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, 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.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Concert Review: California's Dark

MTT and the San Francisco Symphony return with Mahler's Seventh.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
Mahler groove: conductor Michael Tilson Thomas.
Photo © 2014 San Francisco Symphony.
When Gustav Mahler premiered his Symphony No. 7 in E minor in 1906, he set a series of problems and riddles that too often, baffle today's conductors, listeners and critics. On Wednesday night, the San Francisco Symphony returned to Carnegie Hall to play this difficult and uniquely weird five-movement work, under the baton of Michael Tilson Thomas.

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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.