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, August 3, 2015

Metropolitan Opera Preview: Turandot

Three very different casts and three runs for Puccini's final opera. 
by Paul J. Pelkonen
The executioner Pu-Tin-Pao (Left) confronts a giant Chinese dragon in the first act
of the Metropolitan Opera's production of Puccini's Turandot.
Photo by Marty Sohl © 2015 The Metropolitan Opera.
This umpteenth revival of the Metropolitan Opera's everything-into-the-wok Franco Zeffirelli production of Puccini's Turandot appears in three separate runs this season. Christine Goerke, Lise Lindstrom, Jennifer Wilson and Nina Stemme are the four formidable sopranos who will sing the hellishly difficult title role. This is one of the last surviving Zeff productions in the Met repertory along with La bohéme, and is a feast for the eyes as well as the ears.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Metropolitan Opera Preview: Otello

The first new Met production of the 2015-16 season.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
Aleksandrs Antonenko is the Moor of Venice in the Met's new Otello.
Photo © 2015 The Metropolitan Opera.
Director Bart Sher steps away from the buffa comedies of Rossini and Donizetti to try his hand at Verdi's version of Shakespeare's tragedy. Aleksandrs Antonenko takes on the daunting title role in this new production,  which opens the Metropolitan Opera's 2015-16 season.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Concert Review: The Sinister Urge

Jeremy Denk at Mostly Mozart
by Paul J. Pelkonen
The pianist Jeremy Denk played Mostly Mozart on Friday night.
Photo from JeremyDenk.net © 2015 Nonesuch Records.
The Chaconne from Bach's Partita No. 2 for Solo Violin is one of the most challenging pieces to perform for great length (14 minutes) and technical demands on the solo performer. On Friday evening, pianist Jeremy Denk opened his appearance at this year's Mostly Mozart festival with an even more difficult version of this piece: the transcription for solo piano written by Johannes Brahms, designed to be played by the left hand only.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Concert Review: His Back Pages

Mostly Mozart 2015 opens with rarities from the composer’s catalogue.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
Louis Langrée (center) leads the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra.
Photo © 2015 by Richard Termine for the Mostly Mozart Festival.
Although Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart died at 37, he left a catalogue of music that is staggering in its size and artistic breath. Mozart was five years old when he wrote his first three keyboard pieces, and 14 when his first successful opera (Mitridate) premiered. On Tuesday night, Mostly Mozart offered a look into the dark corners of Mozart’s fast catalogue, playing a program of realities rarities to open its 49th festival season.


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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.