Our motto: "Critical thinking in the cheap seats."
Unbiased, honest classical music and opera opinions, since 2007. All written content © 2014 by Paul Pelkonen. For more about Superconductor, visit this link.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Concert Review: Truth in Advertising

The New York Philharmonic does Dohnányi/Dvořák.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
A framegrab of Christoph von Dohnányi.
Source: Vimeo.com.
The venerable conductor Christoph Von Dohnányi finally arrived at the New York Philharmonic last week, just in time to conduct the second and final series of concerts in this year’s festival devoted to the combination of a single composer and conductor. (Yes, this year it was marketed as "Dohnányi/ Dvořák" but Mr. Dohnányi missed the first week as he was recovering from flu.) The aristocractic German conductor, whose long podium career stems from an ancestry that includes famed composer Erno von Dohnányi, looked hale and healthy as he stepped onto the podium at Avery Fisher Hall to conduct Friday night's concert.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Opera Review: Pocket Operas, Full of Riches

The Little Opera Theater of New York mounts two by Carlisle Floyd
by Paul J. Pelkonen
Waif at the door: Angela Mannino (left) Matthew Tuell (center) and Taylor  Putnam
in the title role in a tense moment from Markheim. 
Photo by Tina Buckman © 2014 The Little Opera Theater of New York.
Opera as an American art form has always been a tricky business. Although some works have found success on the limited stage, few composers from this country have achieved steady success in the art of music drama. One such exception is Carlisle Floyd. In a career spanning half a century and more, Mr. Floyd has written multiple masterworks, including Susannah (year) and Of Mice and Men. This week, the Little Opera Theater of New York explored two one-act operas by this composer in an engaging double bill, at the 59E59 Theaters.

Opera Review: Double Toil, Double Trouble

MSM Opera unearths Ernest Bloch's Macbeth
by Paul J. Pelkonen
Uneasy lies the head...Composer Ernst Bloch, creator of Macbeth. 
Photo © G. Schirmer, image alteration by the author. 
The ever-searching and ever curious musical minds that program operas for graduate level performers at Manhattan School of Music have really dug up a doozy. On Wednesday night, MSM presented artistic director Dona D. Vaughan's staging of Macbeth, an innovative adaptation of Shakespeare's Scottish tragedy by composer Ernst Bloch. This was the New York premiere of the opera in its original French text, and the first staging of the Bloch Macbeth in New York since 1973.

It was well worth the wait.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Opera Review: The Cat in the Hat Comes Back

Gotham Chamber Opera revives El Gato con Botas.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
Puss in Boots (left, inverted) is menaced by the Ogre (Kevin Burdette, right)
in El Gato con Botas. Photo by Richard Termine for Gotham Chamber Opera.
It is the sign of maturity for an opera company when it finally begins to produce revivals. This month, Gotham Chamber Opera revived El Gato con Botas (yes, that's "Puss In Boots"), the charming children's opera by Catalan compser Xavier Montsalvatge. Mounted at the picturesque Teatro del Museo del Barrio at the upper end of Fifth Avenue, this proved to be one of the best family-friendly performances of the current opera season, a delight for the eyes, ears and funny bone.


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Since 2007, Superconductor has grown from an occasional concert or CD review to a near-daily publication covering classical music, opera and the arts in and around NYC, with excursions to Boston, Philadelphia, and upstate NY. I am a freelance writer living and working in Brooklyn NY. And no, I'm not a conductor.