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Pol Henri Plançon (12 June 1851 – 11 August 1914) was a distinguished French operatic bass (basse chantante). He was one of the most acclaimed singers active during the 1880s, 1890s and early 20th century—a period often referred to as the "Golden Age of Opera".
In addition to being among the earliest international opera stars to have made recordings, he was a versatile singer who performed roles ranging from Sarastro in Mozart's The Magic Flute of 1791 through to core bass parts composed in the 19th century by Meyerbeer, Gounod, Verdi and Wagner, among others.
He was renowned for his exquisite legato singing as well as for his crisp diction, limpid tone, precise intonation, and virtuosic mastery of ornaments and fioriture. While not huge, his voice was of penetrating character, making a consistently positive impression in such large theatres as the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. It always moved with exemplary suppleness, allowing him to execute flawless trills and rapid scale passages with remarkable precision and suavity.
Pol Plançon was born in Fumay, in the Ardennes département of France, near the Belgian border. "Pol" is a pet form of Paul.
Blessed with a fine natural voice, he commenced learning to sing with the pivotal French tenor Gilbert Duprez (the originator of the "chest voice high C"), who had turned to teaching after his retirement from the stage. Duprez had enjoyed a distinguished career in Italy, where he created Edgardo in Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor in 1835. Plançon supplemented his studies with Duprez with lessons from Giovanni Sbriglia, who taught many outstanding opera singers at his Parisian studio, most notably the brothers Jean and Édouard de Reszke, with whom Plançon would sing quite often in future years.