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.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Concert Review: Beginning at the Beginning

The American Symphony Orchestra plays early works by major Romantics.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
Conductor and college president Leon Botstein.
Photo © American Symphony Orchestra/Bard College.
The annual concert series by the American Symphony Orchestra at Carnegie Hall continued last Thursday with Opus Posthumous, a concert curated by music director (and Bard College president) Leon Botstein and featuring rarities unearthed from the early catalogues of Schubert, Bruckner and Dvořák. Although the works on this program (particularly the Symphony No. 00 by Bruckner and the Symphony No. 1 by Dvořák) have been recorded and are part of each composer's catalogue of work, performances of these pieces are a rare occasion indeed.

Concert Review: In Praise of the Creator

Conor Hanick and the Met Museum celebrate Pierre Boulez.
by Paul J. Pelkonen

The pianist Conor Hanick. Photo by Jonathan Waiter
There is no living figure in the music of the second half of the 20th century than Pierre Boulez. On Thursday afternoon, the Metropolitan Museum of Art offered Pierre Boulez: A 90th Birthday Celebration  with a triptych of works played by pianist Conor Hanick. This concert, featuring Mr. Boulez' first published works alongside 21st century compositions showed that the French composer's influence on the development of piano repertory remains strong into the modern age.

Friday, March 27, 2015

The Dude Continues to Abide

An update on the current conducting carousel.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
Looking California: Gustavo Dudamel has signed an extension in the City of Angels.
Photo of the conductor courtesy Universal Music Group.
Elements of movie poster for To Live and Die in L.A. © 1985 New Century Productions.

According to a report in Musical America and the New York Times today, conductor Gustavo Dudamel has deepened his relationship with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. The dynamic Venezuelan conductor has changed his title with that orchestra to Artistic Director and signed a new contract extending his tenure with the orchestra through 2022.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Opera Review: The Bloodless Bride

Lucia di Lammermoor returns at the Met.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
She's not the marrying kind: Albina Shagimuratova as Lucia di Lammermoor.
Photo by Cory Weaver © 2015 The Metropolitan Opera.
Gaetano Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor has remained integral to the Italian opera repertory for almost two centuries. This is not because it's a great drama or a compelling story, but because its bel canto score is a superb vehicle for a soprano willing to go all-out in the opera's famous Act III Mad Scene.


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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.