October 25, 1838: Alexandre-César-Léopold Bizet is born at rue de la Tour d’Auvergne, no.26 in the Ninth Arrondissement of Paris, Kingdom of France, the only child of Adolphe Armand Bizet, singing teacher, and Aimée Marie Louise Léopoldine Joséphine Delsarte, amateur pianist and daughter of an inventor. This child will be baptized Georges on 16 March 1840 but the name does not appear on the birth certificate.
October 9, 1848: Georges Bizet (9) competes in the examination for entrance to the Paris Conservatoire. He is accepted.
December 2, 1849: Georges Bizet (11) is awarded the First Prize in Solfège at the Paris Conservatoire.
November 16, 1851: Georges Bizet (13) is presented with the Second Prize in Piano at the Paris Conservatoire.
December 12, 1852: Georges Bizet (14) is presented with the First Prize in Piano at the Paris Conservatoire.
January 24, 1855: Grande valse de concert for piano by Georges Bizet (16) is performed for the first time, in Montmartre, Paris by the composer.
October 4, 1856: Georges Bizet’s (17) cantata David to words of d’Albano is performed for the first time, in Paris. It was his entry in this year’s Prix de Rome competition, for which no first prize was named.
December 29, 1856: A jury of eleven, including Daniel Auber (74), Ambroise Thomas (45), and Charles Gounod (38), announces the first prize in a composition competition sponsored by Jacques Offenbach (37) and the Bouffes-Parisiens. The prize will be shared by Georges Bizet (18) and Charles Lecocq. See 9 April 1857.
October 3, 1857: Georges Bizet’s (18) Prix de Rome-winning setting of the cantata Clovis et Clotilde to words of Burion is performed for the first time, in Paris on the night he is awarded the prize.
January 15, 1858: Le médecin malgré lui, an opéra comique by Charles Gounod (39) to words of Barbier and Carré after Moliére, is performed for the first time, at the Théâtre-Lyrique, Paris in celebration of Moliére’s birthday. “My work was very well received,” the composer writes to Georges Bizet (19).
January 27, 1858: Georges Bizet (19), in the company of other prize winners, reaches Rome to take up residence for his Prix de Rome year.
September 4, 1859: In the company of Ernest Guiraud on a tour of northern Italy, Georges Bizet (20) reaches Venice.
October 12, 1861: Two movements from an incomplete symphony by Georges Bizet (22) are performed for the first time at the Institute, Paris. They were part of Bizet’s submission to the Institute.
February 8, 1863: Georges Bizet’s (24) ode-symphony Vasco de Gama to words of Delâtre is performed for the first time, at the Société des Beaux Arts, conducted by the composer.
September 30, 1863: Les pêcheurs de perles, an opéra by Georges Bizet (24) to words of Carré and Cormon, is performed for the first time, at the Théâtre-Lyrique, Paris. The audience is enthusiastic but the critics are harsh.
December 28, 1865: Georges Bizet (27) has a bitter argument at the Théâtre-Lyrique with its director, Léon Carvalho. At its climax, they both threaten to kill each other.
March 16, 1866: The second (Le Départ) and sixth (Le Retour) of the Chants du Rhin, a song cycle by Georges Bizet (27) to words of Méry, are performed for the first time, in the Louvre, Paris, the composer at the keyboard.
December 26, 1867: La jolie fille de Perth, an opéra by Georges Bizet (29) to words of Saint Georges and Adénis after Scott, is performed for the first time, at the Théâtre-Lyrique, Paris. The work is afforded an excellent reception and the press begin to take Bizet seriously, but the production is a financial failure.
February 28, 1869: Three movements of Georges Bizet’s (30) Roma symphony are performed together for the first time, at the Cirque Napoléon (Cirque d'Hiver), Paris. It is moderately, though not universally, successful. See 12 October 1861 and 31 October 1880.
February 25, 1871: The Société National de Musique is founded in the Paris home of Henri Duparc by César Franck (48), Camille Saint-Saëns (35), Georges Bizet (32), Jules Massenet (28), Gabriel Fauré (25), Henri Duparc (23), Vincent d’Indy (19), and others. The concerts of the Society are to be limited to living French composers.
March 1, 1871: Franco-Prussian War: The Bordeaux Assembly agrees to preliminary peace terms. Accordingly, the German army enters Paris, protected from the crowds by the French National Guard, which includes Georges Bizet (32).
December 23, 1871: Ma vie a son secret for voice and piano by Georges Bizet (33) to words of Arvers is performed for the first time, for the Société Nationale de Musique, Paris, the composer at the keyboard. Also premiered by the composer is his Variations chromatiques for piano.
May 22, 1872: Djamileh, an opéra comique by Georges Bizet (33) to words of Gallet, is performed for the first time, at the Théâtre Favart, Paris. Bizet sits in the prompter’s box to make sure nothing goes wrong. Towards the end, he tells a friend, “It’s a complete flop.” It is not a flop, but neither is it a success. Later, the composer will say, “If you want to succeed today, you have to be dead, or German.”
November 10, 1872: The first suite from the incidental music to L’arlesienne by Georges Bizet (34) is performed for the first time, in the Cirque d’hiver, Paris. The music, unlike the play, proves a great success. See 1 October 1872.
November 16, 1872: Georges Bizet’s (34) operetta Sol-si-re-pif-pan to words of Busnach is performed for the first time, at the Chateau d’Eau, Paris.
April 9, 1873: Le Roi Candaule, a play by Halévy and Meilhac, is performed for the first time, in the Théâtre du Palais-Royal, Paris. It includes a song by Georges Bizet (34), “De ce gaillard entretien.”
February 15, 1874: Patrie overture by Georges Bizet (35) is performed for the first time, at the Cirque d’hiver, Paris to an appreciative audience.
January 15, 1875: Publisher Antoine de Choudens buys the score to Carmen from Georges Bizet (36) for FF25,000.
March 2, 1875: Georges Bizet (36) visits César Franck’s (52) organ class at the Paris Conservatoire and gives away two Carmen tickets. One recipient, Vincent d’Indy (23), later will remember that of the eight members of the class, no one recognized Bizet by sight. In fact, he has been auditing the class anonymously for some time. Lamenting the fact that he has only two tickets, Bizet remarks, “Unfortunately that is too few; but you know even the most beautiful girl in the world can give no more than she has.”
March 3, 1875: The announcement comes that Georges Bizet (36) is to be created a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor.
March 3, 1875: Carmen, an opéra comique by Georges Bizet (36) to words of Meilhac and Halévy after Mérimée, is performed for the first time, at the Théâtre Favart, Paris. Present are Ambroise Thomas (63), Charles Gounod (56), Léo Delibes (39), Jacques Offenbach (55), Jules Massenet (32) and Vincent d’Indy (23). The work is not a success but will produce a good reception on the second night. Reviews are mixed. Carmen will enjoy 48 performances but the hall will never be filled.
May 30, 1875: Georges Bizet (36) suffers an “acute rheumatic attack.” He is in great pain and his limbs are paralyzed.
June 1, 1875: A little after midnight, Georges Bizet (36) suffers a heart attack and is in great pain.
October 31, 1880: The Roma Symphony of Georges Bizet (†5) is performed completely for the first time, in Paris. See 28 February 1869.
December 12, 1880: Marche funèbre by Georges Bizet (†5) is performed for the first time, at the Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris.
March 27, 1881: Tarentelle for voice and piano by Georges Bizet (†5) is performed for the first time, in the Cirque d’hiver, Paris.
April 20, 1890: Enrique Granados (22) makes his official debut at Barcelona’s Teatre Líric, premiering Arabesca, selections from Danzas españolas, and Serenata española. He also plays music of Saint-Saëns (54), Bizet (†14), Mendelssohn (†42), Chopin (†40), Beethoven (†63), Mozart (†98), and Schubert (†61). The critics are enthusiastic about his compositions and his playing.
March 10, 1906: Don Procopio, an opera buffa by Georges Bizet (†30) to words of Cambiaggio, is performed for the first time, in Monaco, 47 years after it was composed.
February 26, 1935: Symphony in C by Georges Bizet (†59) is performed for the first time, in Basel 80 years after its composition.
October 26, 1938: An Overture in a minor by Georges Bizet (†63) is performed for the first time, at the Opéra-Comique, Paris approximately 83 years after its composition, one day after the 100th anniversary of the composer’s birth.
October 27, 1938: Three piano compositions by Georges Bizet (†63) are performed for the first time, in the Bibliothèque de l’Opéra, Paris during the centennial year of the composer’s birth: First Caprice original in c# minor, Grande Valse de concert in E flat, and Nocturne in F. Also premiered are the songs L’âme humaine est pareille au doux ciel to words of Lamartine, Le Colibri to words of Glan, and Voeu to words of Hugo.
September 13, 1946: Excerpts from Georges Bizet’s (†71) unperformed opera Ivan IV to words of Leroy and Trianon, are performed for the first time, in Mühringen, near Tübingen, with piano accompaniment.
October 12, 1951: The first attempt at a full production of Georges Bizet’s (†76) opera Ivan IV, to words of Leroy and Trianon, takes place in Bordeaux, 85 years after it was composed. The original opera is severely cut.
July 12, 1955: The BBC broadcasts excerpts from Georges Bizet’s (†80) unperformed opera La coupe du roi de Thulé, to words of Gallet and Blau, 86 years after it was composed. Only fragments of the work are extant.
May 16, 1971: Te Deum for two solo voices, chorus, and orchestra by Georges Bizet (†95) is performed for the first time, in Berlin, 113 years after it was composed during his Prix de Rome year.
February 23, 1989: La Maison du docteur, an opéra-comique by Georges Bizet (†113) to words of Boisseaux, is performed for the first time, at the University of Texas, Austin, 134 years after it was composed.