Michel Plasson

Biography

Born: October 2, 1933; Paris, France  
Michel Plasson is one of the most important French conductors from the later twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. He is well known for his interpretations of French opera, particularly those of Gounod and Massenet. He has also received praise for his work in the choral music of Duruflé and Fauré, and the orchestral works of Magnard, Ravel, and other French composers. He has not, however, limited himself to the French repertory, having Read more conducted (and recorded) the Rachmaninov piano concertos with soloist Jean-Philippe Collard, the Brahms Schicksalslied, and works by Wagner and Verdi.

Plasson was born into a family of musicians. He showed unusual talent on piano as a child and took lessons from Lazare Lévy. He later enrolled at the Paris Conservatory, where he studied composition and percussion. In 1962, he received first prize in conducting at Besançon, then, at the suggestion of Charles Münch, traveled to the United States to study conducting for the next several years with Erich Leinsdorf, Pierre Monteux, and Leopold Stokowski.

Plasson's first major appointment came in 1966 when he was engaged to become musical director at Metz, a post he held for two years. In 1968, he accepted the dual conducting assignments of director of the orchestra and of the Théâtre du Capitole de Toulouse. In 1974, Plasson initiated a refurbishing effort on the Halle aux Grains, increasing its seating capacity to 3,000; upon completion of the project in 1977, he moved his orchestral operations there. Fidelio was the first important opera he conducted in the new hall. In 1979, he debuted at Covent Garden to critical acclaim and by the early 1980s had developed a concert schedule laden with so many guest appearances that in 1983 he had to resign his post as director of the Théâtre du Capitole de Toulouse, although he retained the orchestral directorship there. This move in no way signaled a reduced focus on opera by Plasson: in 1985, for example, he performed Puccini's Turandot to great acclaim and the following year, the Verdi Requiem, which he went on to record for EMI with his Toulouse ensemble and a quartet of soloists led by Julia Varady. In 1987, Plasson took on another conducting post, that of principal guest conductor of the Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra. Then in 1994, he accepted the position as music director of the Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra, which he concurrently held with his music directorship in Toulouse. All through the 1990s, his recording activity remained intense, especially in his Massenet series of operas. In 1999, he left the Dresden Philharmonic, but retained his long-held French post. Up until his retirement In 2003, Plasson made numerous guest conducting appearances with various European and American orchestras, in addition to conducting at the world's most prominent opera houses, including the Met, the Chicago Lyric Opera, Covent Garden, and many others. Plasson has made about 50 recordings for EMI and a fair number for other labels as well. With his retirement, Plasson finally relinquished his long held post as music director of the Orchestre Capitole de Toulouse, but remains its Honorary Conductor. Read less
Browse 1-25 of 131 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    100 Best Choruses
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 548471 Release Date: 07/31/2020   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Henry Purcell  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Charles Mackerras,  Sir Neville Marriner,  Wolfgang Gönnenwein,  David Munrow  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra,  Ambrosian Singers,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields  ... 
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  • 2.
    100 Best Tchaikovsky
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 548467 Release Date: 07/31/2020   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Mikhail Pletnev,  Vladimir Spivakov,  Peter Donohoe,  Paul Tortelier  ... 
    Conductor:  Vladimir Fedoseyev,  Seiji Ozawa,  Rudolf Barshai,  Yan Pascal Tortelier  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra,  Northern Sinfonia  ... 
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  • 3.
    50 Best Opera Classics
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 548163 Release Date: 07/31/2020   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Gioachino Rossini,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Vincenzo Bellini  ... 
    Performer:  Teresa Berganza,  Heather Harper,  Thomas Allen,  Elisabeth Gale  ... 
    Conductor:  Daniel Barenboim,  Bernard Haitink,  Wolfgang Sawallisch,  Karl Böhm  ... 
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  • 4.
    Albert Roussel Edition
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 548916 Release Date: 07/31/2020   Number of Discs: 11
    Composer:  Albert Roussel
    Performer:  Jean Doyen,  Turibio Santos,  Lily Laskine,  Jonathan Snowden  ... 
    Conductor:  Jean-Pierre Jacquillat,  Michel Plasson,  Charles Dutoit,  Jean Martinon  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Trio à cordes de Paris,  Quatuor Via Nova,  Paris Orchestra  ... 
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  • 5.
    Berlioz: Complete Works
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 585940 Release Date: 02/01/2019   Number of Discs: 27
    Composer:  Hector Berlioz,  Claude-J Rouget de Lisle,  Carl Maria von Weber,  Jean Paul Egide Martini  ... 
    Performer:  Nicolai Gedda,  Charles Burles,  Marie-Claire Jamet,  Donald McInnes  ... 
    Conductor:  Roger Norrington,  Sir Adrian Boult,  Mariss Jansons,  André Previn  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Classical Players,  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra  ... 
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  • 6.
    Faure: Piano Works; Chamber Music; Orchestral & Choral Works; Requiem
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 573653 Release Date: 08/24/2018   Number of Discs: 12
    Composer:  Gabriel Fauré
    Performer:  Jean-Philippe Collard,  Bruno Rigutto,  Augustin Dumay,  Frédéric Lodéon  ... 
    Conductor:  Michel Plasson
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Parrenin String Quartet,  Toulouse Capitole Orchestra,  Alix Bourbon Vocal Ensemble  ... 
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  • 7.
    Mendelssohn: The Dream - Franck: Symphonic Variations - Liszt: Marguerite and Armand / Plasson, Royal Opera House
    Label: Opus Arte   Catalog: 1264 Release Date: 08/24/2018   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Various
    Conductor:  Michel Plasson
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Orchestra
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  • 8.
    Mendelssohn: The Dream - Franck: Symphonic Variations - Liszt: Marguerite and Armand / Plasson, Royal Opera House [Blu-ray]
    Label: Opus Arte   Catalog: 7240 Release Date: 08/24/2018   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Various
    Conductor:  Michel Plasson
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Orchestra
    Blu-ray Video: $39.99
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  • 9.
    The Gounod Edition
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 571553 Release Date: 06/08/2018   Number of Discs: 15
    Composer:  Charles Gounod
    Performer:  Placido Domingo,  Nicolai Ghiaurov,  Mirella Freni,  Michèle Command  ... 
    Conductor:  Georges Prêtre,  Michel Plasson,  Jean-Claude Hartemann,  Michel Corboz
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Paris Opera Chorus,  Paris Opera Orchestra,  Toulouse Capitole Orchestra  ... 
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  • 10.
    Debussy: The Complete Works
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 565660 Release Date: 01/05/2018   Number of Discs: 33
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Robert Schumann,  Joachim Raff,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ... 
    Performer:  Aldo Ciccolini,  Cécile Ousset,  Michel Béroff,  Samson François  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner,  François-Xavier Roth,  Armin Jordan,  Jean Martinon  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Quatuor Ebène,  Nash Ensemble,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields  ... 
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  • 11.
    Liszt: The Great Piano Works
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 95564 Release Date: 09/22/2017   Number of Discs: 15
    Composer:  Franz Liszt
    Performer:  Vincenzo Maltempo,  Enrico Pace,  Philipp Kopachevsky,  Mariangela Vacatello  ... 
    Conductor:  Michel Plasson
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 12.
    Gounod: Mors et Vita / Plasson, Hendricks, van Dam, Toulouse
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 559445 Release Date: 02/10/2017   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Charles Gounod
    Performer:  Nadine Denize,  John Aler,  José van Dam,  Barbara Hendricks
    Conductor:  Michel Plasson
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Toulouse Capitole Orchestra,  Orféon Donostiarra
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  • 13.
    Chopin: Piano Works / Duchable
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 556700 Release Date: 08/26/2016   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin
    Performer:  Francois-René Duchable
    Conductor:  Michel Plasson
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Toulouse Capitole Orchestra
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  • 14.
    20 Most Beautiful Classical Pieces
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 556102 Release Date: 06/17/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Antonio Vivaldi  ... 
    Performer:  Christian Zacharias,  David Fray,  Fabio Biondi,  Natalie Dessay  ... 
    Conductor:  David Zinman,  André Cluytens,  Riccardo Muti,  Mariss Jansons  ... 
    CD: $8.99
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  • 15.
    Un siecle de musique francaise (A Century of French Music)
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 88875192862 Release Date: 05/13/2016   Number of Discs: 25
    Composer:  Pierre Boulez,  Claude Debussy,  Erik Satie,  Olivier Messiaen  ... 
    Performer:  Yvonne Minton,  Gervase de Peyer,  Michel Dalberto,  Daniel Varsano  ... 
    Conductor:  Pierre Boulez,  Charles Munch,  Seiji Ozawa,  Richard Marlow  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Musique Vivante,  New Philharmonia Orchestra,  Cleveland Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $39.99
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  • 16.
    Un Siecle de Musique Francaise: Camille Saint-Saens
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 88875192892 Release Date: 05/13/2016   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Camille Saint-Saëns
    Performer:  Philippe Entremont,  Berj Zamkochian,  Bernard Zhigera,  Leo Litwin  ... 
    Conductor:  Michel Plasson,  Charles Munch,  Arthur Fiedler,  Eugene Ormandy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Toulouse Capitole Orchestra,  Boston Symphony Orchestra,  Boston Pops  ... 
    CD: $9.99
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  • 17.
    The Sound of Erik Satie
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 555263 Release Date: 05/06/2016   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Erik Satie
    Performer:  Aldo Ciccolini,  Michel Legrand,  Alexandre Tharaud,  Anne Queffélec  ... 
    Conductor:  Marius Constant,  Louis Auriacombe,  Pierre Dervaux,  Michel Plasson
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  • 18.
    Tout Satie!: Erik Satie Complete Edition
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 553008 Release Date: 11/13/2015   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Erik Satie
    Performer:  Anne Queffélec,  Gabriel Tacchino,  Aldo Ciccolini,  Jean-Pierre Armengaud  ... 
    Conductor:  Marius Constant,  Michel Plasson,  Pierre Dervaux
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Ars Nova (Sweden)
    On sale! $34.98
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  • 19.
    Jonas Kaufmann - Carmen, Tosca, Faust, Werther
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002359909 Release Date: 08/28/2015   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Charles Gounod,  Jules Massenet,  Georges Bizet
    Performer:  Thomas Hampson,  Jonas Kaufmann,  Emily Magee,  Marina Poplavskaya  ... 
    Conductor:  Paolo Carignani,  Yannick Nézet-Séguin,  Michel Plasson,  Franz Welser-Möst
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Zurich Opera House Orchestra,  Zurich Opera House Chorus,  Metropolitan Opera Chorus  ... 
    DVD: $49.99
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  • 20.
    Jonas Kaufmann: Carmen - Tosca - Faust - Werther
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002360059 Release Date: 08/28/2015   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Charles Gounod,  Jules Massenet,  Georges Bizet
    Performer:  Thomas Hampson,  Jonas Kaufmann,  Emily Magee,  Marina Poplavskaya  ... 
    Conductor:  Paolo Carignani,  Yannick Nézet-Séguin,  Michel Plasson,  Franz Welser-Möst
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Zurich Opera House Orchestra,  Zurich Opera House Chorus,  Metropolitan Opera Chorus  ... 
    Blu-ray Video: $92.49
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  • 21.
    Angela Gheorgiu - Autograph
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 2564619047 Release Date: 04/14/2015   Number of Discs: 9
    Composer:  Georges Bizet,  Alfredo Catalani,  Luigi Cherubini,  Francesco Cilèa  ... 
    Performer:  Angela Gheorghiu,  Roberto Alagna,  Inva Mula-Tchako,  Jacques Deleplancque  ... 
    Conductor:  Michel Plasson,  Marco Armiliato,  Ion Marin,  Antonio Pappano  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Toulouse Capitole Orchestra,  Les Elements Chamber Choir,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $27.49
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  • 22.
    Autograph – Jose van Dam
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 2564619049 Release Date: 03/10/2015   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Jacques Offenbach,  Hector Berlioz,  Jacques Ibert,  Gabriel Fauré  ... 
    Performer:  José van Dam,  Rosalind Plowright,  Jean-Philippe Collard,  Dalton Baldwin  ... 
    Conductor:  Sylvain Cambreling,  Kent Nagano,  Michel Plasson,  Herbert von Karajan  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Brussels Théâtre de la Monnaie Orchestra,  Lyon Opera Orchestra,  Toulouse Capitole Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $39.99
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  • 23.
    Dark Hours: Mystic Moments Of Classical Music
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 300613 Release Date: 01/27/2015   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Gustav Mahler,  Franz Schubert,  Sergei Prokofiev  ... 
    Performer:  Siegfried Lorenz,  Elka Mitzewa,  Cécile Ousset,  Peter-Jürgen Schmidt  ... 
    Conductor:  Helmut Koch,  Otmar Suitner,  Norman Shetler,  Witold Rowicki  ... 
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  • 24.
    Natalie Dessay: De l'opera a la chanson
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 363956 Release Date: 01/13/2015   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Léo Delibes,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Ambroise Thomas,  Vincenzo Bellini  ... 
    Performer:  Natalie Dessay,  Roberto Alagna,  Franck Ferrari,  Matthew Rose  ... 
    Conductor:  Michael Schoenwandt,  Michel Plasson,  Evelino Pidò,  Louis Langrée  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Arts Florissants,  Le Concert d'Astrée
    CD: $27.99
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  • 25.
    Bravo! Villazon - The Recitals [4-CD Set]
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 623618 Release Date: 10/28/2014   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Jacques Offenbach,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Friedrich von Flotow  ... 
    Performer:  Rolando Villazón,  Florian Laconi,  Theresa Blank
    Conductor:  Michel Plasson,  Marcello Viotti,  Placido Domingo,  Evelino Pidò
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Madrid Community Orchestra,  ORTF Philharmonic Orchestra
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