Georges Bizet (zhôrzh bēzā´), 1838–75, French operatic composer. The son of professional musicians, he entered the Paris Conservatory at the age of nine and won the Prix de Rome in 1857. He was a gifted pianist and composed instrumental music in his teens. Bizet is celebrated for his opera Carmen (1875), based on a story by Mérimée. One of the most popular operas ever written, Carmen has music that is lush, melodic, and brilliantly orchestrated. It unfolds a story of love, hate, jealousy, and murder, set in the exotic world of Spanish Gypsies and bullfighters. Bizet's other works include the operas The Pearlfishers (1863), The Fair Maid of Perth (1867), and Djamileh (1872); Symphony in C Major (1855); and incidental music to Daudet's L'Arlésienne, in the form of two orchestral suites.
See biographies by W. Dean (1950) and M. Curtiss (1958, repr. 1974).