Welcome to Hyperion Records, an independent British classical label devoted to presenting high-quality recordings of music of all styles and from all periods from the twelfth century to the twenty-first.

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Georges Bizet

born: 25 October 1838
died: 3 June 1875
country: France

Bizet's first work was a symphony, written when he was 17 and immediately popular. But he is far better known for his operas, particularly Carmen. Carmen was not initially well-received but praise for it eventually came from well-known contemporaries including Claude Debussy, Camille Saint-Saëns and Pyotr Tchaikovsky. Bizet did not live to see its success, as he died from angina at the age of 36 a few months after its first few performances, on his third wedding anniversary. He was buried in the Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris.

Bizet's music has been used in the twentieth century as the basis for several important ballets. The Soviet-era "Carmen Suite" (1967), set to music drawn from Carmen arranged by Rodion Shchedrin, gave the Bolshoi ballerina Maya Plisetskaya one of her signature roles; it was choreographed by Alberto Alonso. In the West the "L'Arlesienne" of Roland Petit is well-regarded, and the "Symphony in C" by George Balanchine is considered to be one of the great ballets of the twentieth century. It was first presented as Le Palais de Crystal by the Paris Opera Ballet in 1947, and has been in the repertory there ever since. The ballet has no story; it simply fits the music: each movement of the symphony has its own ballerina, cavalier, and Corps de Ballet, all of whom dance together in the finale.

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