Leonard Bernstein’s operetta CANDIDE (1956)—musical theater’s polymorphous masterpiece—started out as a Cold War retort against McCarthyism, with a libretto by Lillian Hellman, and lyrics by film writer James Agee (which were dropped), Richard Wilber, John Latouche, and Dorothy Parker. In the 1970s, a book by Hugh Wheeler—truer to Voltaire’s satire—replaced Hellman’s (who had prohibited use of her work in any revivals).
The acclaimed production now at the Music Center—directed by Glimmerglass Festival general director Francesca Zambello, and conducted by James Conlon—is a co-production of Glimmerglass, the Opéra National de Bordeaux, and Théâtre du Capitole de Toulouse, and features the John Caird libretto from his 1999 Royal National Theatre staging.
Jack Swanson stars as Candide, the disillusioned optimist, and Erin Morley as his elusive love Cunegonde. Broadway legend Christine Ebersole plays the Old Lady, and Kelsey Grammer performs double duty as Voltaire and the misguided Professor Pangloss.
Thursday, February 8, at 7:30 pm; Sunday, February 11, at 2 pm; Thursday, February 15, at 7:30 pm; and Saturday and Sunday, February 17 and 18, at 2 pm.
DOROTHY CHANDLER PAVILION, Music Center, downtown Los Angeles.
Erin Morley, Brian Michael Moore, and Danny Lindgren in Candide, L.A. Opera, 2018.
Morley, Jack Swanson, and Christine Ebersole in Candide, L.A. Opera, 2018. Photographs by Ken Howard.