About Superconductor

Our motto: "Critical thinking in the cheap seats." Unbiased, honest classical music and opera opinions, occasional obituaries and classical news reporting, since 2007. All written content © 2016 by Paul J. Pelkonen. For more about Superconductor, visit this link. For advertising rates, click this link. Follow us on Facebook here.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Concert Review: The No-Bell Prize

The MET Orchestra goes all-Strauss at Carnegie Hall.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
The ever-glamorous Renée Fleming sang Strauss Sunday afternoon at Carnegie Hall.
Photo by Andrew Eccles for Decca/Universal Music Group.
The starry career of soprano Renée Fleming has been associated for the past two decades with the operas of Richard Strauss, and specifically roles like the Marschallin in Der Rosenkavalier, the title role in Arabella and the Countess Madeleine in Capriccio, all more or less a fit for her aristocratic stage presence and charm.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Concert Review: Bring on the Dancing Hippos

The New York Philharmonic plays Fantasia.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
Hyacinth Hippo and Ben Ali Gator dance a pas de deux in Fantasia.
Image © 1940 The Walt Disney Company.
Outreach is vital for a great orchestra's survival. This weekend, the New York Philharmonic may have won itself a new and younger generation of concert-goers with its presentation on Friday and Saturday of three concerts featuring clips from the Disney films Fantasia and Fantasia 2000, accompanied by the full might if the orchestra under the baton of assistant conductor Joshua Gerstein. Saturday's evening concert, starting at a family-friendly 7pm had an audience including current  New York Philharmonic music director Alan Gilbert.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Concert Review: A Mighty Shout of Joy

Trinity Church ends its two-month Revolutionaries festival.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
The logo of this year's Revolutionaries festival at Trinity Church.
© 2016 Trinity Church of Wall Street.
Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 should not be taken, or performed lightly. This unwieldly but popular symphony is an occasion piece, performed at the opening or close of a major festival or sung to commemorate an historic event. The performance Friday night at Trinity Church met both qualifications, as five ensembles pooled their resources to perform the Ninth alongside Alberto Ginastera's equally imposing setting of Psalm 150.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Concert Review: And So His Watch is Winding Down

James Levine, Evgeny Kissin and the MET Orchestra at Carnegie Hall.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
James Levine in 2013, ensconced in his special motorized wheelchair on the stage of
Carnegie Hall. The Met's music director will step down this year after 40 years of service.
Photo by Marty Sohl © 2013 The Metropolitan Opera.
The concerts played at Carnegie Hall by the Metropolitan Opera's pit orchestra (billed for these occasions by the marketing department of that august institution as "The MET Orchestra") are the brainchild of music director James Levine. Lately though, they've seemed more like a burden, more weight added to the workload of a conductor whose career is drawing to its twilight. Mr. Levine is still a vital musical force, but he is retiring because of physical issues that have threatened and impaired his performances. (This was his first concert in the newly created post of Music Director Emeritus.)

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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.