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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.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Twelve Days Under the Rising Sun

An Overview of Hearing Japanese Orchestras
by Paul J. Pelkonen
Image from JapanLover.Me
The 2017 Hearing Japanese Orchestras project provided the opportunity for four Western critics, (myself included) to encounter the sound of five very different ensembles in very different cities. It was also a culturally immersive experience, my first visit to Japan and an opportunity to hear familiar and unfamiliar music presented at a generally high level.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Superconductor Audio Guide: Elektra

Richard Strauss' fourth opera is black and white...and red all over.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
The bloody axe used to kill Agamemnon is a central plot point of Strauss' Elektra.
Richard Strauss chose to follow up the whirlwind success of Salome with Elektra, an opera that shares several points of similarity. Both works have a heroine who descends into insanity,  horrific offstage murder (two this time) and take place in a single, intense act that lasts about an hour and a half. However, Elektra much more than Strauss repeating himself: it was a great leap forward.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Metropolitan Opera Preview: La Traviata

The girl in the red dress goes back on the clock.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
Champagne supernova: Sonya Yoncheva in La Traviata at the Met.
Photo by Ken Howard © 2015 The Metropolitan Opera.
Sonya Yoncheva returns to sing Violetta in the Met's controversial, clock-watching production of Verdi's tragic masterpiece.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Superconductor Audio Guide: Salome

Richard Strauss' shocking opera still makes heads roll.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
Depravity: Salome (Camilla Nylund) with the head of Jokanaan (Alan Held)
at the climax of Salome at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia.
Photo by  Dominic M. Mercier © 2014 Opera Philadelphia/The Philadelphia Orchestra
When Richard Strauss unveiled Salome in  1905,  he was already a leading light among German composers and conductors. He was born in Bavaria, and his father Franz was =the principal horn player at the first Bayreuth performances of Wagner's Ring.

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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.