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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.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Metropolitan Opera Preview: Il Trovatore

The Met revives Verdi's blood-and-thunder masterpiece with an invigorating cast.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
Man with a plan: tenor Yonghoon Lee sings "Di quella pirra" in Act III of Il Trovatore.
Photo by 
 The ne plus ultra of potboiler plots, characters written larger than Marvel® super heroes, instantly catchy, hummable tunes and a history that includes one-time participation by the Marx Brothers (in A Night at the Opera). What's not to love about Il Trovatore?

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Opera Review: A Not-So-Distant Mirror

The Prototype Festival brings Fellow Travelers to New York.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
A young, idealistic Fordham Ram: Aaron Blake as Timothy Laughlin in Fellow Travelers.
Photo by Jill Steinberg for the Prototype Festival. 

Despite the best efforts by the current party in power in Washington D.C., America is a very different place than it was in 1953. Today, gay relationships are socially acceptable and gay marriage is the law of the land, but those freedoms are threatened by political and religious leaders with very different ideas. That alone makes Fellow Travelers, the new opera by composer Gregory Spears and librettist Greg Pierce  the most powerful and politically relevant opera to be mounted in New York this season.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Concert Review: The Woman Who Played With the Sea

Susanna Mälkki returns to the New York Philharmonic.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
The conductor Susanna Mälkki returned to the New York Philharmonic this week.
Photo by Sakari Viika © 2017 Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra.
Just a couple of years ago, a number of names were tossed around as candidates for who should become the New York Philharmonic's next music director. One of the leading candidates was Susanna Mälkki, the Finnish conductor who is best known to New Yorkers for leading the 2016 New York premiere of her compatriot Kaija Saariaho's opera L'amour de Loin. Ms. Mälkki did not get the job, but she returned to the Philharmonic this week.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Opera Review: Into Her Hypercube

Prototype premieres Mikael Karlsson's The Echo Drift.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
A clockwork redhead: Blythe Gaissertt as Walker Loats in The Echo Drift.
Photo by Olga Baranova © 2018 PROTOYPE Festival.
The set was simple: a spartan bed, a stool and a small desk, a cube-shaped prison cell on struts, trapped inside a larger cube that had a projection screen on one side serving as a wall. This assemblage was constructed on a swivel. It and the cyclorama at the back of the stage were the projected surface for minimal scenery rendered in stark white chalk lines. (The set was by co-librettist Elle Kunnos de Voss (credited as "Environment Designer") and the projections were by Simon Harding.)

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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.