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.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Recordings Review: Building A Better Pyramid

Antonio Pappano's new studio Aida from Rome.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
Studio warrior: Jonas Kaufmann recording Aida in Rome.
Photo © 2015 Warner Brothers Classics.
The classical recording industry of the 21st century is a pale reflection of that which went before: an era where recordings are issued to little fanfare in the non-music press and even the record store is an anachronism in the urban landscape. So it was a pleasant surprise to learn that the newly merged Warner Brothers Classics had recorded and would issue a new studio recording of Verdi's Aida in an era where cost cuts and singers' schedules dictate that most operas are now recorded at live performances. A perennial and much-loved show at the most munificent opera companies, Aida is also a small-scale love story and an intimate family drama. That combination has proved to be an elusive one to capture on disc.

Friday, October 2, 2015

He-Dropped a Lulu, It Was His Baby

James Levine pulls out, we don't mean maybe.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
She's dangerous: Marliss Peterson's Lulu has claimed her first victim.
Photo by Kristian Schuller © 2015 The Metropolitan Opera.

The Metropolitan Opera's new production of Lulu, the Alban Berg tale of a femme fatale who leaves a trail of bodies in her wake has claimed its first victim: music director James Levine.

Concert Review: A Covey of Concertos

The New York Philharmonic plays Brahms and Marc Neikrug.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
A man and his instrument: Emanuel Ax at the piano.
The early weeks of this young New York Philharmonic season are heavily focused on the concerto, that peculiar yet popular form that pits a solo artist against an orchestra in a struggle of will and ability. This week’s program featured two pieces by Johannes Brahms (the Tragic Overture and the Second Piano Concerto) flanking the world premiere of a new work (commissioned by the Philharmonic in 2014) by contemporary composer Marc Neikrug.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Gotham Chamber Opera Folds

Company ceases operations, effective today.
by Paul J. Pelkonen

It ended not with a bang, or a whimper, but with a press release.

The Gotham Chamber Opera, which was among the front rank of New York opera companies not based at Lincoln Center, has closed its doors and ceased operations.


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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.