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Our motto: "Critical thinking in the cheap seats." Unbiased, honest classical music and opera opinions, occasional obituaries and classical news reporting, since 2007. All written content © 2018 by Paul J. Pelkonen. For more about Superconductor, visit this link. For advertising rates, click this link. Follow us on Facebook.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Concert Review: The Human Stain

Philip Glass' Music With Changing Parts at Carnegie Hall.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
Philip Glass.
Photo by Andras Bitesnich for Orange Mountain Music.
Is there a point, in the creation of art for the entertainment of others, where the value of that creative act has to be weighed against the limitations that the human body can endure? That question applies to both the audience and performers attending Friday night's concert at Carnegie Hall featuring the first New York concert performance in 38 years of Philip Glass' 1970 composition Music With Changing Parts. This performance formed the centerpiece of Mr. Glass' residency at the Hall this season, and of the venue's ongoing festival celebrating the music and culture of the 1960s.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Concert Review: Oceans of Love and Time

Jaap van Zweden pairs Dark Waves with Wagner.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
Jaap van Zweden in orchestral ecstasy.
Photo by Chris Lee © 2018 The New York Philharmonic.

When Jaap van Zweden was announced as the new music director of the Philharmonic, he was seen by pundits and punters alike as a firm, conservative voice designed to return America's oldest orchestra to its role as guardian of the standard European repertory of the 19th and 20th centuries. This week, he confirms that hope with a performance of Act I of Wagner's Die Walküre. However, the program opens with the New York premiere of Dark Waves, a masterful 2007 composition from Pulitzer Prize-winning composer John Luther Adams.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Opera Review: The Case for a Basket

Juilliard Opera takes on Die lustigen Weiber von Windsor.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
Falstaff in the Basket by Henry Fuseli
© Die Kunsthaus, Zurich
When Giuseppe Verdi ended his career with Falstaff, he was not the first composer to take on Shakespeare's corpulent knight as an operatic subject. In 1847, the mostly forgotten Otto Nicolai wrote Die lustigen Weiber von Windsor, a singspiel of considerable flexibility and charm.  Nicolai's score, which sets Sir John's amorous adventures to an enchanting series of Viennese waltzes and florid writing for a large cast, is being staged this weekend at Juilliard, in the intimate  Willson Theateron the conservatory's third floor. It opened Wednesday night.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

2018-19 Metropolitan Opera Season Preview: Meet the New Boss

The Met crowns Yannick Nézet-Séguin as its Music Director...two years early.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
Yannick Nézet-Séguin leads a rehearsal of Der fliegende Holländer at the Met in 2017,
unaware of the neon crown hovering overhead added by this blog's author.
Photo by Richard Termine © 2017 The Metropolitan Opera. Crown inspired by Jean-Michel Basquiat.
The Metropolitan Opera announced its schedule today for 2018-19, along with the blockbuster news that Yannick Nézet-Séguin, currently in the middle of a successful run of Wagner's Parsifal has been official crowned as the company's music director. This enthronement is two years ahead of schedule.

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Critical Thinking in the Cheap Seats

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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.