Jason Alexander in Bernstein's Candide in Concert
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The last date listed for Candide in Concert was Sunday July 6, 2008 / 8:15pm.
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Bernstein’s Candide in concert
Stephen Lord, conductor
Wolf Trap Opera Company
National Symphony Orchestra
The City Choir of Washington
Comic operetta in two acts (adaption of New York City Opera House version by Mauceri, Miller and Wells).
Book by Hugh Wheeler, after Voltaire. Lyrics by Richard Wilbur, Stephen Sondheim, John La Touche, Lillian Hellman, Dorothy Parker and Leonard Bernstein (E).
Voltaire’s Candide (or Optimism) is a sprawling and bewildering satire that we mere mortals are hard pressed to comprehend. But it is a measure of Leonard Bernstein’s genius that when we take Candide’s musical journey, we feel simultaneously the naïveté of the optimistic young man and the jaded cynical world around him. Truly touching moments (Candide’s “It Must Be So”) mix with broad comedy (the Old Lady’s “I Am Easily Assimilated”) and unflinching parody (“What a Day for an Auto-da-fè!”), until it all washes away in the glorious “Make Our Garden Grow” finale.
Conductor Stephen Lord and the National Symphony Orchestra again work their magic in this concert staging format.
In the castle of Baron Thunder-Ten-Tronck in Westphalia, Dr. Pangloss tutors four children based on his philosophy that “all is for the best in this best of all possible worlds.” The children are Cunegonde and Maximilliam, the beautiful daughter and son of the Baron, Paquette, a servant girl, and Candide, a bastard cousin. Candide and Cunegonde fall in love and once their feelings are discovered, Candide is banished from Barony and tricked into joining the Bulgarian army to ravage his own homeland. After many misadventures, Candide is borne to Portugal where he discovers Cunegonde raped and almost dead. Pangloss, who is now a begger, is also discovered and they are reunited and sentenced before the Spanish Inquisition and Pangloss is hanged. Candide manages to escape with Cunegonde, thanks to the Old Lady, and they set forth on a harrowing journey to the New World. There they are reunited with Maximilian (disguised as a woman) and Paquette, whom the Governor of Cartagena, Colombia has purchased as concubines. The Governor falls for Maximilian and is so disgusted upon learning his true gender that he decides to execute him, but later decides to sell him to a monastery instead. Candide and Maximilian argue over Curegonde and Candide stabs Maximilian. After further misadventures and becoming separated from his friends once more, Candide ends up leaving the New World and making his way back across the ocean where he is again joined by Maximilian (newly brought back to life), Paquette, and eventually even Cunegonde who has since become a prostitute in a gambling casino. Destitute, the four go to see a wise man that turns out to be Pangloss who survived the hanging. Their old teacher reveals new wisdom to the quartet that man must “work from dawn til’ dusk, in the fields, patiently learning to make his garden grow.”