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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.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Opera Review: When Her Ship Comes In

The Met revives Der fliegende Holländer.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
I will leave you, loudly: Amber Wagner and Michael Volle in a scene from
Der fliegender Holländer. Photo by Richard Termine © 2017 The Metropolitan Opera.

There's been a lot of excitement about the Metropolitan Opera's late-season revival of Der fliegende Holländer ("The Flying Dutchman") which opened last week and was seen by this writer at Saturday's matinée performance. This revival marks the first Wagner excursions at the Met for both Yannick Nézet-Séguin, the company's newly anointed incoming music director, and baritone Michael Volle, who has been tabbed by general manager Peter Gelb as both Wotan and Hans Sachs in seasons to come.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Opera Review: The Treasure Hunters

Manhattan School of Music unearths Die Zigeunerbaron.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
True love wins the day in the last scene if Die Zigeunerbaron.
Photo courtesy Manhattan School of Music.
Johann Strauss Jr. was the most popular composer of the Austrian Empire, and his waltzes still provide the social soundtrack of Vienna for the tourists that visit that city every year. However, with the exception of Die Fledermaus, his stage works have disappeared from the operatic repertory. This is a reflection of the general state of light opera and the changing tastes of a fickle public. The Manhattan School of Music has taken a huge step to correct this by choosing to end their spring season with Der Zigeunerbaron (”The Gypsy Baron”) an energetic operetta that is rarely seen anymore outside of a Viennese theater.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Metropolitan Opera Preview: Cyrano de Bergerac

"And all you can come up with is 'Big Nose.'"
by Paul J. Pelkonen
This isn't The Nose: Roberto Alagna as Cyrano de Bergerac.
Photo by Ken Howard © 2017 The Metropolitan Opera.
Franco Alfano is remembered today as a footnote. He's the guy saddled with the unenviable task of writing the final pages of Giacomo Puccini's last opera Turandot in 1924. That completion was dismissed in 1924 by Toscanini himself. However, his six operas survive. This is the first Metropolitan Opera revival of Cyrano de Bergerac.

Concert Review: The Price of Reinvention

Soprano Natalie Dessay returns to Carnegie Hall.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
Natalie Dessay. Photo © Sony Classical.
Natalie Dessay is no stranger to adversity. Throughout her career, the French soprano has battled ahead, undergoing surgery to keep her voice in fighting trim and dazzling audiences with a high coloratura that was at home in Donizetti, Mozart and Richard Strauss. Ms. Dessay retired from the operatic stage in 2013, with her last Metropolitan Opera appearances coming in a tumultuous run of Handel's Giulio Cesare in Egitto. Four years went by until her return, which came on Wednesday night upon the hallowed boards of Carnegie Hall.

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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.