Paul Plishka

Paul Plishka: Biography

Paul Plishka photo

Paul Plishka's extraordinary voice and impeccable artistry combine to make him one of the world's foremost singers, praised by critics for his smooth, beautifully produced bass and polished dramatic skills. This distinguished American artist has become one of the most widely acclaimed and sought-after singers of our time.

A leading member of the Metropolitan Opera roster since 1967, Paul Plishka also appears regularly with major opera companies in North American cities such as San Francisco, Chicago, Philadelphia, Seattle, Baltimore, Houston, Pittsburgh, Dallas, San Diego, Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver.

In Europe, Paul has performed in Geneva, Munich, La Scala, Hamburg, Barcelona, Vienna, Berlin, Zurich, Paris, Lyon, Marseilles and Covent Garden, London.

1999 / 2000

Highlights for season 1999/2000 include performances with the Metropolitan Opera in Aida, Lucia, Otello, Elixir of Love, Barber of Seville, Marriage of Figaro and Tristan. With the Lyric Opera of Chicago, he sings ten performances of Dulcamara in Elixir of Love and with Opera Orchestra of New York Adelia in Carnegie Hall.

1998 / 99

Season 1998 / 99 included performances with the Metropolitan Opera in Aida, Marriage of Figaro, Lucia di Lammermoor, Simone Boccanegra, Il Trovatore and Samson. Paul returned to the Salzburg Festival for more performances of Don Carlo (Grand Inquisitor) in July/August 1999.

In Carnegie Hall, he sang a concert performance of Verdi's I Masnadieri with Eve Queller conducting, The Damnation of Faust with the Atlanta Symphony, Missa Solemnis with the Pasadena Symphony, Ernani with the Marseille Opera, plus the Pavarotti 30th Anniversary Met Gala and their Pension Fund Gala. Paul also sang a series of recitals throughout the US.

1997 / 98

Highlights for season 1997-98 included performances at The Metropolitan Opera of Barber of Seville (Dr. Bartolo), Boris Godunov (Pimen), Elixir of Love (Dulcamara), Stiffelio, Turandot, Samson, Manon, Il Trovatore, Don Giovanni (Leporello) and Nick Shadow in The Rake's Progress, a role he recently recorded with Seiji Ozawa for Phillips Records.

Mr. Plishka also sang Daland in The Flying Dutchman with the Baltimore Opera, opened the new Performing Arts Center in Newark, New Jersey, singing the Beethoven Ninth with the New Jersey Symphony, sang six performances of Simon Boccanegra with the Israel Philharmonic in May/June 98 and sang the role of the Grand Inquisitor in a new production of Verdi's Don Carlo at the Salzburg Festival in July/August 98, conducted by Lorin Maazel.

1996 / 97

Season 1996-97 included three concert performances of Fidelio with the New York Philharmonic conducted by Kurt Masur at the Lincoln Center Summer Festival. Also performances with the Philadelphia Orchestra in Saratoga and with the Minnesota Orchestra. Mr. Plishka's Metropolitan Opera season included performances of Elixir of Love, Forza del Destino, Bartered Bride, Andrea Chénier, Marriage of Figaro, Billy Budd and Eugen Onegin. He also sang Don Pasquale in Santiago, Chile and Sarastro in The Magic Flute with Seiji Ozawa in Japan in May/June 1997.

1995 / 96

Paul Plishka's 1995-96 season engagements with the Metropolitan Opera included the title role in Falstaff with James Levine conducting, a new production of La Forza del Destino, Romeo et Juliette, Otello, Aida, Die Walküre, and the Gala concert commemorating Maestro James Levine's 25th anniversary with the company.

Mr. Plishka also sang the title role of Don Pasquale in a new production with the Lyric Opera of Chicago and Nick Shadow in The Rake's Progress with Seiji Ozawa conducting the Boston Symphony. In addition, Mr. Plishka sang Boris Godunov with the Munich State Opera and performances of the Verdi Requiem with the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra.

1994 / 95

Paul Plishka's 1994-95 season at the Metropolitan Opera included productions of Elixir of Love, Simon Boccanegra, Turandot, The Barber of Seville, Rigoletto and Parsifal. In addition, he opened the Los Angeles Opera season as Leporello in Don Giovanni and sang Banco in Macbeth with the Toulose Opera. His orchestral appearances included concerts with the Boston Symphony, the Cincinnati Symphony, and the Pittsburgh Symphony, as well as performances of The Tsar's Bride with Eve Queller's Opera Orchestra of New York at Carnegie Hall.

1993 / 94

During the 1993-94 season, Mr. Plishka joined the Philadelphia Orchestra for two season-opening Gala performances of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. He also sang in the Gala opening night of the Metropolitan Opera, in addition to its new productions of Stiffelio, Otello and Rusalka, as well as Lucia di Lammermoor, Aida, Les Troyens and Fidelio. He appeared in Linda di Chamonix with Eve Queller at Carnegie Hall, and performed with the Pittsburgh, Dallas and Cincinnati Symphonies.

1992 / 93

Paul Plishka's artistry was recognized in 1992 when he received the Pennsylvania Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts and when, several years earlier, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame for Great American Opera Singers in a celebration at the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia.

Mr. Plishka has been admired in many important roles since his debut at the Metropolitan Opera, where he sung well over 1,000 performances, but his voice is most often associated with Italian opera, especially Don Carlo, Ernani, Simon Boccanegra, Nabucco, Aida, I Vespri Siciliani, Luisa Miller and La Forza del Destino. During the 1992-93 season, to mark his 25th anniversary as a principal member of the company, he sang the title role of Falstaff there for the first time. He is also renowned for his appearances in the title role of Boris Godunov.

Recent Credits

Among his many recent credits have been performances in San Francisco of War and Peace and I Capuletti e i Montecchi and appearances with the Metropolitan Opera in The Flying Dutchman, La Bohème, L'Elisir d'Amore, Parsifal, Khovanshchina, and Aida. His concert appearances have included engagements with the New York Philharmonic, the Houston Symphony, the Toronto Symphony, the Minnesota Orchestra and the Boston Symphony. He has travelled to Geneva for Benvenuto Cellini, to Montréal for Nabucco, to Barcelona for Simon Boccanegra and to Mexico City for the Verdi Requiem. He has sung Boris Godunov in Kiev and has toured with La Scala to Japan and Korea, singing in Nabucco, Turandot, I Capuletti e i Montecchi and the Verdi Requiem.


Paul Plishka has an extensive discography on Angel, ABC, Columbia, Erato, London, RCA and Vox Records. His recording of the Verdi Requiem with the Atlanta Symphony and Robert Shaw won a Grammy award for the best classical album of 1988. He has also recently recorded Luisa Miller and the Marriage of Figaro, both with James Levine and the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra for Sony Classical, and Beethoven's Ninth Symphony with the London Philharmonic under Andre Previn, for London/Decca.

Early Years

Paul Plishka was born and raised in Old Forge, Pennsylvania, among the Ukrainian community. The bass attended Montclair State College New Jersey which conferred upon him an honorary degree this year and began his musical studies with the Paterson Lyric Opera Theatre. At age 23, he won first place in the Baltimore Opera Auditions.

Mr. Plishka also won a prize in the Metropolitan Opera Regional Auditions and soon thereafter joined the National Company of the Metropolitan Opera where he soon became a valued member of the parent company. The Metropolitan Opera remains his professional home.


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