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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.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

A Clown Shows in Brooklyn

Pagliacci postponed: gang of plucky kids may be responsible.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
Pennywise the Dancing Clown (Actor Bill Skaarsgaard) visits LoftOpera.
Pennywise image © 2017 Lions Gate Studios. LoftOpera image © LoftOpera.
Photoshop by the clown that writes this blog.
Opera lovers may notice a gaping hole in the schedule this week. LoftOpera, that plucky and innovative company that mounts wonderful operas on the cheap has been forced to postpone   its planned production of Pagliacci, the bloody Leoncavallo verismo drama about a clown who goes berserk and murders his wife.

There is no word on whether the production's cancellation was caused by the Losers Club, a group of seven plucky kids who came together to criticize opera and fight evil. The Losers are the stars of Stephen King's It (now in theaters), in which the kids fight the depredations of Pennywise, the Dancing Clown. Pennywise is the monstrous title character of the recently remade Stephen King thriller, an extraterrestrial being who can change forms. Rumors of the clown's demise in a Derry, ME sewer drain may have been exaggerated. Also, the large pile of floppy shoes seen on a barge heading out of New York Harbor is probably just a coincidence.

"We all float down here....I mean, y'know that's show biz" said Bob Gray, a representative of the Street Mimes Local 440-3094494-3 said in an interview. "However, That book gave us a bad rep. And then there was the Gacy thing. Hell, it took forever to recover from the Tim Curry mini-series. And the Insane Clown Posse covering Mozart. On top of all that, the goddamned Ringling Brothers folded their tents.  Now when we've finally got our marketing team in place to combat the remake of It, there's this opera?"

It has not been confirmed whether the company's music director will be available for these performances. He was last seen in a yellow slicker sailing a boat down Myrtle Avenue in a recent torrential rainstorm. At press time, he was unavailable for comment.

If he has in fact disappeared, he will miss the chance to conduct Pagliacci. Although Leoncavallo is remembered chiefly as a one-hit wonder, this one-act work is one of the great operas. Its trademark aria "Vestia la giubba" has appeared in everything from James Bond to Seinfeld to the classic thriller The Untouchables. It is a fast-moving story in which the leader of a company of actors discovers that his wife is unfaithful. While performing slapstick comedy in front of an Italian village, he goes mad and stabs her onstage.

"Those clowns scare me," local business owner Mike Hanlon said. "Particularly when they sing. That's why I always carry an olive loaf with me, for protection. Excuse me, I have to get to the delicatessen."

In all seriousness, Superconductor is awaiting word on where (and when) LoftOpera will produce Pagliacci. This is scheduled to be the third of four operas in the company's 2017 season, but increased gentrification in the Bushwick area and the pervasive greed of New York landlords have made finding a workable space challenging. As far as getting a clown-related entertainment fix in these troubled times, Superconductor recommends either watching White House press briefings or seeing It before the thriller floats out of the theaters.


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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.