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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, October 24, 2016

Opera Review: The Brontë Theorem

The Center for Contemporary Opera unveils Jane Eyre.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
It's up to the woman upstairs: Jennifer Zetlan as Jane Eyre. 
Photo by Steven Pisano © 2016 Steven Pisano Photography, courtesy CCO.

One of the best things about the new operatic adaptation of Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre is that it doesn't tell the whole story. Written by composer Louis Karchin, this opera is at once a retelling of the celebrated novel and something of a throwback to the way opera were written a century ago. The show was mounted in a handsome production at the Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College, as the big-budget centerpiece of the current festival season of the Center for Contemporary Opera. The libretto (by Diane Osin begins the tale in Part III of the novel, with Jane (Jennifer Zetlan) already situated as a governess at Thornfield, the vast and spooky house owned by Edward Rochester (Ryan MacPherson.).

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Concert Review: The Prodigy and the Proletarian

The Belcea Quartet play Schubert and Shostakovich.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
The Belcea Quartet (Corina Belcea, Axel Schacher, violins,
Antoine Lederlin, cello, Krzysztof Chorzelski, viola) in concert. Photo courtesy Carnegie Hall.

Although they lived in very different times, there are some parallels between the composers Franz Peter Schubert and Dmitri Shostakovich. Both men composed from a very early age. They lived in troubled, though very different eras, and faced incredible odds. For Schubert, his demon was a protracted and fatal illness that claimed his life at 32. Shostakovich's enemies were depression and the unpredictable political environment of Soviet Russia, where one false move could have fatal consequences.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Concert Review: He Bows For No Man

Violinist Leonidas Kavakos conducts the New York Philharmonic.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
The violinist Leonidas Kavakos led the New York Philharmonic on Friday morning.
Photo from the artist's website.
The New York Philharmonic returned to Lincoln Center this week, with a program of Bach, Busoni and Schumann. That’s fairly standard, except this brace of concerts under the direction of the program's principal soloist: the Greek violinist Leonidas Kavakos. Mr. Kavakos is the orchestra's 2016 Artist in Residence, an acclaimed soloist and a frequent visitor to the stage of David Geffen Hall. For part of Friday’s 11am matinee concert, he traded his vintage violin and bow for the more traditional little white baton.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Concert Review: It Came From Inner Space!

The Orb descend on Webster Hall.
by Paul J. Pelkonen

The Orb: Thomas Fehlmann and Dr. Alex Patterson at Webster Hall.
Photo by the author.
The sound came as a low, throbbing pulse, teasing at the senses and swelling, growing in volume and rising slightly, ever so slightly in pitch. It beckoned from two rooms away, deep in the maze that is Webster Hall, crooning and crooning its tendril-like fingers. The swelling sound called again, drawing the hypnotized and helpless listeners into the vast, lounges cavern of the Marlin Room, where The Orb were making their New York stop on their current North American tour.


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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.