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.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Opera Review: Fireproof

Simon Keenlyside makes a comeback as Don Giovanni.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
The statue of the dead Commendatore (Kwangchal Youn, left) takes Don Giovanni 
(Simon Keenlyside) down to Hell as Leporello (Adam Plachetka) cowers on the right.
Photo by Marty Sohl © 2016 The Metropolitan Opera.
The Metropolitan Opera's current production of Don Giovanni, introduced at the opera house by director Michael Grandage in 2011 is an uninspired, ugly hash with a some impressive, yet noisy fire effects at the end. And yet, Mozart's opera remains immortal. Its music, when properly delivered, would work if the singers were in burlap sacks with paper bags over their heads, an image one must be cautious with lest it inspire some young theater director looking to mount Don Giovanni in the future.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Opera Review: Spirits of the Vasty Deep

The Metropolitan Opera opens with Tristan und Isolde.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
Stuart Skelton and Nina Stemme are Tristan und Isolde in the Met's new staging.
Photo by Ken Howard © 2016 The Metropolitan Opera.

Richard Wagner's Tristan und Isolde is the most demanding of operas. The two leading parts demand tenacious singers who can stay the course for five hours of demanding music. The still-revolutionary score demands a conductor who can navigate its wide, intimidating oceans of chromatic sound, music that changed the way people heard music when the work premiered. Finally, the simple, intimate story demands a setting that makes sense of Wagner's concept: undying, illicit love that transcends marriage, law, life and finally, death. The Metropolitan Opera's new production, launched last night in a special 5pm premiere performance, had all these qualities and more.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Concert Review: A Journey in the Dark

Matt Haimovitz at The Crypt Sessions.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
Candlepower: Matt Haimovits and friend at the Crypt Sessions.
Photo by Andrew Ousley for the Crypt Sessions.
The cellist Matt Haimovitz is one of the mavericks of his instrument, breaking new ground with each commission for solo cello and each group project. To celebrate the release of his new disc Overtures, Mr. Haimovitz agreed to play The Crypt Sessions, the chamber music series mounted deep beneath the Church of the Intercession at 155th and Broadway.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Concert Review: Settling Their Differences

The New York Philharmonic opens their 175th season.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
Alan Gilbert is starting his last year as music director of the New York Philharmonic.
Photo by Chris Lee © 2016 The New York Philharmonic.
The New York Philharmonic opened its 175th season on Wednesday night with a concert built around Antonín Dvořák's Symphony No. 9, better known as the New World Symphony. The concert at David Geffen Hall marked the beginning of the orchestra's final season under the hand of music director Alan Gilbert, whose contract expires in June of next year. The concert was attended by music press, donors and glitterati, with the whole affair broadcast live on Facebook, another Philharmonic first.

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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.