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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 © 2018 by Paul J. Pelkonen. For more about Superconductor, visit this link. For advertising rates, click this link. Follow us on Facebook.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Concert Review: Deep Space Ninth

The New York Philharmonic tours the heavens with Bruckner.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
Man in motion: the conductor Christoph Eschenbach.
Photo by Chris Lee.
A good idea is a good idea. That might be the rationale between this weeks New York Philharmonic program which pairs Mozart’s charming Piano Concerto No. 22 with Anton Bruckner’s sprawling, ambitious and ultimately unfinished Symphony No. 9 under the baton of guest conductor Christopher Eschenbach. For New York’s Bruckner enthusiasts, this concert evoked memories of January 2017, when Daniel Barenboim led the Berlin Staatskapelle in a cycle of Bruckner symphonies at Carnegie Hall, pairing the shorter works with the major Mozart piano concertos. (Mr. Barenboim paired the Ninth  with Piano Concerto No. 23.)

Friday, April 20, 2018

Opera Review: A Piece of Fairy Cake

Joyce DiDonato sings a radiant Cendrillon at the Met.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
The lighting department: Joyce DiDonata as Cinderella in Massenet's Cendrillon.
Photo by Ken Howard © 2018 The Metropolitan Opera.
At the end of the 2014 season, the mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato climbed atop a wedding cake at the end of Rossini's La Cenerentola, a role in which she caused a sensation at the Metropolitan Opera. This month, Ms. DiDonato returned to the stage of America's largest opera house--and to the ballrooms of a very familiar fairy tale--to sing the title role in Cendrillon, the 1899 adaptation of the Cinderella story by Jules Massenet.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Opera Review: Out of the Deep Freeze

Manhattan School of Music stages The Snow Maiden.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
Forest from the trees: Shelén Hughes as the Snow Maiden.
Photo © 2018 courtesy Manhattan School of Music press department.
Nikolai Rimksy-Korsakov is one of the most important opera composers of 19th century Russia. A member of the "Mighty Handful", he revised works by Mussorgsky, taught Stravinsky and was a master of orchestration and melody. However, outside of a few concert works, the bulk of his music, most notably a long catalogue of operas, receives little attention. This made it all the more interesting that the Manhattan School of Music's Senior Opera Theater decided to mount The Snow Maiden, an enchanting fairy tale opera and the composer's personal favorite.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Metropolitan Opera Preview: Roméo et Juliette

Charles Castronovo and Ailyn Perez are Shakespeare's star-crossed lovers.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
Everybody onstage: the masquerade ball from Roméo et Juliette.
Photo by Ken Howard © 2018 The Metropolitan Opera.
The news is that tenor Bryan Hymel has withdrawn from this run of Romeo et Juliette, the evergreen Charles Gounod adaptation of Shakespeare's play. Charles Castronovo is his replacement. Ailyn Perez, fresh off a mostly successful run in the Massenet chestnut Thaïs, is his Juliet. Placido Domingo conducts this first revival of the Met's staging by Bart Sher.

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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.