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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 © 2016 by Paul J. Pelkonen. For more about Superconductor, visit this link. For advertising rates, click this link. Follow us on Facebook.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Concert Review: There Are Two Paths You Can Go By

Daniele Gatti climbs Wagner and Bruckner's stairways to heaven.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
Daniele Gatti at the helm of his inaugural 2017 concert as music director of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra.
Photo by Mladen Pikilic for the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra.
The final utterance of a major composer is often an insight into their innermost thoughts. In the case of Richard Wagner and Anton Bruckner, (two composers who knew each other in life) those utterances, performed by the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra at Carnegie Hall on Wednesday night, were very different indeed. Wagner was a man of the theater turned to the mystic epic of Parsifal and the story of the Holy Grail and the Kingdom of Montsalvat. Bruckner, who revered Wagner, found his Grail in the structured form of the symphony, offering a Ninth that he would not live to finish.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Metropolitan Opera Preview: Il Trovatore

The Met revives Verdi's blood-and-thunder masterpiece with an invigorating cast.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
Man with a plan: tenor Yonghoon Lee sings "Di quella pirra" in Act III of Il Trovatore.
Photo by 
 The ne plus ultra of potboiler plots, characters written larger than Marvel® super heroes, instantly catchy, hummable tunes and a history that includes one-time participation by the Marx Brothers (in A Night at the Opera). What's not to love about Il Trovatore?

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Opera Review: A Not-So-Distant Mirror

The Prototype Festival brings Fellow Travelers to New York.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
A young, idealistic Fordham Ram: Aaron Blake as Timothy Laughlin in Fellow Travelers.
Photo by Jill Steinberg for the Prototype Festival. 

Despite the best efforts by the current party in power in Washington D.C., America is a very different place than it was in 1953. Today, gay relationships are socially acceptable and gay marriage is the law of the land, but those freedoms are threatened by political and religious leaders with very different ideas. That alone makes Fellow Travelers, the new opera by composer Gregory Spears and librettist Greg Pierce  the most powerful and politically relevant opera to be mounted in New York this season.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Concert Review: The Woman Who Played With the Sea

Susanna Mälkki returns to the New York Philharmonic.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
The conductor Susanna Mälkki returned to the New York Philharmonic this week.
Photo by Sakari Viika © 2017 Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra.
Just a couple of years ago, a number of names were tossed around as candidates for who should become the New York Philharmonic's next music director. One of the leading candidates was Susanna Mälkki, the Finnish conductor who is best known to New Yorkers for leading the 2016 New York premiere of her compatriot Kaija Saariaho's opera L'amour de Loin. Ms. Mälkki did not get the job, but she returned to the Philharmonic this week.

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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.