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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 © 2018 by Paul J. Pelkonen. For more about Superconductor, visit this link. For advertising rates, click this link. Follow us on Facebook.

Friday, May 25, 2018

The Verdi Project: Don Carlos

Verdi's last opera for Paris has a complicated history.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
Troubled youth: the not-so-youthful Placido Domingo as Verdi's Don Carlos.
Photo © 1982 The Metropolitan Opera.

After the experience of Un Ballo in Maschera, Giuseppe Verdi found himself increasingly withdrawn from the world of opera. His hiatus was interrupted for the commissioning and premiere of La Forza del Destino, but the problems surrounding that opera did not encourage him to continue composing. However, he received a commission for the Paris Opera, to write a five-act grand opera in French for the 1866. That opera would be Don Carlos, and its genesis would be the most difficult of any major Verdi work.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Concert Review: The Next Big Thing

Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla leads the MET Orchestra.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
Conductor Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla in action. Photo by Lawrence K. Ho.
This has been a season that the Metropolitan Opera would rather forget: one where scandal, not music-making has put the opera company in the public eye. So it was with some feeling of relief that the MET Orchestra, as the company's players are billed when giving symphony concerts at Carnegie Hall, reported to the stage of that august venue for Friday night's performance. This was the first of three performances, over the next few weeks: the last concerts of the Hall's current season.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Concert Review: The Rush of Progress

Semyon Bychkov returns to the New York Philharmonic.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
Conductor Semyon Bychkov returned to the New York Philharmonic this week.
Photo by Chris Lee © 2018 The New York Philharmonic.
Relationships between high-powered conductors and major orchestras can be a delicate thing. Which is why it was good this week to see the acclaimed Semyon Bychkov return to the podium at David Geffen Hall on Thursday night. This was the first concert in a two-week stand with the New York Philharmonic, which is in the last weeks of its season.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

The Verdi Project: La Forza del Destino

The one where everybody (pretty much) dies.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
Bang: Verdi's La Forza del Destino opens with an accidental domestic shooting.
Art by Don Falcone.
Following the premiere of Un Ballo in Maschera, Verdi received a commission from the Imperial Russian Opera in St. Petersburg. For a subject, he came up with Don Alvaro, o La Fuerza del Sino, a Spanish play by the Duke of Rivas. This would premiere in Russia in 1862 as La Forza del Destino ("The Force of Destiny.") . It was a success but performances of the opera in Italy (retitled "Don Alvaro") were met with indifference.

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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.