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.

Monday, July 28, 2014

50 Shades of Negotiations

The Met (and its unions) are heading for a showdown.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
Image from someecards.com © 2014 someecards.com
In the middle of news stories about the current state of negotiations between the Metropolitan Opera and its fifteen unions (whose contracts all expire at midnight on Thursday). Apropos of nothing, last week also saw the release of the trailer for the movie version of E.L. James' kinky romance novel 50 Shades of Grey.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Just One Week 'til Doomsday

The Metropolitan Opera and its unions are headed for the precipice.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
The title (with a slight background picture alteration) speaks for itself.
Photo of Peter Gelb's head by Marty Sohl © 2014 The Metropolitan Opera.
Original cover of While The Clock Ticked by Franklin W. Dixon
Artwork © 1932 Grosset and Dunlap. Photo alteration by the author.
With one week left before the July 31 deadline and union contracts for fifteen of the Metropolitan Opera's sixteen unions threatening to expire, both Met general manager Peter Gelb and union representatives have upped the stakes in their war of angry words.

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Show Must Go On

The Met labor negotiations and the state of the 2014-15 Metropolitan Opera Preview.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
Metropolitan Opera manager Peter Gelb is trying to keep all his balls (and a banana) in the air.
Original image of Peter Gelb © 2014 The Metropolitan Opera. Cartoon image from 

Queen's album Innuendo, based on an image from the French artist J.J. Grandville. 
Logos of AGMA, Local 1 and Local 802 are © the respective unions. 
If you've read Superconductor for a while you know that one of the "trademark" article series on this blog is the extensive and detailed Metropolitan Opera Preview, where we break down all the productions in the coming season and hopefully entertain readers in the process..

Opera Review: Murder by Numbers

The Bolshoi Opera uncorks The Tsar's Bride.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
The composer of The Tsar's Bride,Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov in a portrait by Valentin Serov.
In Russia, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov's 1898 opera The Tsar's Bride is one of his most popular works. However, it is a relative rarity in the United States, and has never been mounted by the Metropolitan Opera. Upon hearing the score, this is a surprise, because this opera, retelling a heavily fictionalized episode in the tumultuous love life of Russian tsar Ivan the Terrible combines the romantic sweep and Russian folk-colorization of Rimsky's best music with a libretto that might have appealed to Giuseppe Verdi.

On July 13, the Bolshoi Opera gave the second of two weekend concert performances of The Tsar's Bride as part of this summer's Lincoln Center Festival. The concert, led by veteran Russian conductor Gennadi Rozhdestvensky drew a large and enthusiastic audience of Russian opera lovers, but lacked certain elements of energy and theatrical excitement. It didn't help that this vivid and bloody story was confined to the concert stage, with the drab wooden walls of Avery Fisher Hall a poor substitute for the color and pageantry that are integral to this work.


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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.