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.

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.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Metropolitan Opera Preview: Die Zauberflöte

The "composer's cut" of Mozart's final opera.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
Here comes the sun king: René Pape as Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte.
Photo by Ken Howard © 2014 The Metropolitan Opera.
In the years of general manager Peter Gelb's reign over the Metropolitan Opera House, one of his signature initiatives has been an annual "holiday presentation" of a famous opera, drastically cut to one long act and sung in English. The most frequent masterwork on the chopping block has been Mozart's Die Zauberflöte.

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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.