, trills and falsehoods” and to concentrate his attention on the two elements that had always been the strongest features of his music—the creation of exotic atmosphere and the concern with dramatic truth. The first of these was brilliantly exemplified in the one-act Djamileh (1872), original enough to be accused of “exceeding even Richard Wagner in bizarrerie and strangeness”; and the second in the incidental music for Alphonse Daudet’s play L’Arlésienne (1872), which is marked by a delicacy and tenderness quite new to his music. Besides the happiness of his marriage, which was crowned by the birth of a son in July of this same year, his letters show that he was deeply stirred by the events of the Franco-Prussian War, and, during the siege of Paris, he served in the national guard.

It was in the first flush of this new emotional maturity, but with the ardour and enthusiasm of youth still unshadowed, that he wrote his masterpiece, Carmen, based on a story by the contemporary French author Prosper Mérimée. The realism of the work, which caused a scandal when it was first produced in 1875, was to inaugurate a new chapter in the history of opera; and the combination of brilliant local colour and directness of emotional impact with fastidious workmanship and a wealth of melody have made this opera a favourite with musicians and public alike. The philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche regarded it as the type of “Mediterranean” music that was the antidote to Wagner’s Teutonic sound. The scandal caused by Carmen was only beginning to yield to enthusiastic admiration when Bizet suddenly died.

Martin Du Pré Cooper

Encyclopædia Britannica

Caricature of Bizet, 1863,
from the French magazine Diogène


Bizet was born in Paris in 1838, the son of a pianist and a singing teacher. He was quick to master the rudiments of music and his father had great hopes that he would become a composer. At the age of ten he entered the Paris Conservatoire and studied with Charles Gounod and Jacques Halevy, whose daughter Bizet was later to marry. An exceptional student, Bizet won many prizes, initially for his piano playing and later for composition. Chief among these was the prestigious Prix dc Rome, won when he was 18 and resulting in a fave-уеаг pension. One of his notable early works is the Symphony in С from 1855. The score was lost for many years and the piece was not performed until 1935.

Bizet's first mature opera was the love story Les pecheurs dc perles (The Pearl Fishers), performed at the Theatre Lyrique in Paris in 1863. It drew the attention of other composers, Berlioz being a particular admirer; but it failed to gain widespread acceptance by audiences and ran for only 18 performances. Other, equally unsuccessful operas — including the unjustly neglected La jolie fille de Perth (The fair maid of Perth) — appeared during the next few years, leaving Bizet's future as a composer uncertain.

At the same time that his musical activities failed to live up to the promise of earlier years, Bizet's personal life also took an unhappy turn. In 1867 his engagement to Genevieve Halevy was broken off, and although they did in fact marry in 1869, she showed signs of increasing mental instability and had a breakdown a year before the birth of their only child in 1872.

In 1872 Bizet wrote L'Arlesieune, the incidental music for a play by Daudet. Scored for 26 instruments, including a saxophone, the music was greeted coolly, although when rescored for full orchestra it gained the attention and audience appreciation it deserved.

Without a doubt Bizet's greatest achievement, however, was the opera Carmen, which he wrote towards the end of his short life. Despite being termed an opera comiquc, due to its inclusion of spoken dialogue, it hardly amounts to a humorous evening's entertainment. Based on Prosper Merimee's story of the life, love affairs, and tragic death of the gypsy Carmen, it did not achieve immediate success. Critics claimed that it was too sensational, the story "obscene", and that it had no tunes; while many of the audience were outraged at the sight of women smoking on stage.

Today Carmen is one of the best-loved operas in the repertoire, and songs such as "Habanera" and "The Toreador's Song" remain consistently popular. The opera reached a wider audience through Carmen Jones, in which the story was updated by Oscar Hammerstein to 1940s America. Unaware of how hugely successful his creation would become, Bizet died near Paris in 1875 a bitterly disappointed man.


Carmen Suite No.1
Les Toreadors
Les Dragon


Carmen Suite No.2
Sextet and Choir
Children's Chorus
Gypsy Song


Chour des Marais


Women's Glee Club
, featuring Olga Perez, mezzo-soprano - George Bizet
Pres des remparts de Seville (Seguidilla)
Avec la garde montante
Votre toast, je peux vous le rendre (Toreador Song)
L'amour est un oiseau rebelle (Habanera)
Les voici! Voici la quadrille (March of the Toreadors)


Acto IV


Drew Slatton
La fleur que tu mavais jetee


Bryan Verhoye (Horowitz piano transcription)
Variations on a theme from "Carmen"


"The Pearl Fishers"
Chour des Marais
Les pecheurs de perles 
Choeur du 1er acte
Choeur du 4e acte

The Best of Bizet
Ópera Carmen
1. Prélude
2. La Cloche a Sonnée
3. L’Amour Est un Oiseau Rebelle
4. Près des Remparts de Séville (seguidilla e dueto)
5. Votre Toast, Je Peux Vous le Rendre
6. La Fleur Que Tu M’Avais Jetée
7. Entr’acte
8. Écoute, Écoute, Compagnon
9. Je Dis Que Rien Ne M’Épouvante
10. Les Voici! Les Voici!
Suíte L’Arlésienne
11. Prélude (Allegro deciso. Tempo di marcia)
12. Menuet (allegro giocoso)
13. Adagietto
14. Carillon (allegretto moderato)
Bizet - Symphony in C Major
Donald Johanos and New Zealand Symphony Orchestra
Georges Bizet - Symphony No. 2 "Roma" (1861)
I. Andante Tranquillo - Allegro Agitato - 00:00
II. Allegretto Vivace - 12:41
III. Andante Molto - 18:36
IV. Allegro - Vivacissimo - 26:34

The Symphony in C "Roma" is the second of Georges Bizet's symphonies. Unlike his first symphony, also in C major, which was written quickly at the age of 17, Roma was written over an eleven-year span, between the ages of 22 and 33 (he died at age 36). Bizet was never fully satisfied with it, subjecting it to a number of revisions, but died before finishing his definitive version. All four movements were performed in his lifetime, but never all on the same occasion. The full symphony in its latest revision was premiered in 1875, after his death. It is perhaps because of Bizet's dissatisfaction that the work is often said to be "unfinished". However, in the form in which it exists today, it is certainly finished and is fully scored. It has been recorded a number of times but is not often heard on the concert platform.

CARMEN - 1875
Carmen is an opera in four acts by the French composer Georges Bizet. The libretto was written by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy, based on a novella of the same title by Prosper Mérimée. The opera was first performed at the Opéra-Comique in Paris, on 3 March 1875, and was not well received, largely due to its breaking of convention and controversial main characters, which shocked and scandalized its first audiences. Bizet died suddenly after the 33rd performance, and therefore was unaware of its outstanding success in Vienna later that year, or that it would win enduring international acclaim within the next ten years. Carmen has since become one of the most popular and frequently-performed operas in the classical canon; the "Habanera" from act 1 and the "Toreador Song" from act 2 are among the best known of all operatic arias.

The opera, written in the genre of opéra comique with musical numbers separated by dialogue, is set in southern Spain, and tells the story of the downfall of Don José, a naïve soldier who is seduced by the wiles of the fiery gypsy, Carmen. José abandons his childhood sweetheart and deserts from his military duties, yet loses Carmen's love to the glamorous toreador Escamillo, after which José kills her in a jealous rage. The depictions of proletarian life, immorality and lawlessness, and the tragic death of the main character on stage, broke new ground in French opera and were highly controversial.

After the premiere, most reviews were critical, and the French public was generally indifferent. Carmen initially gained its reputation through a series of productions outside France, and was not revived in Paris until 1883; thereafter it rapidly acquired celebrity at home and abroad. Later commentators have asserted that Carmen forms the bridge between the tradition of opéra comique and the realism or verismo that characterised late 19th-century Italian opera.

The music of Carmen has since been widely acclaimed for brilliance of melody, harmony, atmosphere and orchestration, and for the skill with which Bizet musically represented the emotions and suffering of his characters. After the composer's death the score was subject to significant amendment, including the introduction of recitative in place of the original dialogue; there is no standard edition of the opera, and different views exist as to what versions best express Bizet's intentions. The opera has been recorded many times since the first acoustical recording in 1908, and the story has been the subject of many screen and stage adaptations.


Illustration of Bizet's opera Carmen, published in Journal Amusant, 1875.
The image, held by the Bibliothèque nationale de France, is marked "domaine public"


In the Paris of the 1860s, despite being a Prix de Rome laureate, Bizet struggled to get his stage works performed. The capital's two main state-funded opera houses—the Opéra and the Opéra-Comique—followed conservative repertoires that restricted opportunities for young native talent. Bizet's professional relationship with Léon Carvalho, manager of the independent Théâtre Lyrique company, enabled him to bring to the stage two full-scale operas, Les pêcheurs de perles (1863) and La jolie fille de Perth (1867), but neither enjoyed much public success.

When artistic life in Paris resumed after the Franco-Prussian War of 1870–71, Bizet found wider opportunities for the performance of his works; his one-act opera Djamileh opened at the Opéra-Comique in May 1872. Although this failed and was withdrawn after 11 performances, it led to a further commission from the theatre, this time for a full-length opera for which Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy would provide the libretto. Halévy, who had written the text for Bizet's student opera Le docteur Miracle (1856), was a cousin of Bizet's wife, Geneviève; he and Meilhac had a solid reputation as the librettists of many of Jacques Offenbach's operettas.

Bizet was delighted with the Opéra-Comique commission, and expressed to his friend Edmund Galabert his satisfaction in "the absolute certainty of having found my path". The subject of the projected work was a matter of discussion between composer, librettists and the Opéra-Comique management; Adolphe de Leuven, on behalf of the theatre, made several suggestions that were politely rejected. It was Bizet who first proposed an adaptation of Prosper Mérimée's novella Carmen. Mérimée's story is a blend of travelogue and adventure yarn, possibly inspired by the writer's lengthy travels in Spain in 1830, and had originally been published in 1845 in the journal Revue des deux Mondes. It may have been influenced in part by Alexander Pushkin's 1824 poem "The Gypsies", a work Mérimée had translated into French; it has also been suggested that the story was developed from an incident told to Mérimée by his friend the Countess Montijo. Bizet may first have encountered the story during his Rome sojourn of 1858–60, since his journals record Mérimée as one of the writers whose works he absorbed in those years.

Galli-Marié as Carmen


Place: Seville, Spain, and surrounding hills
Time: Around 1820

Act 1

A square, in Seville. On the right, a door to the tobacco factory. At the back, a bridge. On the left, a guardhouse.

A group of soldiers relaxes in the square, waiting for the changing of the guard and commenting on the passers-by ("Sur la place, chacun passe"). Micaëla appears, seeking José. Moralès tells her that "José is not yet on duty" and invites her to wait with them. She declines, saying she will return later. José arrives with the new guard, which is greeted and imitated by a crowd of urchins ("Avec la garde montante").

A lithograph of act 1 in the premiere performance, by Pierre-Auguste Lamy, 1875

As the factory bell rings, the cigarette girls emerge and exchange banter with young men in the crowd ("La cloche a sonné"). Carmen enters and sings her provocative habanera on the untameable nature of love ("L'amour est un oiseau rebelle"). The men plead with her to choose a lover, and after some teasing she throws a flower to Don José, who thus far has been ignoring her but is now annoyed by her insolence.

As the women go back to the factory, Micaëla returns and gives José a letter and a kiss from his mother ("Parle-moi de ma mère!"). He reads that his mother wants him to return home and marry Micaëla, who retreats in shy embarrassment on learning this. Just as José declares that he is ready to heed his mother's wishes, the women stream from the factory in great agitation. Zuniga, the officer of the guard, learns that Carmen has attacked a woman with a knife. When challenged, Carmen answers with mocking defiance ("Tra la la... Coupe-moi, brûle-moi"); Zuniga orders José to tie her hands while he prepares the prison warrant. Left alone with José, Carmen beguiles him with a seguidilla, in which she sings of a night of dancing and passion with her lover—whoever that may be—in Lillas Pastia's tavern. Confused yet mesmerised, José agrees to free her hands; as she is led away she pushes her escort to the ground and runs off laughing. José is arrested for dereliction of duty.

Act 2

Lillas Pastia's Inn

A month has passed. Carmen and her friends Frasquita and Mercédès are entertaining Zuniga and other officers ("Les tringles des sistres tintaient") in Pastia's inn. Carmen is delighted to learn of José's release from a month's detention. Outside, a chorus and procession announces the arrival of the toreador Escamillo ("Vivat, vivat le Toréro"). Invited inside, he introduces himself with the "Toreador Song" ("Votre toast, je peux vous le rendre") and sets his sights on Carmen, who brushes him aside. Lillas Pastia hustles the crowds and the soldiers away.

When only Carmen, Frasquita and Mercédès remain, the smugglers Dancaïre and Remendado arrive and reveal their plans to dispose of some recently acquired contraband ("Nous avons en tête une affaire"). Frasquita and Mercédès are keen to help them, but Carmen refuses, since she wishes to wait for José. After the smugglers leave, José arrives. Carmen treats him to a private exotic dance ("Je vais danser en votre honneur ... La la la"), but her song is joined by a distant bugle call from the barracks. When José says he must return to duty, she mocks him, and he answers by showing her the flower that she threw to him in the square ("La fleur que tu m'avais jetée"). Unconvinced, Carmen demands he shows his love by leaving with her. José refuses to desert, but as he prepares to depart, Zuniga enters looking for Carmen. He and José fight, and are separated by the returning smugglers, who restrain Zuniga. Having attacked a superior officer, José now has no choice but to join Carmen and the smugglers ("Suis-nous à travers la campagne").

Act 3

A wild spot in the mountains

Carmen and José enter with the smugglers and their booty ("Écoute, écoute, compagnons"); Carmen has now become bored with José and tells him scornfully that he should go back to his mother. Frasquita and Mercédès amuse themselves by reading their fortunes from the cards; Carmen joins them and finds that the cards are foretelling her death, and José's. The women depart to suborn the customs officers who are watching the locality. José is placed on guard duty.

Micaëla enters with a guide, seeking José and determined to rescue him from Carmen ("Je dis que rien ne m'épouvante"). On hearing a gunshot she hides in fear; it is José, who has fired at an intruder who proves to be Escamillo. José's pleasure at meeting the bullfighter turns to anger when Escamillo declares his infatuation with Carmen. The pair fight ("Je suis Escamillo, toréro de Grenade"), but are interrupted by the returning smugglers and girls ("Holà, holà José"). As Escamillo leaves he invites everyone to his next bullfight in Seville. Micaëla is discovered; at first, José will not leave with her despite Carmen's mockery, but he agrees to go when told that his mother is dying. As he departs, vowing he will return, Escamillo is heard in the distance, singing the toreador's song.

Act 4

A square in Seville. At the back, the walls of an ancient amphitheatre

Zuniga, Frasquita and Mercédès are among the crowd awaiting the arrival of the bullfighters ("Les voici ! Voici la quadrille!"). Escamillo enters with Carmen, and they express their mutual love ("Si tu m'aimes, Carmen"). As Escamillo goes into the arena, Frasquita warns Carmen that José is nearby, but Carmen is unafraid and willing to speak to him. Alone, she is confronted by the desperate José ("C'est toi ! C'est moi !"). While he pleads vainly for her to return to him, cheers are heard from the arena. As José makes his last entreaty, Carmen contemptuously throws down the ring he gave her and attempts to enter the arena. He then stabs her, and as Escamillo is acclaimed by the crowds, Carmen dies. José kneels and sings "Ah! Carmen! ma Carmen adorée!"; as the crowd exits the arena, José confesses to killing the woman he loved.


Writing history

Meilhac and Halévy were a long-standing duo with an established division of labour: Meilhac, who was completely unmusical, wrote the dialogue and Halévy the verses. There is no clear indication of when work began on Carmen. Bizet and the two librettists were all in Paris during 1873 and easily able to meet; thus there is little written record or correspondence relating to the beginning of the collaboration. The libretto was prepared in accordance with the conventions of opéra comique, with dialogue separating musical numbers. The libretto deviates from Mérimée's novella in a number of important respects. In the original, events are spread over a much longer period of time, and much of the main story is narrated by José from his prison cell, as he awaits execution for Carmen's murder. Micaëla does not feature in Mérimée's version, and the Escamillo character is peripheral—a picador named Lucas who is only briefly Carmen's grand passion. Carmen has a husband called Garcia, whom José kills during a quarrel. In the novella, Carmen and José are presented much less sympathetically than they are in the opera; biographer Mina Curtiss comments that Mérimée's Carmen, on stage, would have seemed "an unmitigated and unconvincing monster, had her character not been simplified and deepened".

With rehearsals due to begin in October 1873, Bizet began composing in or around January of that year, and by the summer had completed the music for the first act and perhaps sketched more. At that point, according to Bizet's biographer Winton Dean, "some hitch at the Opéra-Comique intervened", and the project was suspended for a while. One reason for the delay may have been the difficulties in finding a singer for the title role. Another was a split that developed between the joint directors of the theatre, Camille du Locle and Adolphe de Leuven, over the advisability of staging the work. De Leuven had vociferously opposed the entire notion of presenting so risqué a story in what he considered a family theatre and was sure that audiences would be frightened away. He was assured by Halévy that the story would be toned down, that Carmen's character would be softened, and offset by Micaëla, described by Halévy as "a very innocent, very chaste young girl". Furthermore, the gypsies would be presented as comic characters, and Carmen's death would be overshadowed at the end by "triumphal processions, ballets and joyous fanfares". De Leuven reluctantly agreed, but his continuing hostility towards the project led to his resignation from the theatre early in 1874.

After the various delays, Bizet appears to have resumed work on Carmen early in 1874. He completed the draft of the composition—1,200 pages of music—in the summer, which he spent at the artists' colony at Bougival, just outside Paris. He was pleased with the result, informing a friend: "I have written a work that is all clarity and vivacity, full of colour and melody". During the period of rehearsals, which began in October, Bizet repeatedly altered the music—sometimes at the request of the orchestra who found some of it impossible to perform, sometimes to meet the demands of individual singers, and otherwise in response to the demands of the theatre's management. The vocal score that Bizet published in March 1875 shows significant changes from the version of the score that he sold to the publishers, Choudens, in January 1875; the conducting score used at the premiere differs from each of these documents. There is no definitive edition, and there are differences among musicologists about which version represents the composer's true intentions. Bizet also changed the libretto, reordering sequences and imposing his own verses where he felt that the librettists had strayed too far from the character of Mérimée's original. Among other changes, he provided new words for Carmen's "Habanera", and rewrote the text of Carmen's solo in the act 3 card scene. He also provided a new opening line for the "Seguidilla" in act 1.

Most of the characters in Carmen—the soldiers, the smugglers, the Gypsy women and the secondary leads Micaëla and Escamillo—are reasonably familiar types within the opéra comique tradition, although drawing them from proletarian life was unusual. The two principals, José and Carmen, lie outside the genre. While each is presented quite differently from Mérimée's portrayals of a murderous brigand and a treacherous, amoral schemer, even in their relatively sanitised forms neither corresponds to the norms of opéra comique. They are more akin to the verismo style that would find fuller expression in the works of Puccini.

Dean suggests that José is the central figure of the opera: "It is his fate rather than Carmen's that interests us". The music characterizes his gradual decline, act by act, from honest soldier to deserter, vagabond and finally murderer. In act 1 he is a simple countryman aligned musically with Micaëla; in act 2 he evinces a greater toughness, the result of his experiences as a prisoner, but it is clear that by the end of the act his infatuation with Carmen has driven his emotions beyond control. Dean describes him in act 3 as a trapped animal who refuses to leave his cage even when the door is opened for him, ravaged by a mix of conscience, jealousy and despair. In the final act his music assumes a grimness and purposefulness that reflects his new fatalism: "He will make one more appeal; if Carmen refuses, he knows what to do".

Carmen herself, says Dean, is a new type of operatic heroine representing a new kind of love, not the innocent kind associated with the "spotless soprano" school, but something altogether more vital and dangerous. Her capriciousness, fearlessness and love of freedom are all musically represented: "She is redeemed from any suspicion of vulgarity by her qualities of courage and fatalism so vividly realised in the music". Curtiss suggests that Carmen's character, spiritually and musically, may be a realisation of the composer's own unconscious longing for a freedom denied to him by his stifling marriage. Harold C. Schonberg likens Carmen to "a female Don Giovanni. She would rather die than be false to herself". The dramatic personality of the character, and the range of moods she is required to express, call for exceptional acting and singing talents. This has deterred some of opera's most distinguished exponents; Maria Callas, though she recorded the part, never performed it on stage. The musicologist Hugh Macdonald observes that "French opera never produced another femme as fatale as Carmen", though she may have influenced some of Massenet's heroines. Macdonald suggests that outside the French repertoire, Richard Strauss's Salome and Alban Berg's Lulu "may be seen as distant degenerate descendants of Bizet's temptress".

Bizet was reportedly contemptuous of the music that he wrote for Escamillo: "Well, they asked for ordure, and they've got it", he is said to have remarked about the toreador's song—but, as Dean comments, "the triteness lies in the character, not in the music". Micaëla's music has been criticised for its "Gounodesque" elements, although Dean maintains that her music has greater vitality than that of any of Gounod's own heroines.

Performance history

Assembling the cast

The search for a singer-actress to play Carmen began in the summer of 1873. Press speculation favoured Zulma Bouffar, who was perhaps the librettists' preferred choice. She had sung leading roles in many of Offenbach's operas, but she was unacceptable to Bizet and was turned down by du Locle as unsuitable. In September an approach was made to Marie Roze, well known for previous triumphs at the Opéra-Comique, the Opéra and in London. She refused the part when she learned that she would be required to die on stage. The role was then offered to Célestine Galli-Marié, who agreed to terms with du Locle after several months' negotiation. Galli-Marié, a demanding and at times tempestuous performer, would prove a staunch ally of Bizet, often supporting his resistance to demands from the management that the work should be toned down. At the time it was generally believed that she and the composer were conducting a love affair during the months of rehearsal.

The leading tenor part of Don José was given to Paul Lhérie, a rising star of the Opéra-Comique who had recently appeared in works by Massenet and Delibes. He would later become a baritone, and in 1887 sang the role of Zurga in the Covent Garden premiere of Les pêcheurs de perles. Jacques Bouhy, engaged to sing Escamillo, was a young Belgian-born baritone who had already appeared in demanding roles such as Méphistophélès in Gounod's Faust and as Mozart's Figaro. Marguerite Chapuy, who sang Micaëla, was at the beginning of a short career in which she was briefly a star at London's Theatre Royal, Drury Lane; the impresario James H. Mapleson thought her "one of the most charming vocalists it has been my pleasure to know". However, she married and left the stage altogether in 1876, refusing Mapleson's considerable cash inducements to return.

Poster for the premiere performance, by an anonymous artist, 1875

Premiere and initial run

Because rehearsals did not start until October 1874 and lasted longer than anticipated, the premiere was delayed. The final rehearsals went well, and in a generally optimistic mood the first night was fixed for 3 March 1875, the day on which, coincidentally, Bizet's appointment as a Chevalier of the Legion of Honour was formally announced. The premiere, which was conducted by Adolphe Deloffre, was attended by many of Paris's leading musical figures, including Massenet, Offenbach, Delibes and Gounod; during the performance the last-named was overheard complaining bitterly that Bizet had stolen the music of Micaëla's act 3 aria from him: "That melody is mine!" Halévy recorded his impressions of the premiere in a letter to a friend; the first act was evidently well-received, with applause for the main numbers and numerous curtain calls. The first part of act 2 also went well, but after the toreador's song there was, Halévy noted, "coldness". In act 3 only Micaëla's aria earned applause as the audience became increasingly disconcerted. The final act was "glacial from first to last", and Bizet was left only with the consolations of a few friends. The critic Ernest Newman wrote later that the sentimentalist Opéra-Comique audience was "shocked by the drastic realism of the action" and by the low standing and defective morality of most of the characters. According to the composer Benjamin Godard, Bizet retorted, in response to a compliment, "Don't you see that all these bourgeois have not understood a wretched word of the work I have written for them?" More consolingly, shortly after the work had concluded, Massenet sent Bizet a congratulatory note: "How happy you must be at this time—it's a great success!".

The general tone of the next day's press reviews ranged from disappointment to outrage. The more conservative critics complained about "Wagnerism" and the subordination of the voice to the noise of the orchestra. There was consternation that the heroine was an amoral seductress rather than a woman of virtue; Galli-Marié's interpretation of the role was described by one critic as "the very incarnation of vice". Others compared the work unfavourably with the traditional Opéra-Comique repertoire of Auber and Boieldieu. Léon Escudier in L'Art Musical called Carmen'​s music "dull and obscure ... the ear grows weary of waiting for the cadence that never comes". It seemed that Bizet had generally failed to fulfill expectations, both of those who (given Halévy's and Meilhac's past associations) had expected something in the Offenbach mould, and of critics such as Adolphe Jullien who had anticipated a Wagnerian music drama. Among the few supportive critics was the poet Théodore de Banville; writing in Le National, he applauded Bizet for presenting a drama with real men and women instead of the usual Opéra-Comique "puppets".

In its initial run at the Opéra-Comique, Carmen provoked little public enthusiasm; it shared the theatre for a while with Verdi's much more popular Requiem. Carmen was often performed to half-empty houses, even when the management gave away large numbers of tickets. Early on 3 June, the day after the opera's 33rd performance, Bizet died suddenly of heart disease, at the age of 36. It was his wedding anniversary. That night's performance was cancelled; the tragic circumstances brought a temporary increase in public interest during the brief period before the season ended. Du Locle brought Carmen back in November 1875, with the original cast, and it ran for a further 12 performances until 15 February 1876 to give a year's total for the original production of 48. Among those who attended one of these later performances was Tchaikovsky, who wrote to his benefactor, Nadezhda von Meck: "Carmen is a masterpiece in every sense of the word ... one of those rare creations which expresses the efforts of a whole musical epoch". After the final performance, Carmen was not seen in Paris again until 1883.

Many distinguished artistes sang the role of Carmen in early productions of the opera.

Early revivals
Shortly before his death Bizet signed a contract for a production of Carmen by the Vienna Court Opera. For this version, first staged on 23 October 1875, Bizet's friend Ernest Guiraud replaced the original dialogue with recitatives, to create a "grand opera" format. Guiraud also reorchestrated music from Bizet's L'Arlésienne suite to provide a spectacular ballet for Carmen '​s second act. However, just before the initial Vienna performance the Court Opera's director Franz von Jauner decided to use parts of the original dialogue along with some of Guiraud's recitatives; this hybrid and the full recitative version became the norms for productions of the opera outside France for most of the next century.

Despite its deviations from Bizet's original format, and some critical reservations, the 1875 Vienna production was a great success with the city's public, and won praise from both Wagner and Brahms. The latter reportedly saw the opera 20 times, and said that he would have "gone to the ends of the earth to embrace Bizet". The Viennese triumph began the opera's rapid ascent towards worldwide fame. In February 1876 it began a run in Brussels at La Monnaie; it returned there the following year, with Galli-Marié in the title role, and thereafter became a permanent fixture in the Brussels repertory. On 17 June 1878 Carmen was produced in London, at Her Majesty's Theatre, where Minnie Hauk began her long association with the part of Carmen. A parallel London production at Covent Garden, with Adelina Patti, was cancelled when Patti withdrew. The successful Her Majesty's production, sung in Italian, had an equally enthusiastic reception in Dublin. On 23 October 1878 the opera received its American premiere, at the New York Academy of Music, and in the same year was introduced to Saint Petersburg.

In the following five years performances were given in numerous American and European cities, the opera finding particular favour in Germany, where the Chancellor, Otto von Bismarck, apparently saw it on 27 different occasions and where Friedrich Nietzsche opined that he "became a better man when Bizet speaks to me". Carmen was also acclaimed in numerous French provincial cities including Marseille, Lyon and, in 1881, Dieppe, where Galli-Marié returned to the role. In August 1881 the singer wrote to Bizet's widow to report that Carmen '​s Spanish premiere, in Barcelona, had been "another great success". But Carvalho, who had assumed the management of the Opéra-Comique, thought the work immoral and refused to reinstate it. Meilhac and Hálevy were more prepared to countenance a revival, provided that Galli-Marié had no part in it; they blamed her interpretation for the relative failure of the opening run.

In April 1883 Carvalho finally revived Carmen at the Opéra-Comique, with Adèle Isaac featuring in an under-rehearsed production that removed some of the controversial aspects of the original. Carvalho was roundly condemned by the critics for offering a travesty of what had come to be regarded as a masterpiece of French opera; nevertheless, this version was acclaimed by the public and played to full houses. In October Carvalho yielded to pressure and revised the production; he brought back Galli-Marié, and restored the score and libretto to their 1875 forms.

Carmen at the New York Met in 1915; a publicity photograph that
shows the three principal stars: Geraldine Farrar, Enrico Caruso and Pasquale Amato


Worldwide success
On 9 January 1884 Carmen was given its first New York Metropolitan Opera performance, to a mixed critical reception. The New York Times welcomed Bizet's "pretty and effective work", but compared Zelia Trebelli's interpretation of the title role unfavourably with that of Minnie Hauk. Thereafter Carmen was quickly incorporated into the Met's regular repertory. In February 1906 Enrico Caruso sang José at the Met for the first time; he continued to perform in this role until 1919, two years before his death. On 17 April 1906, on tour with the Met, he sang the role at the Grand Opera House in San Francisco. Afterwards he sat up until 3 am reading the reviews in the early editions of the following day's papers. Two hours later he was awakened by the first violent shocks of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, after which he and his fellow performers made a hurried escape from the Palace Hotel.

The popularity of Carmen continued through succeeding generations of American opera-goers; by the beginning of 2011 the Met alone had performed it almost a thousand times. It enjoyed similar success in other American cities and in all parts of the world, in many different languages. The toreador's song "Votre toast" from act 2 has become one of the most popular and best-known of all operatic arias, "a splendid piece of swagger" according to Newman, "against which the voices and the eyebrows of purists have long been raised in vain". Most of the productions outside France followed the example created in Vienna and incorporated lavish ballet interludes and other spectacles, a practice which Mahler abandoned in Vienna when he revived the work there in 1900. In 1919 Bizet's then-aged contemporary Camille Saint-Saëns was still complaining about the "strange idea" of adding a ballet, which he considered "a hideous blemish in that masterpiece", and he wondered why Bizet's widow, at that time still living, permitted it.

At the Opéra-Comique, after its 1883 revival, Carmen was always presented in the dialogue version with minimal musical embellishments. By 1888, the year of the 50th anniversary of Bizet's birth, the opera had been performed there 330 times; by 1938, his centenary year, the total of performances at the theatre had reached 2,271. However, outside France the practice of using recitatives remained the norm for many years; the Carl Rosa Opera Company's 1947 London production, and Walter Felsenstein's 1949 staging at the Berlin Komische Oper, are among the first known instances in which the dialogue version was used other than in France. Neither of these innovations led to much change in practice; a similar experiment was tried at Covent Garden in 1953 but hurriedly withdrawn, and the first American production with spoken dialogue, in Colorado in 1953, met with a similar fate.

Dean has commented on the dramatic distortions that arise from the suppression of the dialogue; the effect, he says, is that the action moves forward "in a series of jerks, rather instead of by smooth transition", and that most of the minor characters are substantially diminished. Only late in the 20th century did dialogue versions become common in opera houses outside France, but there is still no universally recognised full score. Fritz Oeser's 1964 edition is an attempt to fill this gap, but in Dean's view is unsatisfactory. Oeser reintroduces material removed by Bizet during the first rehearsals, and ignores many of the late changes and improvements that the composer made immediately before the first performance; he thus, according to Susan McClary, "inadvertently preserves as definitive an early draft of the opera". In the early 21st century new editions were prepared by Robert Didion and Richard Langham-Smith, published by Schott and Peters respectively. Each departs significantly from Bizet's vocal score of March 1875, published during his lifetime after he had personally corrected the proofs; Dean believes that this vocal score should be the basis of any standard edition. Lesley Wright, a contemporary Bizet scholar, remarks that, unlike his compatriots Rameau and Debussy, Bizet has not been accorded a critical edition of his principal works; should this transpire, she says, "we might expect yet another scholar to attempt to refine the details of this vibrant score which has so fascinated the public and performers for more than a century". Meanwhile, Carmen'​s popularity endures; according to Macdonald: "The memorability of Bizet's tunes will keep the music of Carmen alive in perpetuity", and its status as a popular classic is unchallenged by any other French opera.

Carmen sings the "Habanera", act 1


Hervé Lacombe, in his survey of 19th-century French opera, contends that Carmen is one of the few works from that large repertory to have stood the test of time. While he places the opera firmly within the long opéra comique tradition, Macdonald considers that it transcends the genre and that its immortality is assured by "the combination in abundance of striking melody, deft harmony and perfectly judged orchestration". Dean sees Bizet's principal achievement in the demonstration of the main actions of the opera in the music, rather than in the dialogue, writing that "Few artists have expressed so vividly the torments inflicted by sexual passions and jealousy". Dean places Bizet's realism in a different category from the verismo of Puccini and others; he likens the composer to Mozart and Verdi in his ability to engage his audiences with the emotions and sufferings of his characters.

Bizet, who had never visited Spain, sought out appropriate ethnic material to provide an authentic Spanish flavour to his music. Carmen's "Habanera" is based on an idiomatic song, "El Arreglito", by the Spanish composer Sebastián Yradier (1809–65). Bizet had taken this to be a genuine folk melody; when he learned its recent origin he added a note to the vocal score, crediting Yradier. He used a genuine folksong as the source of Carmen's defiant "Coupe-moi, brûle-moi" while other parts of the score, notably the "Seguidilla", utilise the rhythms and instrumentation associated with flamenco music. However, Dean insists that "[t]his is a French, not a Spanish opera"; the "foreign bodies", while they undoubtedly contribute to the unique atmosphere of the opera, form only a small ingredient of the complete music.

The prelude to act 1 combines three recurrent themes: the entry of the bullfighters from act 4, the refrain from the Toreador Song from act 2, and the motif that, in two slightly differing forms, represents both Carmen herself and the fate that she personifies. This motif, played on clarinet, bassoon, cornet and cellos over tremolo strings, concludes the prelude with an abrupt crescendo. When the curtain rises a light and sunny atmosphere is soon established, and pervades the opening scenes. The mock solemnities of the changing of the guard, and the flirtatious exchanges between the townsfolk and the factory girls, precede a mood change when a brief phrase from the fate motif announces Carmen's entrance. After her provocative "Habanera", with its persistent insidious rhythm and changes of key, the fate motif sounds in full when Carmen throws her flower to José before departing. This action elicits from José a passionate A major solo that Dean suggests is the turning-point in his musical characterisation. The softer vein returns briefly, as Micaëla reappears and joins with José in a duet to a warm clarinet and strings accompaniment. The tranquillity is shattered by the women's noisy quarrel, Carmen's dramatic re-entry and her defiant interaction with Zuniga. After her beguiling "Seguidilla" provokes José to an exasperated high A sharp shout, Carmen's escape is preceded by the brief but disconcerting reprise of a fragment from the "Habanera". Bizet revised this finale several times to increase its dramatic effect.

Act 2 begins with a short prelude, based on a melody that José will sing offstage before his next entry. A festive scene in the inn precedes Escamillo's tumultuous entrance, in which brass and percussion provide prominent backing while the crowd sings along. The quintet that follows is described by Newman as "of incomparable verve and musical wit". José's appearance precipitates a long mutual wooing scene; Carmen sings, dances and plays the castanets; a distant cornet-call summoning José to duty is blended with Carmen's melody so as to be barely discernible. A muted reference to the fate motif on an English horn leads to José's "Flower Song", a flowing continuous melody that ends pianissimo on a sustained high B-flat. José's insistence that, despite Carmen's blandishments, he must return to duty leads to a quarrel; the arrival of Zuniga, the consequent fight and José's unavoidable ensnarement into the lawless life culminates musically in the triumphant hymn to freedom that closes the act.

The prelude to act 3 was originally intended for Bizet's L'Arlésienne score. Newman describes it as "an exquisite miniature, with much dialoguing and intertwining between the woodwind instruments". As the action unfolds, the tension between Carmen and José is evident in the music. In the card scene, the lively duet for Frasquita and Mercédès turns ominous when Carmen intervenes; the fate motif underlines her premonition of death. Micaëla's aria, after her entry in search of José, is a conventional piece, though of deep feeling, preceded and concluded by horn calls. The middle part of the act is occupied by Escamillo and José, now acknowledged as rivals for Carmen's favour. The music reflects their contrasting attitudes: Escamillo remains, says Newman, "invincibly polite and ironic", while José is sullen and aggressive. When Micaëla pleads with José to go with her to his mother, the harshness of Carmen's music reveals her most unsympathetic side. As José departs, vowing to return, the fate theme is heard briefly in the woodwind. The confident, off-stage sound of the departing Escamillo singing the toreador's refrain provides a distinct contrast to José's increasing desperation.

The brief final act is prefaced with a lively orchestral piece derived from Manuel García's short operetta El Criado Fingido.[80] After the opening crowd scene, the bullfighters' march is led by the children's chorus; the crowd hails Escamillo before his short love scene with Carmen. The long finale, in which José makes his last pleas to Carmen and is decisively rejected, is punctuated at critical moments by enthusiastic off-stage shouts from the bullfighting arena. As José kills Carmen, the chorus sing the refrain of the Toreador Song off-stage; the fate motif, which has been suggestively present at various points during the act, is heard fortissimo, together with a brief reference to Carmen's card scene music. Jose's last words of love and despair are followed by a final long chord, on which the curtain falls without further musical or vocal comment.

In 1883 the Spanish violinist and composer Pablo de Sarasate (1844–1908) wrote a Carmen Fantasy for violin, described as "ingenious and technically difficult". Ferruccio Busoni's 1920 piece, Piano Sonatina No. 6 (Fantasia da camera super Carmen), is based on themes from Carmen. In 1967 the Russian composer Rodion Shchedrin adapted parts of the Carmen music into a ballet, the Carmen Suite, written specifically for his wife Maya Plisetskaya, then the Bolshoi Ballet's principal ballerina.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Bizet - CARMEN
Carmen (Elena Obraztsova, Plácido Domingo, Yury Mazurok; Carlos Kleiber, 9.12.1978)
Franco Zeffirelli, Wiener Staatsoper
Maria Callas "Habanera" Carmen, Bizet - Hamburg, 16.03.1962
Habanera - Montserrat Caballe
Bizet: Habanera (Carmen) - Montserrat Caballé, live Basel 2009 with Roger Federer
Montserrat Caballé live in Basel, 2009. Conductor: Thomas Herzog; Basler Festival Orchester, Opernchor des Theater Basel (Einstudierung Henryk Polus). Georges Bizet: Habanera from "CARMEN" - Entring with Roger Federer!
Elena Obraztsova - Carmen - Habanera
From Bizet 's Carmen Act 1. Vienna State Opera. Carlos Kleiber conductor. December 9, 1978
E. Obraztsova & P. Domingo "Final duet" Carmen
Vienna State Opera. Carlos Kleiber conductor. December 9, 1978
Georges Bizet - Carmen - Habanera
Agnes Baltsa, José Carreras, Samuel Ramey, Leona Mitchell; Metropolitan Opera Orchestra und Metropolitan Opera Chorus, Conductor: James Levine
Tamara Sinyavskaya Seguidilla CARMEN 1971
Tamara Sinyavskaya-HABANERA-CARMEN
Les pecheurs de perles - 1863

Alessandro Allori, La Pêche des perles (1570-72)
Palazzo Vecchio (Florence)
Les pêcheurs de perles (The Pearl Fishers) is an opera in three acts by the French composer Georges Bizet, to a libretto by Eugène Cormon and Michel Carré. It was first performed on 30 September 1863 at the Théâtre Lyrique in Paris, and was given 18 performances in its initial run. Set in ancient times on the island of Ceylon, the opera tells the story of how two men's vow of eternal friendship is threatened by their love for the same woman, whose own dilemma is the conflict between secular love and her sacred oath as a priestess. The friendship duet "Au fond du temple saint", generally known as "The Pearl Fishers Duet", is one of the best-known numbers in Western opera.

At the time of the premiere, Bizet was 25 years old and had yet to establish himself in the Parisian musical world. The commission to write Les pêcheurs arose from his standing as a former winner of the prestigious Prix de Rome. Despite a good reception by the public, press reactions to the work were generally hostile and dismissive, although other composers, notably Hector Berlioz, found considerable merit in the music. The opera was not revived in Bizet's lifetime, but from 1886 onwards it was performed with some regularity in Europe and North America, and from the mid-20th century has entered the repertory of opera houses worldwide. Because the autograph score was lost, post-1886 productions were based on amended versions of the score that contained significant departures from the original. Since the 1970s, efforts have been made to reconstruct the score in accordance with Bizet's intentions.

Modern critical opinion has been kinder than that of Bizet's day. Commentators describe the quality of the music as uneven and at times unoriginal, but acknowledge the opera as a work of promise in which Bizet's gifts for melody and evocative instrumentation are clearly evident. They have identified clear foreshadowings of the composer's genius which would culminate, 10 years later, in Carmen. Since 1950 the work has been recorded on numerous occasions, in both the amended and original versions.


Bizet's first opera, the one-act Le docteur Miracle, was written in 1856 when the 18-year-old composer was a student at the Conservatoire de Paris. It was Bizet's winning entry in a competition organised by the celebrated composer Jacques Offenbach, and gained him a cash award, a gold medal, and a performance of the prize work at the Théâtre des Bouffes-Parisiens. In 1857 Bizet was awarded the prestigious Prix de Rome, and as a result spent most of the following three years in Italy, where he wrote Don Procopio, a short opera buffa in the style of Donizetti. By this time Bizet had written several non-stage works, including his Symphony in C, but the poor reception accorded to his 1858 Te Deum, a religious work he composed in Rome, helped convince him that his future lay primarily with the musical theatre. He planned and possibly began several operatic works before his return to Paris in 1860, but none of these projects came to fruition.

In Paris, Bizet discovered the difficulties faced by young and relatively unknown composers trying to get their operas performed. Of the capital's two state-subsidised opera houses, the Opéra and the Opéra-Comique, the former offered a static repertoire in which works by foreign composers, particularly Rossini and Meyerbeer, were dominant. Even established French composers such as Gounod had difficulty getting works performed there. At the Opéra-Comique, innovation was equally rare; although more French works were performed, the style and character of most productions had hardly changed since the 1830s. However, one condition of the Opéra-Comique's state funding was that from time to time it should produce one-act works by former Prix de Rome laureates. Under this provision, Bizet wrote La guzla de l'Emir, with a libretto by Jules Barbier and Michel Carré, and this went into rehearsal early in 1862.

In April 1862, as the La guzla rehearsals proceeded, Bizet was approached by Léon Carvalho, manager of the independent Théâtre Lyrique company. Carvalho had been offered an annual grant of 100,000 francs by the retiring Minister of Fine Arts, Count Walewski, on condition that each year he stage a new three-act opera from a recent Prix de Rome winner. Carvalho had a high opinion of Bizet's abilities, and offered him the libretto of Les pêcheurs de perles, an exotic story by Carré and Eugène Cormon set on the island of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). Sensing the opportunity for a genuine theatrical success, Bizet accepted the commission. Because Walewski restricted his grant to composers who had not had any previous work performed commercially, Bizet hurriedly withdrew La guzla from the Opéra-Comique; it has never been performed, and the music has disappeared.

From left to right: Giuseppe De Luca (Zurga), Frieda Hempel (Leila) and Enrico Caruso (Nadir), in the New York Met 1916 production


Place: Ceylon
Time: Ancient times

Act 1

The scene is a desolate seashore, with the ruins of a Hindu temple in the background. A chorus of pearl fishermen sing of the dangerous tasks that lie ahead ("Sur la grève en feu"), and perform ritual dances to drive away evil spirits. They then elect one of their number, Zurga, as their leader, or "king". Nadir enters, and is hailed by Zurga as a long-lost friend. Left alone, the pair reminisce about their past in the city of Kandy, where their friendship was nearly destroyed by their mutual love of a young priestess whose beauty they had glimpsed briefly. They had each renounced their love for this stranger and had sworn to remain true to each other. Now, reunited, they affirm once again that they will be faithful until death ("Au fond du temple saint").

A boat draws up on the beach bearing the veiled figure of Leila, the virgin priestess whose prayers are required to ensure the safety of the fishermen. Although neither of them recognises her, she is the woman from Kandy with whom Nadir and Zurga had been in love. As Zurga is explaining her duties, she recognises Nadir, but she says nothing and shortly afterwards is led up to the temple by the high priest Nourabad. Zurga and the fishermen go down to the sea, leaving Nadir alone. In a troubled soliloquy before he sleeps he recalls how, in Kandy, he had broken his vows to Zurga and pursued his love for the veiled woman ("Je crois entendre encore"). It was the rumour that she might be found in this place that brought him here. Alone in the temple, Leila prays and sings. Nadir wakes and, recognising the voice of his long-desired lover, traces it to the temple. Leila briefly draws her veil aside, he sees it is she and the pair declare their renewed passion. On the beach, the fishermen plead with her to continue protecting them, but she tells Nadir she will sing for him alone ("O Dieu Brahma").

Act 2
In the temple with Nourabad, Leila expresses fear at being left alone, but Nourabad exhorts her to be brave and to fulfil her vows to Brahma on pain of her own death. She tells him of the courage she once displayed when, as a child, she had hidden a fugitive from his enemies and refused to give him up even when threatened with death ("J'étais encore enfant"). The fugitive had rewarded her with a necklace that he asked her always to wear. She had kept this promise, as she would her vows. On the priest's departure, Leila quietly muses on the former times when she and Nadir would meet together secretly ("Comme autrefois dans la nuit sombre"). Nadir then enters; in her fear of Nourabad's threats Leila begs him to leave, but he remains and the two declare their love in a passionate duet ("Léïla! Léïla!...Dieu puissant, le voilà!"). He goes, promising to return next night, but as he leaves he is captured by the fishermen and brought back to the temple. Zurga, as the fishermen's leader, at first resists the fishermen's calls for Nadir's execution and advocates mercy. However, after Nourabad removes Leila's veil, Zurga recognises her as his former love; consumed by jealousy and rage, he orders that both Nadir and Leila be put to death. A violent storm erupts, as the fishermen unite in singing a hymn to Brahma ("Brahma divin Brahma!").

Act 3
In his tent on the beach, Zurga notes that the storm has abated, as has his rage; he now feels remorse for his anger towards Nadir ("L'orage est calmé"). Leila is brought in; Zurga is captivated by her beauty as he listens to her pleas for Nadir's life, but his jealousy is rekindled. He confesses his love for her, but refuses mercy ("Je suis jaloux"). Nourabad and some of the fishermen enter to report that the funeral pyre is ready. As Leila is taken away, Zurga observes her giving one of the fishermen her necklace, asking for its return to her mother. With a shout, Zurga rushes out after the group and seizes the necklace.

Outside the temple, Nadir waits beside the funeral pyre as the crowd, singing and dancing, anticipates the dawn and the coming double execution ("Dès que le soleil"). He is joined by Leila; resigned now to their deaths, the pair sing of how their souls will soon be united in heaven. A glow appears in the sky, and Zurga rushes in to report that the fishermen's camp is ablaze. As the men hurry away to save their homes, Zurga frees Leila and Nadir. He returns the necklace to Leila, and reveals that he is the man she saved when she was a child. He recognises now that his love for her is in vain, and tells her and Nadir to flee. As the couple depart, singing of the life of love that awaits them, Zurga is left alone, to await the fishermen's return ("Plus de crainte...Rêves d'amour, adieu!").

(In the revised version of the ending introduced after the opera's 1886 revival, Nourabad witnesses Zurga's freeing of the prisoners and denounces him to the fishermen, one of whom stabs Zurga to death as the last notes sound of Leila and Nadir's farewell song. In some variations Zurga meets his death in other ways, and his body is consigned to the pyre.)

Final scene of act 1 (La Scala, 1886)


Writing and compositional history
The libretto was written by Eugène Cormon and Michel Carré. Cormon was a prolific author of libretti and straight drama, usually in collaboration with other writers. In his career he wrote or co-wrote at least 135 works, of which Les dragons de Villars, set to music by Aimé Maillart, was perhaps the most successful. Carré, who had initially trained as a painter, had worked with Jules Barbier on Gounod's opera Faust and had co-written the play Les contes fantastiques d'Hoffmann, which became the basis of the libretto for Offenbach's opera The Tales of Hoffmann. Before Les pêcheurs de perles Cormon and Carré had previously written a libretto for Maillart on a similar theme, Les pêcheurs de Catane, which had been performed in 1860; they had originally planned to set their new story in Mexico before changing its location to Ceylon.

By general critical consent the libretto of Les pêcheurs de perles is a work of poor quality. The weak plot, as Bizet's biographer Winton Dean observes, turns on the unlikely coincidence regarding Leila's necklace, and no real effort is made in the text to bring any of the characters to life: "They are the regulation sopranos, tenors, etc., with their faces blacked". Mina Curtiss, in her book on Bizet, dismisses the text as banal and imitative. Donal Henahan of The New York Times, writing in 1986, said that the libretto "rank[ed] right down there with the most appallingly inept of its kind". The writers themselves admitted its shortcomings: Cormon commented later that had they been aware of Bizet's quality as a composer, they would have tried harder. Carré was worried about the weak ending, and constantly sought suggestions for changing it; Curtiss records that in exasperation, the theatre manager Carvalho suggested that Carré burn the libretto. This facetious remark, Curtiss asserts, led Carré to end the opera with the fishermen's tents ablaze as Leila and Nadir make their escape.

Because he did not receive Carvalho's commission until April 1863, with the projected opening night set for mid-September, Bizet composed quickly with, Curtiss says, "a tenacity and concentration quite foreign to him in his Roman days". He had some music available on which he could draw; through the previous winter he had worked on the score of an opera, Ivan IV with the promise, which fell through, that the work would be staged in Baden-Baden. Ivan IV provided music for three numbers in Les pêcheurs de perles: the prelude; part of Zurga's "Une fille inconnue"; and the third act duet "O lumière sainte". The "Brahma divin Brahma" chorus was adapted from the rejected Te Deum, and the chorus "Ah chante, chante encore" from Don Procopio. It is also likely that music composed for the cancelled La guzla de l'émir found its way into the new opera's score, which was completed by early August. The libretto was changed frequently during the creation process, even when the work had reached the rehearsal stage; the chorus "L'ombre descend" was added at Bizet's request, and other numbers were shortened or removed.

Performance history and reception
The premiere, originally planned for 14 September 1863, was postponed to the 30th because of the illness of the soprano lead, Léontine de Maësen. The first-night audience at the Théâtre Lyrique received the work well, and called for Bizet at the conclusion. The writer Louis Gallet, who later would provide several librettos for Bizet, described the composer on this occasion as "a little dazed ... a forest of thick curly hair above a round, still rather childish face, enlivened by the quick brown eyes..." The audience's appreciation was not reflected in the majority of the press reviews, which generally castigated both the work and what they considered Bizet's lack of modesty in appearing on stage. Gustave Bertrand in Le Ménestrel wrote that "this sort of exhibition is admissible only for a most extraordinary success, and even then we prefer to have the composer dragged on in spite of himself, or at least pretending to be". Another critic surmised that the calls for the composer had been orchestrated by a "claque" of Bizet's friends, strategically distributed.

Of the opera itself, Benjamin Jouvin of Le Figaro wrote: "There were neither fishermen in the libretto nor pearls in the music". He considered that on every page the score displayed "the bias of the school to which [Bizet] belongs, that of Richard Wagner". Bertrand compared the work unfavourably with those of contemporary French composers such as Charles Gounod and Félicien David. "Nevertheless", he wrote, "there is a talent floating in the midst of all these regrettable imitations". Hector Berlioz was a voice apart in the general critical hostility; his review of the work in Journal des Débats praised the music's originality and subtlety: "The score of Les pêcheurs de perles does M. Bizet the greatest honour", he wrote. Among Bizet's contemporaries, the dramatist Ludovic Halévy wrote that this early work announced Bizet as a composer of quality: "I persist in finding in [the score] the rarest virtues". The youthful composer Émile Paladilhe told his father that the opera was superior to anything that the established French opera composers of the day, such as Auber and Thomas, were capable of producing.

In its initial run Les pêcheurs de perles ran for 18 performances, alternating with Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro. It closed on 23 November 1863, and although it brought the theatre little financial success, Bizet had won admiration from his peers. Carvalho was satisfied enough to ask Bizet to quickly finish Ivan IV, with a view to its early production at the Théâtre Lyrique. This idea eventually came to nothing; Ivan IV remained unperformed until 1946.

Early revivals
After its opening run, Les pêcheurs was not performed again until 11 years after Bizet's death when, on 20 March 1886, it was presented in Italian at La Scala, Milan. After this it received regular stagings in European cities, often with the Italian version of the libretto. These revivals, which possibly reflected the growing success of Carmen, were followed by the publication of several versions of the music that incorporated significant differences from Bizet's original. In particular the finale was altered, to provide a more dramatic ending—"a grand Meyerbeerian holocaust" according to Dean. This revised conclusion included a trio composed by Benjamin Godard. These corrupted scores remained the basis of productions for nearly a century.

A group of female dancers in flowing robes strike exaggerated poses around a central group of two men and a woman.
A scene from the 1916 production at the New York Met

The opera received its British premiere on 22 April 1887, at London's Covent Garden, under the title Leila. The part of Nadir was sung by Paul Lhérie, the original Don José in the 1875 Carmen. Press reactions were muted; The Times‍ '​s music critic found much of the music incompatible with the exotic setting—the hymn to Brahma was, he suggested, reminiscent of a Lutheran chorale. The Observer‍ '​s reporter found "no trace of genuine inspiration", and drew unfavourable comparisons with Carmen. When Covent Garden repeated the production in May 1889 the Princess of Wales and other members of the British royal family were present. The Manchester Guardian‍ '​s correspondent praised the singers but found that the work "becomes weaker and weaker as it goes on".

Les pêcheurs returned to Paris on 20 April 1889, when it was performed—in Italian—at the Théâtre de la Gaîté. Despite a distinguished cast—Emma Calvé, Jean-Alexandre Talazac and Lhérie, now a baritone, in the role of Zurga—critical reviews were no more enthusiastic than those which had greeted the original performances. Le Ménestrel excused Bizet on account of his youth, while The Manchester Guardian‍ '​s report summed up the Parisian view of the work as "almost entirely lacking in ... boldness & originality". On 24 April 1893 Carvalho revived the work, in French, at the Opéra-Comique, its first performance at what would later become its regular home.

Productions continued to proliferate in Europe, and further afield; on 25 August 1893 the opera received its American premiere in Philadelphia. Two-and-a-half years later, on 11 January 1896, the first two acts were performed at the New York Metropolitan Opera (the "Met"), as part of a programme that included Jules Massenet's one-act opera La Navarraise. The cast was led by Calvé and the Italian baritone Mario Ancona.

The Met's first complete staging of the opera came 20 years later, on 13 November 1916, when a star cast that included Enrico Caruso, Frieda Hempel and Giuseppe De Luca gave three performances. According to W. H. Chase in the Evening Sun, the act 1 duet "brought down the house in a superb blending of the two men's voices"; later, in "Je crois entendre encore", Caruso "did some of the most artistic singing in plaintive minor". In The Sun, W. J. Henderson, praised Hempel for her "ravishing upper tones", Da Luca was "a master of the delicate finish", and the bass Léon Rothier, in the small part of Nourabad, "filled Bizet's requirements perfectly".

Entering the mainstream
In the years after the First World War the work lost popularity with opera-house directors, and it was seen less frequently. The Met did not repeat its 1916 production, though individual numbers from the work—most frequently the famous duet and Leila's "Comme autrefois"—were regularly sung at the Met's concert evenings. The 1930s saw a return of interest in the opera, with productions in new venues including Nuremberg and the Berlin State Opera. Some revivals were unconventional: one German production used a rewritten libretto based on a revised storyline in which Leila, transformed into a defiant Carmen-like heroine, commits suicide at the end of the final scene. Paris's Opéra-Comique staged a more traditional production in 1932, and again in 1938, Bizet's centenary year. From that time onward it has remained in the Opéra-Comique repertory.

After the Second World War, although the opera was shunned by Covent Garden, the Sadler's Wells company presented it in March 1954. The Times announced this production as the first known use in Britain of the opera's English libretto. The stage designs for this production, which was directed by Basil Coleman, were by John Piper.

In the early 1970s, Arthur Hammond orchestrated the sections of the neglected 1863 vocal score that had been cut out from the post-1886 scores. This led to a production in 1973, by Welsh National Opera, of a version close to Bizet's original, without Godard's trio and Zurga's violent death—the first modern performance to incorporate the original ending.[

The Sadler's Wells production was revived several times, but it was not until September 1987 that the company, by then transformed into English National Opera, replaced it with a new staging directed by Philip Prowse. The Guardian‍ '​s report on this production mentioned that the "Pearl Fishers Duet" had recently topped the list in a poll of the public's "best tunes", and described the opera as "one of the most sweetly tuneful in the French repertory". This production "...[brought] out its freshness, never letting it become sugary". Although the run was a sell-out, ENO's managing director Peter Jonas disliked the production, and refused to revive it. It did not reappear in ENO's repertory until 1994, after Jonas's departure.

Modern productions
In the latter years of the 20th century the opera was a regular feature in many European cities, and was still breaking new ground; in 1990 it made its debut at the Slovak National Theatre in Bratislava. Vienna saw it for the first time in 1994, at the Vienna Volksoper, in what John Rockwell in the New York Times described as "an awkwardly updated production", though well performed. The opera had not so far proved particularly popular in the United States, where since the Met premiere of 1916, performances had been rare by comparison with Europe. Lyric Opera of Chicago staged it in 1966, but waited until 1998 before repeating it. In 1980 the New York City Opera mounted a production based on the 1863 edition, and revived it in 1983 and 1986. Reviewing the 1986 production, Henahan wrote that despite the inept libretto the work was saved by the "melodic suppleness and warmth" of Bizet's score.

San Diego Opera first staged the work in 1993, but it was this company's spectacular 2004 production, designed by Zandra Rhodes, that generated new levels of enthusiasm for the opera throughout the United States. In the following few years this production was shown in seven other U.S. opera houses; in October 2008 James C. Whitson, in Opera News, reported that worldwide, "between 2007 and 2009, half of all major production of the piece have been or will be ... in the U.S.". San Diego's director, Ian Campbell, suggested that his company's 2004 production was "created at a time when it seemed many U.S. opera companies were looking for a not-too-expensive production with melody, and a little off the beaten track .... [Our] Les pêcheurs de perles fitted the bill.

In January 2008 the opera received its first performance in Sri Lanka, the land of its setting. The conductor, Benjamin Levy, directed a large group of singers and musicians, mostly young and local. Against a background of increasing esteem, the opera was reintroduced to London's Royal Opera House in October 2010, after an interval of more than 120 years. Two concert performances were given using a new edition of the score, prepared by Brad Cohen after the discovery in the Bibliothèque nationale de France of Bizet's 1863 conducting score. Commenting on this performance in The Daily Telegraph, Rupert Christiansen drew attention to the "musing intimacy and quiet dignity" with which the duet was sung, as compared with more traditional macho renderings.

The opera begins with a brief orchestral prelude, the principal theme of which prefigures Leila's entrance. The opening chorus is punctuated by a dance which the critic John W. Klein describes as "electrifying". Nadir's first significant contribution is his aria "Des savanes et des forêts", sung to an accompaniment of cellos and bassoons under a string tremolo that shows, Dean suggests, the influence of Meyerbeer. Flutes and harps are used to introduce the main theme of the celebrated "Pearl Fishers Duet", in what the opera historian Hervé Lacombe identifies as "the most highly developed poetic scene in the opera". The duet's theme has become the opera's principal musical signature, repeated in the work whenever the issue of the men's friendship arises—though in Dean's view the tune is not worthy of the weight it carries. Bizet's ability to find the appropriate musical phrase with style and economy is better demonstrated, Dean suggests, in his treatment of Leila's oath of chastity, where a simple phrase is repeated twice in minor third steps. Nadir's aria "Je crois entendre encore", towards the end of act 1, is written on a barcarole rhythm, with a dominant cor anglais whereby, says Lacombe, "[t]he listener has the impression that the horn is singing".

In act 2 a short orchestral introduction is followed by an off-stage chorus, notable for its sparse accompaniment—a tambourine and two piccolos. After Nourabad reminds Leila of her oath and leaves her alone she sings her cavatina "Comme autrefois". Two French horns introduce the theme, supported by the cellos. When her voice enters, says Lacombe, "it replaces the first horn whose characteristic sound it seems to continue". Dean likens this song to Micaela's aria "Je dis que rien ne m'épouvante" from Carmen. Nadir's "De mon amie" which follows the cavatina has, says Dean, "a haunting beauty"; its introductory phrase recalls the oboe theme in Bizet's youthful Symphony in C. Dean cites the second act finale, with its repeated climaxes as the crowds demand the errant couple's deaths, as an example of Bizet's developing skills in writing theatrical music. The third act, divided into two brief scenes, begins with Zurga's entrance to quiet chromatic scales played over a tonic pedal, an effect that Bizet would later use in his incidental music to L'Arlésienne. The duet "Je frémis", says Dean, has clear hints of Verdi's Il trovatore, and the fiery chorus "Dès que le soleil" is reminiscent of a Mendelssohn scherzo, but otherwise the final act's music is weak and lacking in dramatic force. In the closing scene, in which Zurga bids a last farewell to his dreams of love, the friendship theme from the act 1 duet sounds for the final time.

According to Lacombe, Les pêcheurs de perles is characteristic of French opéra lyrique, in particular through Bizet's use of arioso and dramatic recitative, his creation of atmospheres, and his evocation of the exotic.[49] Berlioz described the opera's score as beautiful, expressive, richly coloured and full of fire, but Bizet himself did not regard the work highly, and thought that, a few numbers apart, it deserved oblivion. Parisian critics of the day, attuned to the gentler sounds of Auber and Offenbach, complained about the heaviness of Bizet's orchestration, which they said was noisy, overloaded and Wagnerian—"a fortissimo in three acts". The conductor Hans von Bülow dismissed the work contemptuously as "a tragical operetta", and when it was revived after 1886, resented having to conduct it. Modern writers have generally treated the piece more generously; the music may be of uneven quality and over-reflective of the works of Bizet's contemporaries, says Dean, but there are interesting hints of his mature accomplishments.[50] Others have given credit to the composer for overcoming the limitations of the libretto with some genuinely dramatic strokes and the occasional inspiring melody.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Bizet: Les Pecheurs de Perles
Leïla: Martha Angelici
Nadir: Henri Legay
Zurga: Michel Dens
Nourabad: Louis Noguera

Chœur et Orchestre du Théâtre National de I'Opéra de Paris
André Cluytens

Les Pecheurs des perles - Port Luis Opera - Islas Mauricio
Georges Bizet: The Pearl Fishers : Leila's aria
Performed by soprano Liliya Gubaidulina, Lithuanian symphony orchestra conducted by Gintaras Rimkevicius.
She sings: Me voilà seule dans la nuit...Comme autrefois (act II)
Nadir & Leila duet - Pearl Fisher opera ( George Bizet)
Placido Domingo & Andrea Bocelli - Pearl Fishers duet
Placido Domingo & Andrea Bocelli - Pearl Fishers duet
Arena di Verona 01.06.2013
La jolie fille de Perth (The Fair Maid of Perth) - 1867
La jolie fille de Perth (The Fair Maid of Perth) is an opera in four acts by Georges Bizet (1838–1875), from a libretto by Jules-Henri Vernoy de Saint-Georges and Jules Adenis, after the novel by Sir Walter Scott. Many writers have reserved severe criticism for the librettists for their stock devices and improbable events, while praising Bizet's advance on his earlier operas in construction of set pieces and his striking melodic and instrumental ideas.

It was first performed at the Théâtre Lyrique (Théâtre-Lyrique Impérial du Châtelet), Paris, on 26 December 1867.

Performance history

Although commissioned by Carvalho in 1866 and completed by Bizet by the end of that year (with the soprano lead intended for Christine Nilsson), the dress rehearsal took place in September 1867 and the first performance three months later. It was next revived in Paris on 3 November 1890 at the Éden-Théâtre for eleven performances.

La jolie fille de Perth was performed in Brussels in 1868 and Geneva in 1885; in German it was given in Weimar and Vienna in 1883, and in English in Manchester and London in 1917.

It was staged at the Wexford Festival in 1968, the Théâtre Impérial de Compiègne in 1998 and the Buxton Festival in 2006, and recorded by the BBC in Manchester for the Bizet centenary in 1975.

Place: Perth
Time: 14th century

Act 1

The workshop of Henry Smith the armourer

Workmen sing in the forge, on the eve of the Carnival. Alone, Smith muses on whether the coquettish Catherine Glover will consent to be his Valentine. Mab, Queen of the Gypsies enters hurriedly, seeking refuge in Smith's workshop from pursuing noblemen. When Catherine arrives unexpectedly, Mab hides in an adjoining room. Catherine, her father the glove-maker and his apprentice Ralph enter. Catherine sings of the joys of winter, and the two men retire to leave her and Smith alone. Smith gives his beloved a rose brooch in advance of St Valentine's Day. However, a stranger now enters and asks Smith to straighten the blade of his dagger. He is the Duke of Rothsay, who proceeds to flirt with Catherine, infuriating Smith, who is about to land a blow on the Duke when Mab comes from her hiding-place to protect him. Glover returns to a scene of confusion; Catherine throws away the rose, but Mab picks it up to return it later.

Act 2
A square in Perth

Later that evening the watch, including Glover, are on their rounds. They are scared off by revellers, who gather beneath Catherine's window. Mab joins them and dances. The Duke asks her to bring Catherine, masked, to a ball at his palace that night. Although Mab initially laughs at the Duke's fickleness, she agrees, but swears vengeance. As the stage empties, Smith enters and serenades his sweetheart, unsuccessfully. As midnight strikes, Ralph enters, drunk and in despair at not being loved. As the Duke's steward asks him where Catherine Glover lives, a lady like her gets into a litter and is driven away. Coming to his senses, Ralph sends Smith after the litter; when the real Catherine deigns to reply to her lover's serenade he is gone.

Act 3
Night-time festivities at the Duke's palace.

The Duke tells his friends that his latest conquest will shortly arrive and a masked lady appears, but will only unmask for him. Alone together, Mab removes her domino, then flees, leaving her lover only Catherine's enamelled rose she had been wearing on her bodice. Next Smith arrives to a deserted ballroom, lamenting Catherine's infidelity. Soon it is morning, and time for the Duke's audience. While Smith hides, the Duke receives Glover, who invites him to his daughter's approaching wedding. The Duke is surprised, and Smith bursts in and accuses Catherine of betrayal. She protests, and he forgives her, but then notices that the Duke has her enamelled rose, confirmed all his suspicions.

Act 4
1st tableau – a wild spot

A few hours later; Smith is seated by a tree, his head in his hands. Ralph and some artisans try to convince Smith of Catherine's innocence. Ralph agrees to meet Smith in a duel to decide her honour. Catherine now comes on the scene and Smith says he will allow himself to be killed to restore her honour to her.

2nd tableau – the main square in Perth

Mab comes to let Catherine know that the Duke intervened to prevent the duel between Smith and Ralph. However, Glover informs Mab that his daughter has lost her mind – Catherine appears and sings a distracted ballad. To shock her back to her senses, Mab decides to appear at her window and sing a reply to Smith's serenade. Catherine regains herself, swoons in the arms of Smith, and revives believing that it was all a dream, and all prepare for a joyous St Valentine's Day.

An orchestral suite of movements from the opera (sometimes titled 'Scènes bohémiennes') was published, with concert performances and later recordings.

The movements are Prélude (to Act 1), Sérénade (from "Viens, ma belle, je t’attends" for Smith in Act 2), Marche (from the opening of Act 2, "Bon citoyens"), and Danse bohémienne (Divertissement from Act 2).

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Georges Bizet - La jolie fille de Perth
Direction: Pierre Jourdan
octobre 1998
La Jolie Fille de Perth
de Georges Bizet
Opéra en 4 actes, version scénique
Livret de J. H. Vernoy de Saint-Georges et J. Adenis d'après le roman de W. Scott,
The Fair Maid of Perth.
Version nouvelle établie par P. Jourdan d'après les 3 versions de Georges Bizet.

Figurants: Caroline Bouet, lsabelle Bumod, Sylvie Charmille, Agnès Magnier,
lsabelle Malgat, Anne Regnier, Damien Bumod, Nicolas Flamini, Pierre
Vandendriessche, Olivier Latour
Bizet: La Jolie Fille de Perth - Serenade
Condcts and orchestration by Naoki Tokuoka
Bizet - L'Arlésienne Suite No. 1 & Suite No. 2 / Nathalie Stutzmann
Georges Bizet: L'Arlésienne Suite No. 1 & Suite No. 2 / Nathalie Stutzmann, conductor · Orquesta Sinfonica Valencia / Recorded at Palau de la Musica, Valencia, 12 December 2012.
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