Jac van Steen discusses Intermezzo

Jac van Steen, one of the Netherlands' most active conductors, brings his unique brand of energy and eclecticism to Garsington Opera in 2015. Here he describes the intricacies which drew him to Strauss's Intermezzo.

"Richard Strauss not only wrote the music for Intermezzo, but also provided a libretto, with a few incidents from his own tumultuous 'bourgeois' life forming the core of the story. The product was a daily-life conversation-play that opened up new vistas in 20th century opera. As we listen, we can hear the fun Richard Strauss must have had in writing the piece, with its brilliant themes, several orchestral 'intermezzos' and encounters with Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro, Weber's Der Freischütz, Schumann's Symphony No. 1 and even Wagner's Tristan-chord from the opening phrase of Tristan und Isolde (to mention just a few of the more then 50 musical quotes the composer uses in this score). All this demonstrates Strauss’s extraordinary musicianship and gives an idea of the exquisite soundscapes we hope to recreate in the wonderful Garsington Opera Pavilion. I feel privileged in having the ideal partner for this production in director Bruno Ravella, who believes, as I do, that the psychology and strong characters of the protagonists are central to the story and must shine through. Similarly, the superb cast guarantees an exciting evening, which will confront us with the joys and sorrow of marriage and daily-life."

Jac van Steen conducts Intermezzo as part of our 2015 Season with performances on: 6, 8, 14, 20, 26 June & 2, 5, 7, 9 July

Find out more about Intermezzo