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Paul Plishka

Biography

Born: August 28, 1941; Old Forge, PA  
Paul Plishka is a notable American bass singer, known for a wide range of major and supporting roles. Both his parents were American-born children of Ukrainian immigrants. As a boy, he was interested in farming and football, but also took guitar lessons. His teacher insisted that he learn to sing while playing, so he would sing popular songs such as Love is a Many-Splendored Thing. When his father moved to a new job in Paterson, New Jersey, Paul, Read more joined the school chorus. Soon, he was offered the part of Judd Fry in the school production of Oklahoma! He was spotted by Armen Boyajian, who was starting a local opera workshop. Plishka joined Boyajian's Paterson Lyric Opera Theatre.

Paul sang major roles -- Raimondo in Ludia di Lamermoor, Guardiano in La Forza del Destino, and King Philip in Don Carlos -- when he was only 21. Meanwhile, Boyajian taught him singing. Plishka was his first student, and Boyajian was Plishka's only teacher.

Plishka attended Montclair State College in New Jersey, where he met his future wife, Judy. At the age of 23, he won the Baltimore Opera Auditions, and then won a prize in the Metropolitan Opera Regional Auditions. This earned him a contract with the national touring company of the Met during what turned out to be its final year. After that, they offered him a contract to be a cover (understudy) singer in buffo parts. Plishka accepted the offer, becoming a member of the company in 1966 and debuting on-stage as the Monk in La Gioconda in 1967, followed by "all these real ham, basso-buffo roles" (Plishka's description), parts such as the Sacristan in Tosca and Benoit in La Bohème.

As a member of the Met company, he earned a reputation as a "house singer," a term which, when the house is of the caliber of the Met, is respectable, but which also carries an implication that the singer somehow lacks some ingredient required for stardom. He was reliable; he did 118 performances in his second season, with Boyajian listening carefully to all of them and making needed corrections at any sign of strain from this heavy schedule. The roles were generally small ones, but each season Plishka got opportunities the next season to sing roles of increasing importance and depth, so he remained attached to the Met. The roles he was singing included King Marke in Tristan, Oroveso in Norma, and both Pimen and Varlaam in Boris Godunov. Eventually, he got to sing more important parts, like Leporello in Don Giovanni and King Philip.

After several years, he began appearing widely in other houses, taking major parts. He debuted as Mephistofeles in Berlioz's Damnation de Faust in Strasbourg in 1974, and began getting the more important bass parts. The Met, in turn, graduated him from Pimen and Varlaam to the part of Tsar Boris in 1983. His singing and physical acting (including a daring fall) electrified the audience.

He has sung in almost all the major bass parts in several leading opera theaters. In his 25th season with the Met, the house honored him by casting him in many of the major Verdi bass parts, including his first appearance as Falstaff.

Plishka is also a renowned concert singer, and has sung with many leading symphony orchestras and conductors. He remains with the Met, where he has sung over 1,000 performances, and frequently appears in other leading houses in the United States and Europe. He has been inducted into the Hall of Fame for Great American Opera Singers. Read less
Browse 1-25 of 57 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Seiji Ozawa - The Philips Years: Original Jacket Collection [50-CD Set]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002185602 Release Date: 11/18/2014   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Béla Bartók,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Hector Berlioz  ... 
    Performer:  Mariko Kobayashi,  Everett Firth,  Hiroshi Arimori,  Sawako Yasue  ... 
    Conductor:  Seiji Ozawa
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra,  Saito Kinen Orchestra,  Ambrosian Singers  ... 
    Recommendation
    On sale! $179.98
    CD: $163.99
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  • 2.
    The Early Domingo
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 975792 Release Date: 08/26/2014   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Jacques Halévy  ... 
    Performer:  Placido Domingo,  Georgetta Psaros,  John McCaw,  Franklyn Whiteley  ... 
    Conductor:  Edward Downes,  Nello Santi,  Sherrill Milnes,  James Levine  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  John Alldis Choir  ... 
    CD: $14.99
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  • 3.
    Domingo at the Met [Anniversary Edition]
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 303160 Release Date: 05/06/2014   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Amilcare Ponchielli,  Pietro Mascagni  ... 
    Performer:  Placido [Tenor Vocals] Domingo,  Allan Glassman,  Paul Plishka,  David [Tenor Vocal] Hamilton  ... 
    Conductor:  James Levine,  Yannick Nézet-Séguin,  Giuseppe Patané,  Giuseppe Sinopoli  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
    CD: $18.99
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  • 4.
    Mozart: Le Nozze Di Figaro [highlights]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002009102 Release Date: 03/11/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Ferruccio Furlanetto,  Dawn Upshaw,  Paul Plishka,  Tatiana Troyanos  ... 
    Conductor:  James Levine
    CD: $8.99
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  • 5.
    Domingo - The Verdi Opera Collection
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 372279 Release Date: 01/07/2014   Number of Discs: 15
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Leontyne Price,  Bruce Brewer,  Edith Mathis,  Hans Sotin  ... 
    Conductor:  Erich Leinsdorf,  James Levine,  Zubin Mehta
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  John Alldis Choir,  London Symphony Orchestra,  National Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 6.
    Puccini: Turandot / Lombard, Caballe, Freni, Carreras, Plishka
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 390052 Release Date: 03/26/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Montserrat Caballé,  José Carreras,  Vincente Sardinero,  Rémy Corazza  ... 
    Conductor:  Alain Lombard
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Strasbourg Philharmonic Orchestra,  Rhine Opera Chorus,  Maîtrise de la Cathédrale de Strasbourg
    CD: $17.99
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  • 7.
    Verdi: The Great Operas [35-CDs]
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 167452 Release Date: 01/22/2013   Number of Discs: 35
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Anne Edwards,  Matteo Manuguerra,  Nicolai Ghiaurov,  Renata Scotto  ... 
    Conductor:  Riccardo Muti,  James Levine,  Tullio Serafin,  Antonio Pappano  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ambrosian Opera Chorus,  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus  ... 
    CD: $88.99
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  • 8.
    Label: Avalon Records   Catalog: 60286 Release Date: 01/01/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Traditional,  Charles Gounod,  Lewis H. Redner,  James R. Murray  ... 
    Performer:  Sara Macliver,  Jonathan Prentice,  Margaret Burdett,  Lynton Atkinson  ... 
    Conductor:  Alfred Walter,  Richard Hayman,  Igor Golovschin,  Jaroslav Krcek  ... 
    On sale! $17.98
    CD: $15.99
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  • 9.
    Mussorgsky: Boris Godunov / Raimondi, Rostropovich
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 80173 Release Date: 01/25/2011   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Modest Mussorgsky
    Performer:  Vyacheslav Polozov,  Romuald Tesarowicz,  Nicolai Gedda,  Ruggero Raimondi  ... 
    Conductor:  Mstislav Rostropovich
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Symphony, Washington, D. C.,  Washington Choral Arts Society,  Washington Oratorio Society  ... 
    CD: $34.99
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  • 10.
    Puccini: La Boheme Highlights / Reaux, Hadley, Bernstein
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 427357 Release Date: 01/13/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Paul Plishka,  Thomas Hampson,  Jerry Hadley,  Angelina Réaux  ... 
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra,  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Chorus
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 11.
    James Levine - Celebrating 40 Years At The Met  [21 DVD Box Set]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 1135701355 Release Date: 12/07/2010   Number of Discs: 21
    Composer:  Alban Berg,  John Corigliano,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Giacomo Puccini  ... 
    Performer:  Franz Mazura,  Julia Migenes,  Evelyn Lear,  Kenneth Riegel  ... 
    Conductor:  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra,  Metropolitan Opera Chorus
    Recommendation
    DVD: $299.99
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  • 12.
    Best Verdi 100
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 40878 Release Date: 06/08/2010   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Richard Van Allan,  Keith Erwen,  Delia Wallis,  Ferruccio Mazzoli  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan,  Tullio Serafin,  Riccardo Muti,  Sir Charles Mackerras  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  New Philharmonia Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $21.99
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  • 13.
    Best Verdi 100
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 40878 Release Date: 06/08/2010   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Placido [Tenor Vocals] Domingo,  Rolando Villazón,  Renato Bruson,  Nicolai Gedda  ... 
    Conductor:  Riccardo Muti,  Marcello Viotti,  Giuseppe Patané,  Julius Rudel  ... 
    CD: $19.99
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  • 14.
    Bellini: Norma / James Levine, Beverly Sills, Shirley Verrett, Enrico Di Giuseppe, Paul Plishka, Et Al
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001314402 Release Date: 07/21/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Vincenzo Bellini
    Performer:  Beverly Sills,  Paul Plishka,  Shirley Verrett,  Enrico Di Giuseppe
    Conductor:  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmonia Orchestra,  John Alldis Choir
    On sale! $29.98
    CD: $26.99
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  • 15.
    Brilliant Opera Collection - Donizetti: Anna Bolena / Rudel, Sills, Plishka, Et Al
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 93924 Release Date: 06/30/2009   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Gaetano Donizetti
    Performer:  Robert Tear,  Paul Plishka,  Robert Lloyd,  Stuart Burrows  ... 
    Conductor:  Julius Rudel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  John Alldis Choir
    Recommendation
    CD: $17.99
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  • 16.
    Verdi: Falstaff / Levine, Bonney, Freni, Horne
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001295209 Release Date: 06/30/2009  
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Susan Graham,  Bruno Pola,  Marilyn Horne,  Mirella Freni  ... 
    Conductor:  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Chorus,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
    DVD: $29.99
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  • 17.
    Metropolitan Opera Live in HD - Puccini: La Bohème
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 17417 Release Date: 09/16/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Oren Gradus,  Ludovic Tézier,  Ramón Vargas,  Quinn Kelsey  ... 
    Conductor:  Nicola Luisotti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra,  Metropolitan Opera Chorus
    Recommendation
    DVD: $24.99
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  • 18.
    Metropolitan Opera Live in HD - Puccini: Manon Lescaut
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 17420 Release Date: 09/16/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Sasha Cooke,  Sean Panikkar,  Ellen Rabiner,  Paul Plishka  ... 
    Conductor:  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Chorus,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
    DVD: $24.99
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  • 19.
    Icon - Mirella Freni - The Opera Singer
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 06253 Release Date: 09/02/2008   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Giacomo Puccini,  Pietro Mascagni,  Gustave Charpentier  ... 
    Performer:  Agnes Baltsa,  Mirella Freni,  José Carreras,  Katia Ricciarelli  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan,  Franco Ferraris,  Alain Lombard,  Leone Magiera  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Rome Opera House Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    Recommendation
    CD: $27.49
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  • 20.
    Verdi: Simon Boccanegra / Milnes, Tomowa-Sintow
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001099509 Release Date: 05/13/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Anna Tomowa-Sintow,  Sherrill Milnes,  Paul Plishka,  Vasile Moldoveanu
    Conductor:  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra,  Metropolitan Opera Chorus
    DVD: $29.99
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  • 21.
    Pavarotti - The Italian Opera Collection
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001086409 Release Date: 04/08/2008   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Giacomo Puccini,  Gaetano Donizetti
    Performer:  Juan Pons,  Teresa Stratas,  Luciano Pavarotti,  Placido Domingo  ... 
    Conductor:  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra,  Metropolitan Opera Chorus
    DVD: $39.99
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  • 22.
    Puccini: Turandot / Lombard, Caballe, Freni, Carreras
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 09173 Release Date: 02/26/2008   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Montserrat Caballé,  José Carreras,  Vincente Sardinero,  Rémy Corazza  ... 
    Conductor:  Alain Lombard
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Strasbourg Philharmonic Orchestra,  Maîtrise de la Cathédrale de Strasbourg,  Rhine Opera Chorus
    Recommendation
    On sale! $23.99
    CD: $21.99
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  • 23.
    Berlioz: Les Troyens / Levine, Norman, Domingo, Troyanos
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 000916609 Release Date: 08/14/2007  
    Composer:  Hector Berlioz
    Performer:  Allan Monk,  Tatiana Troyanos,  Placido Domingo,  Jessye Norman  ... 
    Conductor:  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra,  Metropolitan Opera Chorus
    Recommendation
    DVD: $39.99
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  • 24.
    Verdi: Stiffelio / Levine, Domingo, Sweet, Plishka
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 000871709 Release Date: 07/10/2007  
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Vladimir Chernov,  Sharon Sweet,  Paul Plishka,  Placido Domingo
    Conductor:  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Chorus
    Recommendation
    DVD: $29.99
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  • 25.
    Beverly Sills And Friends
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 000733002 Release Date: 10/10/2006   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Douglas Moore,  Antonio Caldara,  Jacques Offenbach,  Gaetano Donizetti  ... 
    Performer:  Walter Cassel,  Frances Bible,  Beverly Sills,  Charles Wadsworth  ... 
    Conductor:  Emerson Buckley,  Julius Rudel,  Aldo Ceccato,  Sir Charles Mackerras  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York City Opera Orchestra,  Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center,  London Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    Recommendation
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    MP3:  $11.99 Add MP3 to Cart

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