Artist Profile: Bass Paul Plisha, Long-Time Met Opera Bass

By David Salazar

Paul Plishka is one of the Met’s historic performers, performing over 1600 times throughout his career.

Born on August 28, 1941, the bass studied at Montclair State College and made his opera debut with the Paterson Lyric Opera in 1961. His Met debut would come six years later at the age of 26 when he appeared in “La Gioconda.” He would appear with the company until 2012 when he formally retired. However, he was invited back a few seasons later for a few more performances in “La Bohème.”

He was also a fixture at La Scala where he appeared in a number of performances, retiring in 1992 with Verdi’s Requiem.

He has been distinguished with the Pennsylvania Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts and was also inducted into the Hall of Fame for Great American Opera Singers in a celebration at the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia.

Signature Roles

In a career dominated by the Metropolitan Opera, Plishka appeared a whopping 217 times in “La Bohème,” most of them interpreting the roles of Benoit and Alcindoro. He also appeared in “Aida” 111 times as the King and 111 times in “Tosca” as the Sacristan. He also sang a number of leading roles for bass, including Filippo in “Don Carlo.”

Read More on Plishka 

His Retirement Announcement

Watch and Listen

Here are two Verdi excerpts that show the bass at the vocal prime of his career.


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