Rupert Christiansen

The Pearl of Paris

Bizet

By

Oxford University Press 288pp £22.99 order from our bookshop

Three opera composers of the highest class died before they were forty. Mozart’s oeuvre is so rich in variety and accomplished in technique that one could not wish for more: his achievement seems miraculously complete. But Bellini and Bizet each left only one outright masterpiece – Norma and Carmen respectively – alongside a pile of works that are immature, fragmentary or compromised. Listening to their music and reflecting on their truncated lives is tantalising and frustrating; one can only speculate that another decade would have allowed them to progress much further and perhaps change the course of the art form.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • He has 'raised his country’s international influence to unprecedented heights, while at the same time jailing hundr… ,
    • 'It is one of those nice linguistic ironies that English should have attempted to make sex respectable by clothing… ,
    • 'He was to my mind the father of the idea that journalism – yes, even journalism – can have a moral dimension to it… ,
    • RT : Feeling old, as exhumes a piece I wrote 37 years ago. But a joy to see Kathy O’S there too. Here’s why:… ,
    • 'Enough of his character remains just out of reach for Barnes to relish the challenge of imagining him.' Patrick M… ,
    • RT : I did a thing about the new Penguin Book Of Oulipo for this month’s Literary Review: @Lit_Review,
    • 'Moore’s work has been so influential that the former ministers who provided him with much of his information now r… ,