Sexual Fables

This article accompanies the fable
Life as Opera

Georges Bizet

Bizet married Geneviève Halévy in 1869 but the marriage was cut short when he died in 1875 from a heart attack at age 36, only three months after Carmen's opening. Geneviève is shown in the lower image.

Georges Bizet

This painting of Geneviève is by Jules-Élie Delaunay from 1876 or 1878, where she is shown (I assume) in mourning clothes. It is one of my favorite paintings, quietly tucked away in the Musée d'Orsay.


Their son, Jacques, was three when his father died. During his high school years in the 1880s, Jacques was a friend of Marcel Proust who propositioned Bizet to have sex with him. Tactfully, Bizet declined. Proust's mother was horrified at the general turn of events nonetheless and banned them from seeing each other. Bizet's mother, on the other hand, would become inspiration for Proust's duchesse de Guermantes in À la recherche du temps perdu. Life as opera...

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