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.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Metropolitan Opera Preview: Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg

The six-hour echt Deutsch Wagner comedy returns.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
Bigger than the Botha us: the South African tenor Johan Botha returns in Die Meistersinger.
Photo © 2007 The Metropolitan Opera courtesy the Metropolitan Opera Press Department.
Of the ten major Richard Wagner operas, only one is a comedy. And it's the six-hour Meistersinger: a celebration of all things German.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Metropolitan Opera Preview: Il Barbiere di Siviglia

Figaro's barber shop is back in business.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
Tenor Lawrence Brownlee has an issue with the wig department.
Photo from Il Barbiere di Siviglia by Ken Howard © 2007 The Metropolitan Opera.
Although it was a complete and utter fiasco on its opening night in 1816, Rossini's Il Barbiere di Siviglia remains the heavyweight champ among operatic comedies. The adventures of Figaro and company have held the stage in one form or another for 198 years, and remains the composer's most famous work.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Metropolitan Opera Preview: Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District

The opera that outraged Josef Stalin returns to the Met.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
That's no moon...A scene from Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District.
Photo by Winnie Klotz © 2000 The Metropolitan Opera.
It was January 26, 1936. The setting: Moscow, capital of Soviet Russia. And the opera was Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District, the second stage work by the ambitious Dmitri Shostakovich, the fast-rising symbol of self-proclaimed Soviet cultural superiority.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Metropolitan Opera Preview: Aida

The Met goes back to Egypt in search of box office gold.
Tomb raiders: Aida (Liudmila Monastyrska, l.) emotes as Amneris (Olga Boridina) glowers in the Met's
latest revival of Verdi's Aida. Photo by Marty Sohl © 2012 The Metropolitan Opera.

Aida is an opera that people see for the spectacle, and for the grand illusion of Egypt that is conjured by Verdi's imaginative use of the orchestra and martial themes. It is also an intimate love story set against this grand backdrop, with two girls (who both happen to be princesses) in love with the same guy.

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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.