Michel Plasson


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 159 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    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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  • 2.
    Brahms: Complete Edition
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 94860 Release Date: 04/29/2014   Number of Discs: 58
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Daniel Barenboim,  Cécile Ousset,  Yehudi Menuhin,  Emmy Verhey  ... 
    Conductor:  Jaap Van Zweden,  Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos,  Günther Herbig,  Heinz Bongartz  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra,  Radio Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 3.
    Massenet: Werther / Plasson, Kaufmann, Koch, Tezier, Paris Opera [blu-ray]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002014859 Release Date: 02/25/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jules Massenet
    Performer:  Sophie Koch,  Ludovic Tézier,  Jonas Kaufmann,  Anne-Catherine Gillet
    Conductor:  Michel Plasson
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Paris Opera Children's Chorus,  Paris National Opera Orchestra
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  • 4.
    Liszt: The Piano Concertos, Hungarian Rhapsodies / Freire, Pizarro
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 300540 Release Date: 10/08/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Franz Liszt
    Performer:  Nelson Freire,  Artur Pizarro
    Conductor:  Michel Plasson
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 5.
    Voices of French Opera [5-CD Set]
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 280462 Release Date: 07/16/2013   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Jean-Baptiste Lully,  Jean-Philippe Rameau,  Christoph W. Gluck,  André Modeste Grétry  ... 
    Performer:  Véronique Gens,  Miguel Villabella,  Solange Petit-Renaux,  Patricia Petibon  ... 
    Conductor:  Christophe Rousset,  Maurice Cauchie,  John Eliot Gardiner,  Henri Tomasi  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Talens Lyriques,  Les Folies Françoises,  Monteverdi Choir  ... 
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  • 6.
    Xia Guan: Earth Requiem / Plasson, China National Symphony Orchestra
    Label: Virgin Classics   Catalog: 34119 Release Date: 07/02/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Guan Xia
    Performer:  Sun Li,  Liu Shan,  Jin Yongzhe,  Yao Hong  ... 
    Conductor:  Michel Plasson
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  China National Symphony Orchestra,  China National Symphony Chorus
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  • 7.
    Label: Gala   Catalog: 7704427 Release Date: 05/24/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Charles Gounod,  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Gerard Serkoyan,  Gilbert Py,  Suzanne Sarroca,  Mireille Martin  ... 
    Conductor:  Michel Plasson,  Pierre-Michel Lecomte
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  • 8.
    Bizet: Carmen / Plasson, Gheorghiu, Alagna, Mula, Hampson
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 359402 Release Date: 03/26/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Georges Bizet
    Performer:  Angela Gheorghiu,  Roberto Alagna,  Inva Mula-Tchako,  Thomas Hampson  ... 
    Conductor:  Michel Plasson
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Toulouse Capitole Orchestra,  Les Elements Chamber Choir,  La Lauzeta
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  • 9.
    100 Best Organ Classics
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 332452 Release Date: 02/26/2013   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Jeremiah Clarke,  Dietrich Buxtehude,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  Nicolas Kynaston,  Nicholas Kynaston,  Noel Rawsthorne,  Lionel Rogg  ... 
    Conductor:  Michel Plasson,  Yehudi Menuhin,  Georges Prêtre
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Toulouse Capitole Orchestra,  Menuhin Festival Orchestra,  Orchestre de la Société des Concerts du Conservato  ... 
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  • 10.
    50 Best Organ Classics
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 333162 Release Date: 02/26/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Dietrich Buxtehude,  Louis-Claude Daquin,  Louis-Nicolas Clérambault,  François Couperin  ... 
    Performer:  Lionel Rogg,  Noel Rawsthorne,  Marie-Madeleine Duruflé-Chevalier,  Maurice Duruflé  ... 
    Conductor:  Yehudi Menuhin,  Steuart Bedford,  Michel Plasson
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  • 11.
    50 Best Sensual Classics
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 333022 Release Date: 02/26/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  James Horner,  Pietro Mascagni,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Nino Rota  ... 
    Performer:  Jean-Bernard Pommier,  Cécile Ousset,  Mikhail Rudy,  Natasha Marsh  ... 
    Conductor:  Mariss Jansons,  Lawrence Foster,  Simon Rattle,  François-Xavier Roth  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Cellists,  Ahn Trio,  Virtuosi
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  • 12.
    La Folie Francaise [4-CD Set]
    Label: Virgin Classics   Catalog: 356292 Release Date: 02/26/2013   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Georges Bizet,  Charles Valentin Alkan,  César Franck,  Camille Saint-Saëns  ... 
    Performer:  Barbara Hendricks,  David Fray,  Maggie Cole,  Philippe Dervaux  ... 
    Conductor:  Richard Hickox,  Michel Plasson,  Jean-Bernard Pommier
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Quatuor Ebène
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  • 13.
    Vive Offenbach!
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 353042 Release Date: 02/12/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jacques Offenbach
    Performer:  Jane Rhodes
    Conductor:  Michel Plasson,  Roberto Benzi,  Louis Frémaux
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  • 14.
    Essential Opera Divas
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 234522 Release Date: 01/22/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Christoph W. Gluck,  Richard Wagner  ... 
    Performer:  Arleen Augér,  Patrizia Ciofi,  Véronique Gens,  Jessye Norman  ... 
    Conductor:  Richard Hickox,  Fabio Biondi,  Christophe Rousset,  Klaus Tennstedt  ... 
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  • 15.
    Rolando Villazon Sings Verdi
    Label: Virgin Classics   Catalog: 357112 Release Date: 01/22/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Rolando Villazón
    Conductor:  Marcello Viotti,  Michel Plasson,  Antonio Pappano
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra
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  • 16.
    A Year With Jesus
    Label: Virgin Classics   Catalog: 2667 Release Date: 01/08/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Francis Poulenc,  Gustav Holst  ... 
    Performer:  Michael Chance,  Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau,  Jacques Neilz,  Robert Veyron-Lacroix  ... 
    Conductor:  Andrew Parrott,  Philippe Herreweghe,  Harry Christophers,  David Hill  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Taverner Choir,  The Sixteen,  Seminario Musicale  ... 
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  • 17.
    The Other Wagner
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 705514 Release Date: 11/06/2012   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Jessye Norman,  Irwin Gage,  Thomas Hampson,  Geoffrey Parsons  ... 
    Conductor:  Otto Klemperer,  Michel Plasson,  Wolfgang Sawallisch,  Marek Janowski  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra,  Dresden Philharmonic Chorus Men  ... 
    CD: $18.99
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  • 18.
    Michel Plasson & L'Opera Francais [38-CD Set]
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 36363 Release Date: 10/09/2012   Number of Discs: 38
    Composer:  Albéric Magnard,  Jules Massenet,  Charles Gounod,  Jacques Offenbach  ... 
    Performer:  Nadine Denize,  Gary Lakes,  José Van Dam,  Hildegard Behrens  ... 
    Conductor:  Michel Plasson
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Toulouse Capitole Orchestra,  Orféon Donostiarra,  Toulouse Capitole Chorus  ... 
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  • 19.
    Ravel Complete Edition [14-CD Set]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001728702 Release Date: 10/09/2012   Number of Discs: 14
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Claude Debussy
    Performer:  François-Joël Thiollier,  Jean-Yves Thibaudet,  Pierre-Laurent Aimard,  Ivo Pogorelich  ... 
    Conductor:  Simon Rattle,  Charles Dutoit,  Ernest Ansermet,  John Eliot Gardiner  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Melos Ensemble London,  Nash Ensemble,  Melos String Quartet Stuttgart  ... 
    CD: $83.49
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  • 20.
    Piano Treasures
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 2639 Release Date: 09/25/2012   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Frédéric Chopin,  Franz Liszt,  Robert Schumann  ... 
    Performer:  Jean-Bernard Pommier,  Francois-René Duchable,  György Cziffra,  Leif Ove Andsnes  ... 
    Conductor:  Lawrence Foster,  Michel Plasson,  György Cziffra,  Mariss Jansons  ... 
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  • 21.
    Russian Treasures
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 2572 Release Date: 09/25/2012   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Alexander Borodin,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Modest Mussorgsky,  Mikhail Glinka  ... 
    Performer:  Mikhail Pletnev,  Natalie Dessay,  Dmitri Alexeev,  Jean-Yves Thibaudet  ... 
    Conductor:  Paavo Järvi,  André Cluytens,  Armin Jordan,  Sir Charles Mackerras  ... 
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  • 22.
    Sacred Treasures
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 2646 Release Date: 09/25/2012   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Marc-Antoine Charpentier,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Claudio Monteverdi,  George Frideric Handel  ... 
    Performer:  David Thomas,  Emma Kirkby,  Rogers Covey-Crump,  Gérard Lesne  ... 
    Conductor:  William Christie,  Andrew Parrott,  Philip Ledger,  Paul McCreesh  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Arts Florissants,  Taverner Players,  Taverner Consort  ... 
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  • 23.
    Saint-Saens: Complete Piano Concertos / Philippe Entremont
    Label: Newton Classics   Catalog: 8802144 Release Date: 09/25/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Camille Saint-Saëns
    Performer:  Philippe Entremont
    Conductor:  Michel Plasson
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Toulouse Capitole Orchestra
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  • 24.
    The Best Classical Hits Ever!
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 04103 Release Date: 09/18/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Edvard Grieg,  Sergei Prokofiev,  George Frideric Handel,  Gregorio Allegri  ... 
    Performer:  Gerald Finley,  Matthias Eisenberg,  Yehudi Menuhin,  Stephen Layton  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner,  Riccardo Muti,  Sir Charles Mackerras,  Stephen Cleobury  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge Classical Players
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  • 25.
    Dutilleux: Orchestral, Piano & Chamber Masterworks
    Label: Virgin Classics   Catalog: 19364 Release Date: 09/11/2012   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Henri Dutilleux
    Performer:  Aude Guirai,  Timothee Collardot,  Sarah Lecolle,  Truls Otterbech Mork  ... 
    Conductor:  Michel Plasson,  Myung-Whun Chung,  Jean-Claude Casadesus,  Georges Prêtre  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Toulouse Capitole Orchestra,  French Radio New Philharmonic Orchestra,  Champs-Élysées Theater Orchestra  ... 
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