Georges Bizet was raised in Paris in the mid-19th century, by a musical family who quickly encouraged his musical talents. As a student of the Paris Conservatoire at just 10 years old, Bizet was able to study with influential composers such as Charles Gounod, and quickly developed his skills in operatic composition. The fashions of Paris were not to Bizet's taste, and he later determined that he would study under the leading German composers of the time, including Robert and Clara Schumann, Carl Maria von Weber, and Felix Mendelssohn.
His first opera Le Docteur Miracle was composed in 1857, when Bizet was just 19 years old. Although it was not a particularly popular work, it began a career in operatic composition that would span two decades, and lead to perhaps the most famous opera in the whole operatic canon: Carmen.
In reaction to the grand opera movement, which saw huge sets and casts telling the stories of ancient history or kings and queens, many of Bizet's operas focused on real people and realistic situations. Because of this, Bizet is considered to be one of the leading composers of the verismo movement in opera at the end of the 19th century.
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