Our motto: "Critical thinking in the cheap seats."
Unbiased, honest classical music and opera opinions, since 2007. All written content © 2014 by Paul Pelkonen. For more about Superconductor, visit this link.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Concert Review: It Happened in an Apartment

The return of the salon concert in New York.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
A pianist at home: Joel Fan. Photo courtesy Inverne Price.
In the 19th century, the salon was fertile ground for the development of what we today call "classical music." Chamber artists, virtuoso pianists and composers would gather together for social evenings at each other's homes in Paris and Vienna. Playing together and exchanging ideas, they helped build a culture that laid the groundwork for today's staid concert halls and opera houses.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Opera Review: Sailing the Seas of Hatred

As protestors shout, the Met unveils The Death of Klinghoffer
by Paul J. Pelkonen
The Klinghoffers (Alan Opie, in wheelchair, Michaela Martins, center) confront terrorists 
Rambo (Ryan Speedo Green, with rifle) and Omar (Jesse Kovarsky, in red shirt)
 aboard the Achille Lauro in Act II of The Death of Klinghoffer. 
Photo by Ken Howard © 2014 The Metropolitan Opera.
The Metropolitan Opera opened a month ago, but Monday night's company premiere of John Adams' troubling 1991 opera The Death of Klinghoffer was the real opening night, the  most significant event of this young season. The opera, offered in a handsome, disquieting staging by director Tom Morris in collaboration with the English National Opera is a strong argument for more stagings of modern opera by contemporary composers. This is a sharply executed and starkly beautiful production that offered genuine food for thought.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Concert Review: Underdog Day Afternoon

Alan Gilbert conducts the Philadelphia Orchestra.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
Lullaby of Broad Streeet? Alan Gilbert.
Photo of Alan Gilbert by Chris Lee © 2013 The New York Philharmonic.
Background photo of Broad Street © Google Earth. Photoshop by the author.
When Alan Gilbert was elevated as the new music director the New York Philharmonic six years ago, it was recognized as an attempt by that venerable orchestra to embrace change in the new century. This week, Mr. Gilbert visited another orchestra coming out of its own period of adjustment: the Philadelphia Orchestra. In recent years, the Broad Street band has overcome bankruptcy, labor strife and the installation of its own young music director, Yannick Nézet-Séguin.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Concert Review: By the Time He Gets to Phoenix

Esa-Pekka Salonen returns to the New York Philharmonic.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
Esa-Pekka Salonen in action.
Photo courtesy toe Los Angeles Philharmonic.
On Thursday night, Esa-Pekka Salonen returned to the podium of Avery Fisher Hall to lead the New York Philharmonic in the first of three concerts this week. The acclaimed Finnish composer, who rose to fame in this country as the former leader of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, was the first major guest conductor at the Philharmonic this young season. The program: early works by two composers who were also famous conductors: Ludwig van Beethoven and Igor Stravinsky.


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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.