These two performances of Candide (matinee on 8th December and evening on 9th December) round off the celebrations of Bernstein’s centenary year, and it is very fitting that they should be conducted by Marin Alsop, who was herself mentored by the composer of this so-called “operetta”, albeit one on the most extraordinary and outrageous scale.
The soloists include Leonardo Capalbo (as Candide), Jane Archibald (as Cunegonde), Anne Sofie von Otter (as The Old Lady) and Sir Thomas Allen (as Dr Pangloss and the Narrator). The staging will be by Garnett Bruce.
Candide was originally conceived by Lillian Hellamn as a play with incidental music. Bernstein, however, was so excited about this idea that he convinced her to do it as a “comic operetta”, and she then wrote the original libretto. Many lyricists worked on the show: James Agee (whose work was ultimately not used), Dorothy Parker, John Latouche and Richard Wilbur. In addition, the lyrics to “I Am Easily Assimilated” were by Leonard and Felicit Bernstein and Hellman wrote the words to “Eldorado”.
Although the show itself as a whole received mixed reviews at its opening, the music was immediately a hit. Bernstein himself conducted and recorded what he called his “final revised version” in the award-winning recording made in 1989 at the Barbican, with the LSO and the London Symphony Chorus. To culminate the Bernstein centenary year with these performances, conducted by Marin Alsop, will be a particular joy for the Chorus.