Palšnkay studied at Budapest's Liszt Academy of Music and later in Rome between 1938 and 1944, the year she began her career at the Hungarian State Opera. She was acclaimed for her role as Judith in Bartók's one-act opera Duke Bluebeard's Castle.
She often sang the role alongside bass Mihšly Székely as Bluebeard; their 1956 recording with Jšnos Ferencsik directing the Budapest Philharmonic Orchestra is still considered a benchmark performance.
During her career Palšnkay performed major roles in several other operas, including Amneris in Verdi's Aida and Maddalena in Rigoletto, Venus in Wagner's Tannhäuser and the title role in Bizet's Carmen.
She retired in 1970 and was the recipient of several awards, including the Béla Bartók Memorial Medal in 1982.
She died in a Budapest hospital, where she was being treated for a cold, Hungarian State Opera press officer Judit Všrkonyi told the AP.