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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.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Opera Review: There's Not a Lot of Money in Revenge

New Amsterdam Opera mounts La Forza del Destino.

Face-off: Tenor Errin Brooks (in profile) confronts baritone Stephen Gaertner
in La Forza del Destino at New Amsterdam Opera. Photo by Bidrum Vabish.

I have a confession to make. Up until yesterday, I had never heard of the New Amsterdam Opera. And then, on Friday afternoon on Facebook, a colleague and fellow critic mentioned that he was going to see their concert performance of Verdi’s La Forza del Destino ("The Force of Destiny") in the theater at Riverside church that very night. So it was my great pleasure to finds out that conductor Keith Chambers and his company were tackling Verdi’s most challenging opera in a concert performance.

What’s more, they did it with style.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Superconductor Audio Guide: Der Rosenkavalier

Strauss' immortal comedy veers from the bedroom to the drawing-room.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
Detail from Rafal Olbinski's poster for the Opera Pacific's production of Der Rosenkavalier.
Art © Rafal Olbinski Estate and Opera Pacific
Richard Strauss and Hugo von Hoffmannsthal are one of the most famous composer-librettist teams of the early 20th century. Der Rosenkavalier ("The Knight of the Silver Rose") which walks the line between raunchy sex farce and polite comedy of manners is the most famous example of their collaboration, matching Strauss' elaborate orchestra to a comic opera that would have made Lorenzo da Ponte proud.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Metropolitan Opera Preview: Eugene Onegin

La Netrebko returns opposite two substitute baritones in Tchaikovsky's drama.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
Anna Netrebko in the Act I "letter scene" from Eugene Onegin.
Photo by Ken Howard © 2014 The Metropolitan Opera.
Anna Netrebko returns to the role of Tatiana in the production she created in 2013. Her Onegin(s) will be Mariusz Kwiecien and Peter Mattei. They are substituting for Dmitri Hvorostovsky, who has declared himself unable to perform due to cancer treatments.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Opera Review: March to the Scaffold

The Metropolitan Opera (finally) revives Fidelio.

Oh happy we: Leonore (Adrinane Pieczonka) is reunited with Florestan  (Klaus Florian Vogt) in
Act II of Fidelio. Photo by Ken Howard courtesy The Metropolitan Opera.

In the current political climate, Beethoven's Fidelio, with its call for freedom in the face of corruption and the naked abuse of power is more relevant than ever, so it is fitting that this month marks the Metropolitan Opera’s first revival of the show in eleven years. The players have changed radically, but J├╝rgen Flimm’s grim, unrelenting production has not. It is still set in a bare modern prison, adorned by white industrial lights, inexplicable trash heaps and sadistic  guards toting automatic rifles and nightsticks.

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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.