Bernstein's Candide raises a storm in Paris(January 2007)
Bernstein's Candide raises a storm in Paris
Leonard Bernstein’s Candide received a controversial yet popular new staging at the Théâtre du Chatelet in Paris in December, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the work’s premiere in 1956.
Director Robert Carsen took a decidedly ironic view of post-1950s America as “the best of all possible worlds” which ruffled some international feathers but was a hit with audiences. The co-production travels on to the Teatro alla Scala in Milan in June, and to English National Opera in London in 2008. The production was screened on BBC TV on New Year’s Eve as part of a Bernstein feature over the holiday season.
In Paris the spoken text was delivered, appropriately, in French, the language of the Voltaire original, while the music was sung in English. With Candide’s upbringing in ‘West-Failure’ clearly sited at the White House and cameo appearances by current political leaders, the new production was rich in satirical humour while, as The New York Times noted, in the auto-da-fé scene “Carsen does what Hellman and Bernstein had imagined, recreating the House Un-American Activities Committee and casting the chorus as Klu Klux Klan torch carriers”.
“What carries the story remains Bernstein’s immensely lively music. Packed with waltzes, gavottes, polkas and rumbas, with lyrical arias and droll patter songs, the score is a bridge between opera and musical comedy.”
New York Times
Plans are underway for events celebrating Bernstein’s 90th birthday on 25 August 2008. If you would like to be featured in our web calendar please email email@example.com.
> Further information on Work: Candide (Scottish Opera version)
Photo: Theatre du Chatelet/Marie-Noelle Robert
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