Based on Voltaire's piercing satire. The adventures of the naive Candide, who searches for "the best of all possible worlds," maintaining his innocence and optimistic spirit despite many hardships.
“I first saw Bernstein conduct when I was 9,” says the well-known American conductor Marin Alsop. “I was in one of his youth concerts and from the moment he came on stage I was captured by the famous Bernstein magic. In my late twenties (she added in a Carnegie Hall interview), I was privileged to study with him, and the most special thing I learned from him was to tell a story through the music, if he did not know the story of a certain work, he would invent one, he said that we as human beings must have a story. We need a beginning, middle and end in the music to tell this story.” After her studies with Bernstein, Alsop developed an impressive career and is currently the music director of the Baltimore Orchestra.
The combination of a broad musical education, a deep understanding of the stage medium, and a wonderful melodic and orchestral ability characterize Candide.
The history of the work is interesting. It was originally written for Broadway between 1954 and 1956. With libretto by Lillian Hellman, the director of the original production was none other than Tyrone Guthrie. “Candide” survived 70 nights on Broadway, a respectable amount of shows, but not enough to deem the work a “hit.” It did, though, arouse enough interest for different versions to emerge through various attempts at reviving the musical. The concert version of the piece, which the IPO is performing, was created in 1988 for the Scottish Opera. Musically speaking, there are discernable elements usually identified with Viennese operetta, but are served here with the addition of Bernstein’s “spices”—jazz harmonies, energetic rhythms, and a rich orchestration full of percussion instruments. Listeners with a sharp ear may be able to identify familiar elements from “West Side Story,” the composition of which coincided with the end of his work on Candide. Bernstein, who was torn between the concert stage and the “light” stage, managed to create a fun and impressive mix in “Candide” (years before his younger colleague Steven Sondheim did so with “Sweeney Todd”) which is successful as a concert work, as heard in the “Deutsche Grammophone” recording (in which he leads a cast that includes Jerry Hadley and Christa Ludwig).
Marin Alsop, conductor
Jane Archibald, soprano (Cunegonde)
Nicholas Phan, tenor (Candide)
Aleks Romano, mezzo-soprano (Paquette)
Victoria Livengood, mezzo-soprano (Old Lady)
Eli Gorenstein, baritone (Pangloss/ Martin and Narrator)
Theo Hoffman, baritone (Maximilian)
Alexander Yagudin, tenor (Governor/Vanderdenur/Ragotski)
Simon Kricheli, tenor (señor 1)
Ori Betchko, tenor (señor 2/Inquisitor)
Ilia Jossifov, tenor (judge)
Tom Cohen, soprano (Sheep 1)
Shai Bloch, mezzo-soprano (Sheep 2)
Noam Lowenstein, baritone (Captain)
The Gary Bertini Israeli Choir directed by Ronen Borshevsky