Playbill from 1974 revival
|Basis||Candide, novella by Voltaire|
1957 New York Philharmonic
1973 Broadway revival
1982 New York City Opera
1988 Scottish Opera Version
1997 Broadway revival
1998 Royal National Theatre
2004 & 2005 New York Philharmonic
2006 Théâtre du Châtelet
2008 New York City Opera
2010 Goodman Theatre (Chicago) & Shakespeare Theatre (DC)
|Awards||Tony Award for Best Book
Drama Desk for Outstanding Book
Candide is an operetta with music composed by Leonard Bernstein, based on the novella of the same name by Voltaire. The operetta was first performed in 1956 with a libretto by Lillian Hellman; but since 1974 it has been generally performed with a book by Hugh Wheeler which is more faithful to Voltaire's novel. The primary lyricist was the poet Richard Wilbur. Other contributors to the text were John Latouche, Dorothy Parker, Lillian Hellman, Stephen Sondheim, Leonard Bernstein, John Mauceri, and John Wells. Maurice Peress and Hershy Kay contributed orchestrations. Although unsuccessful at its premiere, Candide has now overcome the unenthusiastic reaction of early audiences and critics and achieved enormous popularity. It is very popular among major music schools as a student show because of the quality of its music and the opportunities it offers to student singers.
Candide was originally conceived by Lillian Hellman as a play with incidental music in the style of her previous work, The Lark. Bernstein, however, was so excited about this idea that he convinced Hellman to do it as a "comic operetta"; she then wrote the original libretto for the operetta. Many lyricists worked on the show: first James Agee (whose work was ultimately not used), then Dorothy Parker, John Latouche and Richard Wilbur. In addition, the lyrics to "I Am Easily Assimilated" were done by Leonard and Felicia Bernstein, and Hellman wrote the words to "Eldorado". Hershy Kay orchestrated all but the overture, which Bernstein did himself.
Performance history 
1956 Original Broadway production 
Candide first opened on Broadway as a musical on December 1, 1956. The premiere production was directed by Tyrone Guthrie and conducted by Samuel Krachmalnick. The sets and costumes were designed by Oliver Smith and Irene Sharaff, respectively. It was choreographed by Anna Sokolow. It featured Robert Rounseville as Candide, Barbara Cook as Cunégonde, Max Adrian as Dr. Pangloss, and Irra Petina as the Old Lady. This production was a box office disaster, running only two months for a total of 73 performances. Hellman's libretto was criticized in a The New York Times review as being too serious:
|“||When Voltaire is ironic and bland, [Hellman] is explicit and vigorous. When he makes lightning, rapier thrusts, she provides body blows. Where he is diabolical, [she] is humanitarian ... the libretto ... seems too serious for the verve and mocking lyricism of Leonard Bernstein's score which, without being strictly 18th century, maintains, with its gay pastiche of past styles and forms, a period quality.||”|
European premieres 
The first London production debuted at the Saville Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue on 30 April 1959 (after playing for a short time at the New Theatre Oxford and the Manchester Opera House). This production used Lillian Hellman's book with an additional credit 'assisted by Michael Stewart', and it was directed by Robert Lewis with choreography by Jack Cole. The cast included Denis Quilley as Candide, Mary Costa as Cunegonde, Laurence Naismith as Dr. Pangloss and Edith Coates as the Old Lady. It ran for 60 performances.
Later productions 
||This section needs additional citations for verification. (February 2010)|
Without Bernstein's involvement, the show underwent a series of Broadway revivals under the direction of Harold Prince. Lillian Hellman, the author of the original book, refused to let any of her work be used in the revival, so Prince commissioned a new, one-act book from Hugh Wheeler. The sole element of Hellman's book that remained was her name (Maximilian) for Cunegonde's brother. (The character has no given name in Voltaire's novella.)
The lyrics were worked on by the team of artists listed above. This 105-minute version, omitting over half of the musical numbers, was known as the "Chelsea version", and opened in 1973 at Robert Kalfin's Chelsea Theater Center in the Brooklyn Academy of Music, before moving to Broadway in 1974 and running there for nearly two years. The 1974 Broadway revival starred Mark Baker (Candide), Maureen Brennan (Cunegonde), Sam Freed (Maximilian), Lewis J. Stadlen (Dr. Pangloss), and June Gable as the Old Lady.
The Chelsea version was marked by a unique production style. Eugene Lee helped Prince make sure that the multi-scene show would not get bogged down in set changes - he created platforms for the action that allowed scenes to change by refocusing attention instead of changing scenery. Actors performed on platforms in front, behind, and sometimes between audience members. Some sat on bleachers, others on stools on the stage floor. As the story unfolded, so did the stage, with sections falling from above, opening, closing, flying apart or coming together. A 13-member orchestra played from four areas. The conductor, who wore period costume and gold braid, could be seen by audience and musicians alike on television monitors.
In response to requests from opera companies for a more legitimate version, the show was expanded on the basis of Wheeler's book. The two-act "opera house version" contains most of Bernstein's music, including some songs that were not orchestrated for the original production. It was first performed by the New York City Opera in 1982 under Prince's direction, and ran for thirty-four performances. Opera companies around the world have performed this version, and the production was a staple of New York City Opera's repertoire.
In 1988, by which point Hellman had died, Bernstein started working alongside John Mauceri, then director of Scottish Opera, to produce a version that expressed his final wishes regarding Candide. Wheeler died before he could work again on the text, and John Wells was engaged. The new show was first produced by Scottish Opera with the credit "Adapted for Scottish Opera by John Wells and John Mauceri". After Bernstein had attended the final rehearsals and the opening in Glasgow, he decided that the time had come for the composer himself to re-examine Candide. Taking the Scottish Opera version as a basis, he made changes in orchestration, shuffled the order of numbers in the second Act, and altered the endings of several numbers. Bernstein then conducted and recorded what he called his "final revised version" with Jerry Hadley as Candide, June Anderson as Cunegonde, Christa Ludwig as the Old Lady, and Adolph Green as Dr. Pangloss. Deutsche Grammophon released a DVD (2006, 147 min.), in 5.0 surround sound, of the 13 December 1989 recording at the London Barbican Centre, with a bonus video prologue and epilogue from the composer and a printed insert "Bernstein and Voltaire" by narrative collaborator Wells explaining what Bernstein wanted in this final revised version. A CD version, without Bernstein's commentary or audience applause, was also released by Deutsche Grammophon.
Ten years later (1999), when the Royal National Theatre in the UK decided to produce Candide, another revision was deemed necessary, and Wheeler's book was rewritten by John Caird. This book stuck far closer to Voltaire's original text than any previous version. The songs remained largely as Bernstein intended, bar a few more tweaks from Sondheim and Wilbur. This, the "RNT version", was a major success and has subsequently been performed a number of times.
Candide was revived on Broadway in 1997, directed again by Harold Prince. The cast included: Jason Danieley (Candide), Harolyn Blackwell (Cunegonde), Jim Dale (Dr. Pangloss), Andrea Martin (Old Lady), and Brent Barrett (Maximilian).
Lonny Price directed a 2004 semi-staged concert production with the New York Philharmonic under conductor Marin Alsop. It ran for four performances, May 5–8, 2004. This production was also broadcast on PBS's Great Performances. The first-night performance was recorded and released as a DVD (2005, 116 min., 5.1 sound). The cast featured Paul Groves as Candide, Kristin Chenoweth as Cunegonde, Sir Thomas Allen as Dr. Pangloss, Patti LuPone as the Old Lady, Janine LaManna as Paquette, and Stanford Olsen as the Governor/Vanderdendur/Ragotski with choruses from both Westminster Choir College and the Juilliard School completing the cast. This production included two rarely sung duets between Cunegonde and the Old Lady, "We Are Women" and "Quiet", which were included in the more extensive Bernstein's 1989 final revised version.
In 2006, in honor of the 50th anniversary of the creation of Candide, the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris produced a new production under the direction of Robert Carsen. The production was to move to Milan's Teatro alla Scala in 2007 and to the English National Opera in 2008. The production transforms the proscenium into a giant 1950s-era TV set, and has Voltaire, appearing as the narrator, changing channels between certain scenes. Carsen sets the action in a 1950s-1960s world, with an American slant commenting on contemporary world politics. This production was filmed and broadcast on Arte. For an open-house day in French opera houses on February 17, 2007, this video was projected in high definition on a screen filling the proscenium of the Théâtre du Châtelet.
Candide continues to be produced around the world, with recent notable productions and performances including:
- A Vernon Mound-directed a production in Karlstad Sweden (2008)
- The Berkshire Theatre Festival of Massachusetts (2009)
- The Oberlin Conservatory of Music (2010)
- Seattle Celebrates Bernstein Festival, The 5th Avenue Theatre, Seattle, WA (2010)
- Goodman Theatre in Chicago in a co-production with The Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington DC is mounting a revised version directed by Mary Zimmerman with music direction by Doug Peck and featuring Geoff Packard, Lauren Molina, Larry Yando, Hollis Resnik, Jonathan Weir, Erik Lochtefeld, Margo Seibert, Jesse Perez and Tom Aulino (September–December 2010).
- Hollywood Bowl concert, conducted by Bramwell Tovey, with Richard Suart as Pangloss, Frederica von Stade as the Old Lady, Alek Shrader as the title character and Anna Christy as Cunegonde (September 2010)
- Candide (tenor)
- Pangloss (baritone; doubles with Martin in the 1956 stage version and Bernstein's 1989 revision. In the Hal Prince versions, he doubles with several other characters, including the narrator Voltaire and the Governor.)
- Maximilian (baritone, but can be played by a tenor; is a speaking role in the original 1956 version.)
- Cunégonde (soprano)
- Paquette (alto in versions of the musical from 1974 on. Although a major character in Voltaire's novella and all revivals of the show, she is a walk-on part with only one line in the 1956 stage version.)
- The Old Lady (alto)
- Martin (baritone. Doubles with Pangloss in the 1956 version and some later versions. Does not appear in the 1973 version.)
- Cacambo (speaking role. Does not appear in the 1956 or 1973 versions. Doubles with Pangloss and Martin in Bernstein's 1989 revisions.)
Act 1 
The operetta begins with an overture. The chorus welcomes everyone to Westphalia ("Westphalia Chorale") and Voltaire begins to narrate his story. Candide, the illegitimate nephew of Baron Thunder-ten-Tronck, lives in the Baron's castle Schloss Thunder-ten-Tronck. He is bullied by the Baroness and her son Maximillian. Paquette, a prostitute, also lives in the castle. However, Candide is in love with Cunegonde, the Baroness' daughter as Maximillian, Candide, Cunegonde and Paquette find their happiness in life ("Life is Happiness Indeed"). The four discover that Dr. Pangloss, a man thought to be the world's greatest philosopher, has taught them happiness ("The Best of All Possible Worlds"). The philosopher asks his students to summarize what they have learned ("Universal Good"). Professing their love to each other at a park, Candide and Cunegonde dream of what married life would look like ("Oh, Happy We"). The Baron, however, is angered at what Candide has done to Cunegonde, as he is a social inferior. Candide is promptly exiled, wandering alone with his faith and optimism to cling to ("It Must Be So"). He is then recruited by the Bulgar Army, who plots to liberate Schloss Thunder-ten-Tronck. His escape attempt fails, and is recaptured by the Army. The Bulgar Army decides to attack Westphalia. In the castle, the Baron's family prays as the chorus joins in ("Westphalia"). However, the city is promptly attacked, and the Baroness and Cunegonde are both killed ("Battle Music"). Candide returns to the castle's ruins and searches for Cunegonde ("Candide's Lament").
Some time later, Candide becomes a beggar. He gives the last of his coins to Pangloss, who reveals that he was revived by an anatomist's scalpel. He then tells Candide of his syphilis condition brought on by Paquette ("Dear Boy"). A merchant offers the two employment before sailing off to Lisbon, Portugal. However, as they arrive, a volcano erupts and the ensuing earthquake results in the death of 30,000 people. Pangloss and Candide are blamed for their actions, arrested as heretics and publicly tortured to face the Grand Inquisitor. Pangloss is hanged and Candide is flogged ("Auto-da-fé"). Candide eventually ends up in Paris, France, where Cunegonde dances with Don Issachar and the city's Cardinal Archbishop ("The Paris Waltz"). She contemplates what she has done while in Paris ("Glitter and Be Gay"). Candide finds Cunegonde and reunites with her ("You Were Dead, You Know"). However, the Old Lady, Cunegonde's companion, forewarns Cunegonde and Candide of Issachar and the Archbishop's arrival. Candide inadvertently kills the two by stabbing them with a knife.
The three flee to Cadiz, Spain with Cunegonde's jewels, where the Old Lady tells Candide and Cunegonde about her past. The jewels are stolen and the Old Lady offers to sing for Candide's dinner ("I Am Easily Assimilated"). The French police arrive and attempt to apprehend Candide for murdering Issachar and the Archbishop. Candide soon befriends Cacambo, and accepts him as his valet. Accepting an offer to fight the Jesuits in South America against the Spanish government, Candide decides to take Cunegonde and the Old Lady to the New World, and the four begin their journey on a ship ("Quartet Finale").
Act 2 
In Montevideo, Uruguay, Maximillian and Paquette, now revived and disguised as slave girls, reunite. Soon after, Don Fernando d'Ibaraa y Figueroa y Mascarenes y Lampourdos y Souza, the governor of the city, falls in love with Maximilian, but quickly realizes his mistake and has a priest ("My Love"). Meanwhile, Candide, Cunegonde and the Old Lady also arrive in Montevideo, where the Governor falls in love with Cunegonde. The Old Lady convinces Cunegonde that her marriage to the governor will support her financially ("We Are Women"). Candide and Cacambo eventually stumble upon a Jesuit camp and are joined by the Father and Mother Superiors ("The Pilgrims' Procession - Alleluia"). Candide soon discovers that the Mother Superior is actually Paquette and the Father Superior is Maximilian. When Candide tells Maximilian that he will marry Cunegonde, however, Maximilian angrily challenges him to a fight. However, Maximilian is once again inadvertently stabbed to death by Candide. Candide is forced to flee into the jungle as a result.
Three years later, Cunegonde and the Old Lady discuss the miseries shared by the upper classes ("Quiet"). Meanwhile, Candide and Cacambo are starving and lost in the jungles. Finding a boat in the ocean, they float downriver into a cavern for 24 hours until they finally reach Eldorado, the city of gold ("Introduction to Eldorado"). The two discover that the locals worship one god as opposed to three, palaces of science, rosewater and stones with cinnamon and clove scents. Dissatisfied without Cunegonde, Candide steals the town's golden sheep and attempts to leave, but is stopped by the locals. They construct a lift that will guide him, Cacambo and the sheep over the mountain ("The Ballad of Eldorado"). One by one, the sheep die until only two remain. Unwilling to go back to Montevideo, Candide gives Cacambo one of the golden sheep to ransom Cunegonde, telling them that they will meet again in Venice, Italy.
Arriving at Suriname, Candide meets Martin, a local pessimist. He shows him a slave with one hand and one foot, which is the result of Europeans eating sugar. Candide is unable to convince Martin otherwise ("Words, Words, Words"). Vanderdendur, a Dutch villain, offers his ship, the Santa Rosalia, in exchange for the golden sheep. Candide is excited when he is told that the Santa Rosalia is to depart for Venice. The locals and Vandendur wish Candide a safe journey to Venice ("Bon Voyage"). However, the ship sinks, and Martin and Vandendur drown as a result. After reuniting with his golden sheep, Candide boards a galley, meeting five deposed kings. The galley is rowed by Pangloss, revived once again. The kings say that they will live humbly, serving both god and men, and Pangloss leads their debate ("The Kings' Barcarolle").
The ship arrives in Venice, where the Carnival festival is taking place ("Money, Money, Money"). While the kings play roulette and baccarat, Candide searches for Cunegonde and meets Maximilian, who is revived once again and now is the corrupt Prefect of Police and the town's leader. Paquette is now one of the town's prostitutes. Cunegonde and the Old Lady are employed to encourage the gamblers ("What's the Use?"). Pangloss celebrates a victory after winning roulette, and spends her money with the other ladies ("The Venice Gavotte"). Candide, however, begins to have doubts of his life ("Nothing More Than This"). Candide returns to Westphalia in distraught and the others purchase a small farm. Candide does not speak for several days and the chorus says that life is just life and paradise is nothing ("Universal Good"). Candide finally speaks and resolves to marry Cunegonde ("Make Our Garden Grow").
Though the show as a whole received mixed reviews at its opening, the music was immediately a hit. Much of the score was recorded on an original cast album, which was a success and is still in print as of 2009.
"Glitter and Be Gay" 
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Cunegonde's coloratura aria "Glitter and Be Gay" is a favourite showpiece for many sopranos. Barbara Cook's performance of the aria at its introduction impressed audience and critics, bringing her wide recognition.
This aria poses some difficulties. Technically, it is among the most fiendishly challenging coloratura soprano arias. If sung as written throughout (alternative phrases are provided at several points in the score), there are three high E-flats (above high C), two staccato and one sustained; there are also numerous uses of high C and D-flat. Some of the florid passages are very intricate, calling for marksmanship of the highest order. Theatrically, it demands an elaborate comic staging, in which Cunegonde adorns herself with jewellery while singing and dancing around the stage (much as does Marguerite in the "Jewel Song" of Gounod's Faust), and has a satirical quality that is a challenge to perform.
Subsequent performers of the role of Cunegonde have included:
- Mary Costa (in the 1959 London premiere)
- Madeline Kahn (in a 1968 concert version)
- Maureen Brennan (In Hal Prince's first Broadway revival of the show in 1974)
- Erie Mills (at the New York City Opera in 1982)
- June Anderson (under Bernstein's direction in concerts and a 1989 recording shortly before his death)
- Constance Hauman (understudy to Anderson, filled in for at least one performance)
- Elizabeth Futral (at Lyric Opera of Chicago in 1994)
- Michael Callen (in his 1996 posthumously released LEGACY 2-CD album)
- Harolyn Blackwell (in Hal Prince's 1997 Broadway revival of the show).
- Kristin Chenoweth (in a 2004 concert production with the New York Philharmonic; recorded with many other orchestras including the Boston Pops)
- Lauren Molina (in Mary Zimmerman's 2010 production at the Goodman Theatre)
This aria has been performed in concert by many musical theatre and opera stars, including (in addition to those listed above): Diana Damrau (Munich, 2006, Bayerisches Staatsorchester, Zubin Mehta), Natalie Dessay, Renée Fleming, Edita Gruberová, Sumi Jo, Simone Kermes, Roberta Peters, and Dawn Upshaw.
The overture 
The Overture to Candide soon earned a place in the orchestral repertoire. After a successful first concert performance on January 26, 1957, by the New York Philharmonic under the composer's baton, it quickly became popular and was performed by nearly 100 other orchestras within the next two years. Since that time, it has become one of the most frequently performed orchestral compositions by a 20th century American composer; in 1987, it was the most often performed piece of concert music by Bernstein.
The overture incorporates tunes from the songs "The Best of All Possible Worlds", "Battle Music", "Oh, Happy We", and "Glitter and Be Gay" and melodies composed specifically for the overture. Much of the music is written in time signatures such as 6/4 and 3/2, which are often combined with 4/4 and 2/2 to make effective 5/2s and 7/2s in places by rapid, regular switching between them and 3/2.
While many orchestrations of the overture exist, in its current incarnation for full symphony orchestra, which incorporates changes made by Bernstein during performances in December 1989, the piece requires a standard-sized contemporary orchestra of piccolo, two flutes, two oboes, an E-flat and two B-flat clarinets, bass clarinet, two bassoons, contrabassoon, four horns, two trumpets, three trombones, tuba, timpani, a large but standard percussion contingent, harp, and a standard string section. It is approximately four and a half minutes long. The theatre-sized orchestration, as in the published full score of the operetta, includes one flute doubling on piccolo, one oboe, two clarinets rotating between an E-flat, B-flat, and bass, one bassoon, two horns, two trumpets, two trombones, one tuba, standard orchestral percussion, harp, and strings. Main differences between the two are doublings and increased use of percussion effects (especially the addition of a drum roll during the opening fanfares) in the symphony orchestral arrangement. Differences between the first publication and later printings (of both orchestrations) include a slowed opening tempo (half note equal 132 instead of 152). An arrangement for standard wind ensemble also exists, composed by Clare Grundman in 1991, published under Boosey and Hawkes.
At a memorial concert for Bernstein in 1990, the New York Philharmonic paid tribute to their Laureate Conductor by performing the overture without a conductor. This practice has become a performance tradition still maintained by the Philharmonic.
Musical numbers 
Awards and nominations 
Original Broadway production 
|1957||Tony Award||Best Musical||Nominated|
|Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical||Irra Petina||Nominated|
|Best Conductor and Musical Director||Samuel Krachmalnick||Nominated|
|Best Scenic Design||Oliver Smith||Nominated|
|Best Costume Design||Irene Sharaff||Nominated|
1973 Broadway revival 
|1974||Tony Award||Best Book of a Musical||Hugh Wheeler||Won|
|Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical||Lewis J. Stadlen||Nominated|
|Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical||Mark Baker||Nominated|
|Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical||Maureen Brennan||Nominated|
|Best Direction of a Musical||Harold Prince||Won|
|Best Scenic Design||Franne Lee and Eugene Lee||Won|
|Best Costume Design||Franne Lee||Won|
|Drama Desk Award||Outstanding Book of a Musical||Hugh Wheeler||Won|
|Outstanding Director||Harold Prince||Won|
|Outstanding Choreography||Patricia Birch||Won|
|Outstanding Set Design||Franne Lee and Eugene Lee||Won|
|Outstanding Costume Design||Franne Lee||Won|
1997 Broadway revival 
|1997||Tony Award||Best Revival of a Musical||Nominated|
|Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical||Jim Dale||Nominated|
|Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical||Andrea Martin||Nominated|
|Best Costume Design||Judith Dolan||Won|
|Drama Desk Award||Outstanding Revival of a Musical||Nominated|
|Outstanding Actor in a Musical||Jim Dale||Nominated|
|Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical||Andrea Martin||Nominated|
|Outstanding Set Design||Clarke Dunham||Nominated|
Original London production 
|2000||Laurence Olivier Award||Best Musical Revival||Won|
|Best Actor in a Musical||Simon Russell Beale||Won|
|Best Performance in a Supporting Role in a Musical||Denis Quilley||Nominated|
|Best Theatre Choreographer||Peter Darling||Nominated|
|Best Costume Design||Elise and John Napier||Nominated|
- Music Theatre International. Candide (1973)
- Hutchins, Michael H. A Guide to Leonard Bernstein's Candide
- Kerr, Walter. The New York Times. December 30, 1973
- Peyser, Joan (1987). Bernstein, a biography. New York: Beech Tree Books. p. 248. ISBN 0-688-04918-4.
- Napoleon, Davi. Chelsea on the Edge: The Adventures of an American Theater
- Jones, Kenneth. "Lauren Molina and Geoff Packard Are Optimists of Goodman Candide Beginning Sept. 17". Playbill.com, 17 September 2010
- Shakespeare Theatre Company. .
- Swed, Mark. "Music review: Candide at the Hollywood Bowl". Los Angeles Times, 3 September 2010
- Leonard Bernstein, Lillian Hellman, and Richard Wilbur et al. Candide: Original Broadway Cast Recording. Columbia Masterworks, 1957.
- Amazon.com. Candide (1956 Original Broadway Cast)
- Howard Goldstein: "Barbara Cook", Grove Music Online ed. L. Macy (Accessed December 04, 2008), (subscription access)
- New York Philharmonic: Program Notes for Overture to Candide
- MacDonald, Malcolm. Preface to the score of the Overture to Candide. Bernstein: Orchestral Anthology, volume 2. Boosey & Hawkes, 1998. ISBN 0-85162-218-6; ISMN M060107627
- Bernstein's Candide: WNYC Program Notes
- Hutchins. 1989 Leonard Bernstein Recording (also known as The Final Revised Version) 
- Candide at the official Leonard Bernstein website.
- Candide at the Internet Broadway Database
- A Guide to Leonard Bernstein's Candide
- List of articles about Candide
- Live, Laugh, Love: Candide
- Great Performances: Leonard Bernstein's "Candide" in Concert
- June Anderson sings "Glitter and Be Gay", Leonard Bernstein conducting, London, 1989.
- Diana Damrau sings "Glitter and Be Gay", WM-Concert 2006.
- International Herald Tribune article on 2006 Théâtre du Châtelet production