Our motto: "Critical thinking in the cheap seats." Unbiased, honest classical music and opera opinions, since 2007. All written content © 2015 by Paul J. Pelkonen. For more about Superconductor, visit this link.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

A Communication to My Friends: A Millennium Approaches

Some thoughts and some blog news as we approach the 2000th Superconductor post.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov at his desk. Painting by Serov.
As we approach the 2000th article on Superconductor (which should happen sometime in October) I've been looking for a good way to celebrate that still keeps readers entertained. This blog has been a lot of work and it's been around a long time now, mostly due to the indulgence of certain arts organizations, our cherished advertisers and you, the classical and opera loving community that has become a strong audience for my writing. And yet there's still so much to do.

Recordings Review: Finally Uncorked!

Glyndebourne releases a classic L'Elisir d'Amore.
by Paul J. Pelkonen

Sometimes a fine wine must remain in the cask before its full body and rich accents can be sampled and savored. This superb live recording of Donizetti's L'Elisir d'Amore, bottled at the Glyndebourne Festival in 1962, remained unreleased until 2009.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Recording Recommendation: The Shoe-String Ring

Valhalla on just $6 a day.
by Paul J. Pelkonen

The original cover of Die Walküre. Clearly not marketing the music.
All Photos by Christopher Whorf © 1968, the artist.

Hans Swarowsky's recording of the complete Ring Cycle was made in 1968 in Nuremberg. The sessions were a by-product of the Soviet invasion of Prague, which forced most of the Czech Philharmonic to flee to southern Germany. Under Mr. Swarowsky, the so-called "South German Philharmonic" dashed off these recordings quickly, releasing the entire cycle on the budget Westminster Gold label as a bargain-basement alternative to the Decca Ring with Georg Solti and the Vienna Philharmonic.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Metropolitan Opera Preview: La Donna del Lago

Joyce DiDonato reprises the title role in this Rossini rarity.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
Scotland the Brave: Joyce DiDonato shines in La Donna del Lago.
Photo by Ken Howard © 2015 The Metropolitan Opera.
The Met continues its Rossini revival with one of the bona fide hits of last year: La Donna del Lago ("The Lady of the Lake"). Paul Curran's production bowed in 2013 at Santa Fe. At the Met, the magnificent natural vistas of New Mexico are replaced with scenery. (It was either that or knock out the back of the opera house and give the audience a backdrop of Amsterdam Avenue.)

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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.