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
Bizet: Carmen / Plasson, Gheorghiu, Alagna, Mula, Hampson
Release Date: 02/25/2003   Label: Emi Classics  
Catalog: 57434   Number of Discs: 3
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Gounod: Faust / Michel Plasson, Et Al
Release Date: 11/17/2009   Label: Emi Classics  
Catalog: 66773   Number of Discs: 3
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Massenet: Werther / Plasson, Kaufmann, Koch, Tezier, Paris Opera
Release Date: 10/25/2010   Label: Decca  
Catalog: 001479409   Number of Discs: 2
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Massenet: Werther / Plasson, Kaufmann, Koch, Tezier, Paris Opera [blu-ray]
Release Date: 02/25/2014   Label: Decca  
Catalog: 002014859   Number of Discs: 1
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Browse 1-25 of 154 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Great Arias: Amours divins! - Famous French Arias & Scenes
    Label: Arthaus Musik   Catalog: 109240 Release Date: 08/26/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jacques Offenbach,  Christoph W. Gluck,  Ambroise Thomas
    Performer:  Felicity Lott,  Anne Sofie von Otter,  Paul Groves,  Magdalena Kozená  ... 
    Conductor:  Marc Minkowski,  John Eliot Gardiner,  Michel Plasson,  William Christie
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  • 2.
    Great Arias: Amours divins! - Famous French Arias & Scenes [Blu-ray]
    Label: Arthaus Musik   Catalog: 109241 Release Date: 08/26/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jacques Offenbach,  Christoph W. Gluck,  Ambroise Thomas
    Performer:  Felicity Lott,  Anne Sofie von Otter,  Paul Groves,  Magdalena Kozená  ... 
    Conductor:  Marc Minkowski,  John Eliot Gardiner,  Michel Plasson,  William Christie
    On sale! $18.99
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  • 3.
    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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  • 4.
    40 Most Beautiful Classical Pieces
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 556099 Release Date: 06/17/2016   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Marc-Antoine Charpentier,  Johann Sebastian Bach  ... 
    Performer:  Samson François,  Maria Tipo,  Martha Argerich,  Dmitri Alexeev  ... 
    Conductor:  Nikolaus Harnoncourt,  William Christie,  John E. Gardiner,  David Zinman  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Arts Florissants,  Le Concert D'Astrée,  Emmanuelle Haïm (Conductor/Harpsichord)  ... 
    CD: $12.99
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  • 5.
    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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  • 6.
    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
    CD: $16.99
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  • 7.
    3ere Souffle (3rd Stream) / Caens, Galliano, Caratini Jazz Ensemble
    Label: Indesens   Catalog: 77 Release Date: 11/13/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  William Sheller,  Richard Galliano,  Michel Colombier,  Patrice Caratini
    Performer:  Thierry Caens
    Conductor:  Michel Plasson
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Caratini Jazz Ensemble
    CD: $18.99
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  • 8.
    50 Most Beautiful Classical Pieces
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 553009 Release Date: 11/13/2015   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Antonio Vivaldi  ... 
    Performer:  Christian Zacharias,  Nicolai Gedda,  Kerstin [Mezzo-soprano Vocal] Meyer,  Gré Brouwenstijn  ... 
    Conductor:  David Zinman,  André Cluytens,  David Fray,  Fabio Biondi  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Europa Galante,  Les Arts Florissants,  Concentus Musicus Wien
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  • 9.
    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)
    CD: $35.49
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  • 10.
    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  ... 
    On sale! $49.98
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  • 11.
    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  ... 
    On sale! $69.98
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  • 12.
    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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  • 13.
    Thomas Hampson - Autograph
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 2564619045 Release Date: 04/14/2015   Number of Discs: 12
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Charles Gounod,  Ambroise Thomas,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Thomas Hampson,  Charlotte Margiono,  Delores Ziegler,  Barbara Bonney  ... 
    Conductor:  Nikolaus Harnoncourt,  Michel Plasson,  Antonio de Almeida,  Richard Armstrong  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra,  Netherlands Opera Chorus,  Toulouse Capitole Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $44.49
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  • 14.
    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  ... 
    On sale! $46.98
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  • 15.
    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,  Rosemarie Lang  ... 
    Conductor:  Helmut Koch,  Otmar Suitner,  Norman Shetler,  Witold Rowicki  ... 
    CD: $29.99
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  • 16.
    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: $23.99
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  • 17.
    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
    CD: $26.99
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  • 18.
    Le Meilleur D'une Vie: Enregistrements 1958-1997
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 631289 Release Date: 05/13/2014   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Marc-Antoine Charpentier,  Johann Nepomuk Hummel,  George Frideric Handel,  Tomaso Albinoni  ... 
    Performer:  Maurice André,  Jane Parker-Smith,  Pierre Pierlot,  Gérard Jarry  ... 
    Conductor:  Louis Martini,  Herbert von Karajan,  Jean-François Paillard,  Riccardo Muti  ... 
    On sale! $18.98
    CD: $14.99
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  • 19.
    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  ... 
    Recommendation
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  • 20.
    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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  • 21.
    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
    CD: $12.99
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  • 22.
    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  ... 
    CD: $24.99
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  • 23.
    Xia Guan: Earth Requiem / Plasson, China National Symphony Orchestra
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 34119 Release Date: 07/02/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Guan Xia
    Performer:  Yao Hong,  Jin Yongzhe,  Liu Shan,  Sun Li  ... 
    Conductor:  Michel Plasson
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  China National Symphony Orchestra,  China National Symphony Chorus
    CD: $17.99
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  • 24.
    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
    CD: $24.99
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  • 25.
    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
    CD: $11.99
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