From its sparkling overture to its virtuoso arias, ‘Candide’ has attracted attention and controversy since its Broadway premier in 1956. The history of the work is as fascinating as its subject matter, based on the novel by Voltaire with contributions by literary luminaries such as Lillian Hellman and Dorothy Parker (with mixed success) to the outstanding version created by the Royal National Theatre in 1999 and staged here for the first time at West Green House Opera.
An essentially simple ‘rite of passage’ tale follows the young man Candide and his apparently perfect life in Westphalia through a round-the-world romp as he tests the theory that his life is, in fact, ‘the best of all possible worlds’. Bernstein’s outstanding score and the witty words of Hugh Wheeler make this satirical masterpiece of universal appeal, blurring the boundaries between opera and musical theatre to exhilarating effect. This fully staged production is presented as part of the Bernstein 100 Celebration, marking the centenary of the birth of Leonard Bernstein.