Last Thursday, I had the opportunity to attend City Opera for the first time this season to see a performance of Richard Strauss' Intermezzo: a two-act comedy of manners about a composer and his forlorn wife, who mistakenly accuses her husband of adultery while he is out on tour. (Yes, the opera is based on a real event that took place between Strauss and his headstrong wife, Pauline.)
The singers were all solid, especially Nicholas Pallesen as the composer Storch, and Mary Dunleavy as his wife, Christine. And, from what I could tell, the orchestra sounded fine under music director George Manahan. But, the real star here is the opera itself, which flows effortlessly over its three hour length, with a delightful and cutting libretto written by Strauss himself.
"You're always around the house," Christine says to Storch in the opening act. "Other husbands go off to the office."
"I never learned anything else," he replies. "My work brings me great pleasure."
"Work is never a pleasure."
Unfortunately, I wasn't able to stick around for the Act 4 afterparty, which featured free drinks and a performance by Active Child, fronted by former choir boy Pat Grossi. A nice throwback to the free Big Deal parties City Opera used to throw, before things went south on them a couple of years ago. Let's hope director George Steel has more tricks like that up his sleeve to help fend off the behemoth across the plaza. (More pics below.)