Leonard Bernstein

A comic operetta in two acts

Scenic performance of the Concert Version

Music by Leonard Bernstein
Book by Hugh Wheeler after Voltaire
Lyrics by Richard Wilbur

with additional lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, John LaTouche, Dorothy Parker, Lillian Hellman and Leonard Bernstein 
Instrumentation by Leonard Bernstein and Hershy Kay 
Musical transitions and additional orchestration by John Mauceri 
Narrative text for concert performances by Leonard Bernstein and John Wells, 
based on the satire by Voltaire and the book by Hugh Wheeler; 
arranged and completed by Erik Haagensen


Why is the world in crisis when everyone seemingly only wants the best? We are living in the best of all possible worlds. This is what the young Candide is taught by his teacher Pangloss. And even though Candide experiences war, plagues and natural disasters, even though his home is destroyed, his beloved Cunegonde is raped and he himself escapes death by the skin of his teeth on several occasions, he remains an incorrigible optimist as he travels boldly through the Old World and the New World. When Voltaire wrote his novel Candide in 1759, the Lisbon earthquake had just shaken humanity’s faith in the divine order to the core, and when Leonard Bernstein composed a very American operetta based on the novel in 1956 the world was in the grip of the Cold War. Today, the world is going through one crisis after another, and the satirical operetta Candide describes the absurdity of this world better than it ever did. Leonard Bernstein’s score, which he revised several times, is a tribute to the history of music in Europe, full of witty parodies and brilliant orchestrations. Marin Alsop, principal conductor of the ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra and herself a pupil of Bernstein’s, will conduct Candide; the American director Lydia Steier stages the operetta as a big stage show.





In English with German and English surtitles

Introduction to the work 30 minutes before curtain-up


Candide Auszeichnung mit dem Operettenfrosch © Vereinigte Bühnen Wien




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