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Subject: Richard Strauss's Operas..."Intermezzo".
From: DAN KESSLER <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:DAN KESSLER <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Tue, 2 Dec 2008 21:15:33 -0500
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In haste, I seem to have skated over Strauss's "Intermezzo" ...(sorry for 
the pun...you know...the scene where the emotionally wounded Christine 
retreats to a winter resort)...Ha!

Maybe it was the setting...or the cast...or perhaps the haze of memory...

My first encounter with this minor Strauss bauble  -- the 1964 Munich 
Strauss Festwochen as seen at the then newly restored 
CuvilliÚstheatre...the lovely baroque gem of a theater...it featured 
Herrmann Prey as the much put upon Hofkapellmeister Richard Storch and 
Hanny Steffak as his termagant wife, Christine.

That "Intermezzo" was a delight! The sum of the parts... the ambiance... 
the cast...added up to a greater "whole." British Opera highly praised it 
at the time.

And later on at Glyndebourne in 1974, long before the theater became more 
"high tech"...there was that wonderful John Cox production of "Intermezzo" 
that featured Elisabeth S÷derstr÷m as Christine.

While the intermezzi played out, a front curtain was lowered, one with a 
filigreed, lacy border that showed the lady in question in silhouette, with 
each one cleverly mirroring her increasing high dudgeon. As I recall, faces 
of other Glyndebourne audience members were wreathed in smiles.

It all goes to show how a piece that mostly remains on the margins of the 
standard rep, when imaginatively done, can come off in a superior way -- 
within the confines of a small theater...such as the CuvilliÚstheatre or 
Glyndebourne -- that is, the Glyndebourne of former years before it was 
enlarged and the "new" theater took on a more utilitarian look.

Kind regards,
Dan Kessler 

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