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.

Wednesday, November 26, 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.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Opera Review: Fezzes Are Cool


Juilliard Opera takes on Rossini's Il Turco in Italia.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
Hyesang Park as Fiorilla in Il Turco in Italia.
Photo by Ken Howard © 2014 The Juilliard School.
The Juilliard Opera opened its 2014 season this week with a new production of Rossini's Il Turco in Italia, a genial comedy of manners that never caught fire with the opera-going public of the composer's day. Turco was viewed as an inferior sequel to the composer's wildly successful L'Italiana in Algeri and its libretto, chronicling the bed-hopping adventures of a licentious and married woman at a resort near Naples was considered immoral in Rossini's day. And it is a rarity: this was the first fully staged New York performance of the score since a New York City Opera production from 1978.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Concert Review: The Weight of the War

Jaap van Zweden leads the Shostakovich Eighth
by Paul J. Pelkonen
Conductor Jaap van Zweden returned to the New York Philharmonic.
Photo © 2014 The Dallas Symphony Orchestra
The Dutch conductor Jaap van Zweden has built a steady reputation in recent years, both with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra (where he serves as music director) and a series of yearly guest visits to the New York Philharmonic. On Friday afternoon, Mr. van Zweiden led the latter orchestra in a program of Mozart and Shostakovich, contrasting the former's Sinfonia Concertante with the latter's heavyweight Symphony No. 8.

Concert Review: Providence, Prokofiev and Pirates

The San Francisco Symphony at Carnegie Hall.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
Michael Tilson Thomas.
Photo © 2013 San Francisco Symphony.
Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra closed their two-night 2014 stand at Carnegie Hall on Thursday night. The evening offered pretty much everything this ensemble does well. There was new music. There was a surprisingly gentle 20th century concerto. And there was an almost obligatory Big Work: the unexpurgated score of Maurice Ravel's ballet Daphnis et Chloë.

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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.