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, July 21, 2014

The Show Must Go On

The Met labor negotiations and the state of the 2014-15 Metropolitan Opera Preview.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
Metropolitan Opera manager Peter Gelb is trying to keep all his balls (and a banana) in the air.
Original image of Peter Gelb © 2014 The Metropolitan Opera. Cartoon image from 

Queen's album Innuendo, based on an image from the French artist J.J. Grandville. 
Logos of AGMA, Local 1 and Local 802 are © the respective unions. 
If you've read Superconductor for a while you know that one of the "trademark" article series on this blog is the extensive and detailed Metropolitan Opera Preview, where we break down all the productions in the coming season and hopefully entertain readers in the process..

Opera Review: Murder by Numbers

The Bolshoi Opera uncorks The Tsar's Bride.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
The composer of The Tsar's Bride,Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov in a portrait by Valentin Serov.
In Russia, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov's 1898 opera The Tsar's Bride is one of his most popular works. However, it is a relative rarity in the United States, and has never been mounted by the Metropolitan Opera. Upon hearing the score, this is a surprise, because this opera, retelling a heavily fictionalized episode in the tumultuous love life of Russian tsar Ivan the Terrible combines the romantic sweep and Russian folk-colorization of Rimsky's best music with a libretto that might have appealed to Giuseppe Verdi.

On July 13, the Bolshoi Opera gave the second of two weekend concert performances of The Tsar's Bride as part of this summer's Lincoln Center Festival. The concert, led by veteran Russian conductor Gennadi Rozhdestvensky drew a large and enthusiastic audience of Russian opera lovers, but lacked certain elements of energy and theatrical excitement. It didn't help that this vivid and bloody story was confined to the concert stage, with the drab wooden walls of Avery Fisher Hall a poor substitute for the color and pageantry that are integral to this work.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Opera Review: The Young Poisoner's Handbook

Angela Meade's Lucrezia Borgia bows at Caramoor.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
Pretty poison: Angela Meade is a deadly Lucrezia Borgia at Caramoor.
Photo by Dario Acosta © 2012 AngelaMeade.com
Although Gaetano Donizetti was one of the most prolific and popular composers of the 19th century, only a handful of his 71 operas have survived into the regular repertory of the world's opera houses. A recent revival of interest in bel canto repertory has led to a Donizetti revival, with operas like Anna Bolena and Maria Stuarda emerging from the fog of history.

Obituary: Lorin Maazel (1930-2014)

An international conductor with an intellectual bent.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
Lorin Maazel conducting the New York Philharmonic.
Photo by Chris Lee © 2013 The New York Philharmonic.
Lorin Maazel, the child prodigy who later became music director of the Vienna State Opera and the New York Philharmonic, died Sunday from complications due to pneumonia. The conductor was 84.


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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.