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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.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Keeping Up With The Strausses

On Sunday afternoon at 1:30, the City Opera will revive its stellar production of Intermezzo at Lincoln Center.

Richard Strauss
This is a rare opportunity to experience this lesser-known opera by Richard Strauss. Like the Cit Opera's other fall offering, (Leonard Bernstein's A Quiet Place) the Strauss opera has a domestic setting, and has struggled to find its own place in the repertory.

Perhaps that's because Strauss based this little comedy on his own life. He wrote the libretto himself, renaming the central character "Robert Storch." The plot deals with a real incident in Strauss' marriage, involving some Vienna Philharmonic tickets, a misunderstanding, and his wife, Pauline, here renamed "Christine."

As with most Strauss operas, Intermezzo has its moments of orchestral virtuosity depicting moments in everyday life. Memorable moments include the musical depiction of a backstage card game, (Strauss loved to play cards and would regularly take his fellow musicians to the cleaners before a performance) and a skiing holiday.

The part of Christine is a challenge for any soprano. (Strauss' wife was a professional singer herself, and her husband wrote the part accordingly.) Here, Mary Dunleavy tackles the role, which was originated in this production by the great Lauren Flanigan. Expect a review to appear in Superconductor sometime next week.

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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.