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date: 22 October 2019

Plançon, Pol [Paul-Henri ]locked

  • Desmond Shawe-Taylor

Extract

(b Fumay, Ardennes, 12 June 1851; d Paris, 11 Aug 1914). French bass. A pupil of Duprez and Sbriglia, he made his début at Lyons in 1877. He first sang at the Paris Opéra in 1883 as Gounod’s Méphistophélès, and remained there for ten seasons, taking part in the premières of Massenet’s Le Cid (Count of Gormas) and Saint-Saëns’s for 14 consecutive seasons (1891–1904), singing, besides his French and Italian roles, occasionally in German and even in English (as Friar Francis in the première of Stanford’s Much Ado About Nothing). In 1893 he appeared for the first time at the Metropolitan Opera, returning as leading bass for 12 of the subsequent seasons there until his farewell to the house in 1908.

Judging by the recordings that survive, Plançon was the most polished singer of his time. His beautiful basse chantante had been admirably schooled, and his style was extremely elegant; his many recordings (...

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