Composer List


Genre List

Opera Length

Advanced Search

Photo: Carol Rosegg for The New York City Opera
Performed by the New York City Opera, 1982

Bernstein, Leonard

Candide (New York City Opera House version) (1982)

Duration: 135 minutes
Comic operetta in two acts

Book by Hugh Wheeler, after Voltaire. Lyrics by Richard Wilbur, Stephen Sondheim, John La Touche and Leonard Bernstein (E).

Major roles: S,2M,T,T/Bar,Bar; minor roles: 2S,4T,6Bar,2B; chorus 2(II=picc).1(=corA).2(I=Ebcl,ssax ad lib).1- TD/BD/tamb/bongos/maracas/hand drs/tgl/susp.cym/cyms/tam-t/cast/ wdbls/gourd/xyl/glsp/vib/glass harmonica (optional)/chimes- harp-strings
Abbreviations (PDF)

This work is available from Boosey & Hawkes for the world.

World premiere of version
New York City Opera, New York, NY
Patricia Birch, chor / Harold Prince, dir
Conductor: John Mauceri
Company: New York City Opera


OLD LADYMezzo-Soprano
VOLTAIRETenor or Baritone
DR. PANGLOSSTenor or Baritone
BUSINESSMANTenor or Baritone
GOVERNORTenor or Baritone
SECOND GAMBLER (Police Chief)Tenor or Baritone
SAGETenor or Baritone
3 JudgesTenor, Baritone and Bass
6 Dons3 Tenors, 3 Baritones
1st GamblerBaritone
1st Pink SheepSoprano
2nd Pink SheepSoprano
Servant of Maximilian
2 Bulgarian Soldiers
2 Waestphalian Soldiers
Don Issachar, the Jew
Grand Inquisitor
Heresy Agent
2 Inquisition Agents
Governor's Aide
Slave Driver
Father Bernard
4 Sailors
2 Pirates
Calliope Player

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 Maximilian, 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 Pangloss, now a begger, and both are sentenced before the Spanish Inquisition. An Old Lady leads Candide away and eventually presents him to her mistress who happens to be Cunegonde. The three of them set forth on a harrowing journey to the New World. Meanwhile, in the New World, the Governor of Cartagena, Colombia purchases Maximilian (disguised as a woman) and Paquette as concubines. The Governor falls for Maximilian and is so disgusted upon learning his true gender he decides to sell him to a monastery. Candide eventually arrives at the monastery in the New World and inadvertently stabs Maximilian and runs off into the jungle with Paquette. After further misadventures, the Old Lady helps Candide find Cunegonde, who has since become a prostitute in a gambling casino, so he buys her and the newly brought back to life Maximilian, who happens to be working there as a house slave. Destitute but re-united, the four go to see a wise man that turns out to be Dr. Pangloss. Their old teacher reveals his new plan for happiness to the quartet: man must "work from dawn til’ dusk, in the fields, patiently learning to make his garden grow."

Comic, Romantic

Ethics, History, Society, Literary

Mailing List

Sign up for news updates and offers via email

Audio Visual Gallery

Explore our library of 1500 online scores