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1994 production photo from Intermezzo

Intermezzo 1994

July 23 - August 25, 1994

A near tragedy is averted…

…after a passionate love letter mistakenly falls into the hands of a shrewish wife in Richard Strauss’ charming autobiographical domestic comedy.

Music and Libretto By
Richard Strauss


Act I

Robert Storch is about to leave his home in Grundlsee for Vienna. He is in his dressing room, packing with the help of his wife, Christine. She is thoroughly bad-tempered, abusing both the maid and the cook and constantly chiding her husband, reminding him that she comes from a far better family. She confides to her maid that her most adamant complaint is her husband’s unwavering kindness and gentleness. As he is about to depart, she laments her actions and expresses her love. Afterward, Christine accepts a neighbor’s invitation to go sledding.

Christine, sledding downhill, collides with a skier, whom she immediately chastises, complaining that she has been hurt. However, her mood quickly changes when she learns that the skier is the well-connected Baron Lummer. She informs him that she is the wife of the famous composer Storch and invites him to visit her.

Christine and Baron Lummer, who we learn is in Grundlsee for his health, are seen waltzing at a nearby inn.

Because of the Baron’s ill health, Christine rents a room for him in the house of the local Notary. She describes the Baron’s interests and ailments to the Notary’s Wife in a somewhat protective fashion.

In the dining room of her home, Christine writes to her husband of the discovery of her new, young escort. The Baron arrives and reveals his dire need for money to continue his education because his family is not supportive of his chosen field. She avoids the subject of lending him money but hints that her husband would help once he returns. After his departure, Christine dreams about the young man and thinks fondly of her husband.

In his room at the Notary’s house, the Baron thinks of his idle evening with Christine and becomes impatient with her demands. A girl friend arrives to keep an appointment; he promises to join her later and writes a letter to his “patroness,” requesting money.

In her dining room, Christine reads the Baron’s letter, in which he asks for a thousand marks. The Baron arrives, and she scolds him for his impossible demands. The maid enters with another letter, this time addressed to Christine’s husband. Nevertheless, she opens it and reads aloud: it is an endearing note from a woman, arranging opera plans, with a promise to meet afterward in the bar. Despairing, Christine telegrams Storch, accusing him of infidelity and saying that they must part forever.

In her son’s bedroom, Christine complains to Franzl of the abuses of his father toward her, but he will not hear of such things, saying that it is she who causes the scenes and that his father is kind and good. In a melodramatic mood, she kneels by Franzl’s bed to pray.

Act II

In Vienna, Storch joins friends for a card game. The men have been gossiping about Storch and his disagreeable wife. They are amused when he reveals that he has received the letter in which Christine tells him about Baron Lummer. At that moment, Christine’s telegram arrives, accusing Storch of infidelity and naming the woman who sent the letter. Shocked, Storch asks his friend Stroh to read it aloud. Stroh knows the woman and is surprised at the composer’s involvement. However, Storch does not know her and can make nothing of the telegram. In distress, he hurries from the room.

In Grundlsee, Christine asks the Notary to represent her in a divorce case. He assumes that this request is a result of her relationship with the Baron, but she hints at having evidence against her husband. The Notary incites her anger by saying he will not proceed until he has consulted Storch, whom he greatly respects.

Storch is wandering in a rainy park, completely frustrated over his situation, as none of his telegrams to his wife have been answered. Stroh joins him and explains that he knows the woman and that the letter was meant for him; the similarity of their names caused the confusion. At this explanation, torch is greatly relieved and insists that they go to Grundlsee to right the situation with his wife.

In the chaos of her bedroom, Christine is packing to leave. The many telegrams from her husband have caused her to think perhaps she has made a mistake, and she regrets having sent the Baron to Vienna to seek the “truth” from the other woman. A last telegram arrives from the composer, saying that his friend Stroh is on his way to explain the mix-up. As Christine reads the telegram, his arrival is announced.

In the dining room, Christine excitedly waits for Storch, but when he appears, she greet him coldly. She replies that he is unappreciative of her suffering, but he loses his temper at her self-pity, scolds her verbally and leaves the room. She is astonished at his attitude, but strangely pleased. The Baron enters to report he has seen the woman who claims to know Storch. Christine, however, now knowing the truth, dismisses him. Storch returns and pretends to be jealous of the Baron. She says that he is unimportant in her life and tells of his requests for money. Storch thinks all is humorous, and he and Christine are reconciled in their marriage.


Sheri Greenawald headshot

Sheri Greenawald



Dale Duesing headshot

Dale Duesing


Robert Storch

Glenn Siebert headshot

Glenn Siebert


Baron Lummer

William Dooley headshot

William Dooley



Anthony Laciura headshot

Anthony Laciura



Erie Mills headshot

Erie Mills



Judith Christin headshot

Judith Christin



Joyce Castle headshot

Joyce Castle


The Notary's Wife

Catherine Naglestad headshot

Catherine Naglestad



Kevin Langan headshot

Kevin Langan


An Opera Singer

Santa Fe Opera

Laura Lamport



Eric S. Thomas headshot

Eric S. Thomas


A Businessman

Jamie Offenbach headshot

Jamie Offenbach


A Lawyer

Sara Seglem headshot

Sara Seglem



John Crosby headshot

John Crosby


Goran Jarvefelt headshot

Göran Järvefelt



Ken Cazan headshot

Ken Cazan


Carl Friedrich Oberle headshot

Carl Friedrich Oberle

Scenic & Costume Designer

Amy Appleyard headshot

Amy Appleyard

Lighting Designer