About The Opera

Composed by Leonard Bernstein
Lyrics by Richard Wilbur
Additional Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and John Latouche 
Based on the book by Voltaire 

Voltaire’s biting satire of social mores, politics, superstitions, and unfettered optimism soars with Bernstein’s witty, tune-filled score. Happy bastard Candide, the adoring and cunning Cunegonde, the vain Maximillian, and the extremely available Paquette journey through the “the best of all possible worlds,” filled with outlandish characters. 

How can you “glitter and be gay” when you’re expelled from your home, separated from your true love, shoved into the army, beset by storms, earthquakes, swindlers, and tortured by the Spanish Inquisition? Candide must find reason in the most unreasonable circumstances.


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Candide won 4 Tony Awards in 1974 and is based on the novella of the same name by French author and philosopher, Voltaire. The satirical novella, first published in 1759, is considered one of the great works of Western literature. 

Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990)

Bernstein was a world-renowned conductor, pianist and composer. He was Music Director of the New York Philharmonic and conducted the world's major orchestras recording hundreds of these performances. His books and the televised Young People's Concerts with the New York Philharmonic established him as a leading educator. His compositions include Jeremiah, The Age of Anxiety, Kaddish, Serenade, Five Anniversaries, Mass, Chichester Psalms, Slava!, Songfest, Divertimento for Orchestra, Missa Brevis, Arias and Barcarolles, Concerto for Orchestra and A Quiet Place. Bernstein composed for the Broadway musical stage, including On the Town, Wonderful Town, Candide and the immensely popular West Side Story. In addition to the West Side Story collaboration, Mr. Bernstein worked with choreographer Jerome Robbins on three major ballets, Fancy Free, Facsimile and Dybbk. Mr. Bernstein was the recipient of many honors, including the Antoinette Perry Tony Award for Distinguished Achievement in the Theater, eleven Emmy Awards, the Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award and the Kennedy Center Honors.

Voltaire (1694 – 1778)

François-Marie Arouet (1694 – 1778), known as Voltaire, was a French Enlightenment Freemason, writer, historian, and philosopher famous for his wit, his attacks on the established Catholic Church, and his advocacy of freedom of religion, freedom of expression, and separation of church and state. Voltaire was a versatile writer, producing works in almost every literary form, including plays, poems, novels, essays, and historical and scientific works.

He wrote more than 20,000 letters and more than 2,000 books and pamphlets. He was an outspoken advocate, despite the risk this placed him in under the strict censorship laws of the time. As a satirical polemicist, he frequently made use of his works to criticize intolerance, religious dogma, and the French institutions of his day.

The best of all possible worlds...

A number of historical events inspired Voltaire to write Candide, most notably the publication of Leibniz's "Monadology", a short metaphysical treatise, the Seven Years' War, and the 1755 Lisbon earthquake. Both of the latter catastrophes are frequently referred to in Candide and are cited by scholars as reasons for its composition. The 1755 Lisbon earthquake, tsunami, and resulting fires of All Saints' Day, had a strong influence on theologians of the day and on Voltaire, who was himself disillusioned by them. The earthquake had an especially large effect on the contemporary doctrine of optimism, a philosophical system which implies that such events should not occur. Optimism is founded on the theodicy of Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz that says all is for the best because God is a benevolent deity. This concept is often put into the form, "all is for the best in the best of all possible worlds" (Fr. Tout est pour le mieux dans le meilleur des mondes). Philosophers had trouble fitting the horrors of this earthquake into the optimist world view.

Voltaire actively rejected Leibnizian optimism after the natural disaster, convinced that if this were the best possible world, it should surely be better than it is. In both Candide and Poème sur le désastre de Lisbonne ("Poem on the Lisbon Disaster"), Voltaire attacks this optimist belief. He makes use of the Lisbon earthquake in both Candide and his Poème to argue this point, sarcastically describing the catastrophe as one of the most horrible disasters "in the best of all possible worlds".

 A satirical and parodic precursor of Candide, Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels (1726) is one of Candide's closest literary relatives. This satire tells the story of "a gullible ingenue", Gulliver, who (like Candide) travels to several "remote nations" and is hardened by the many misfortunes which befall him. As evidenced by similarities between the two books, Voltaire probably drew upon Gulliver's Travels for inspiration while writing. Other probable sources of inspiration for Candide are Télémaque (1699) by François Fénelon and Cosmopolite (1753) by Louis-Charles Fougeret de Monbron. Candide's parody of the Bildungsroman is probably based on Télémaque, which includes the prototypical parody of the sagacious tutor on whom Pangloss may have been partly based. Likewise, Monbron's protagonist undergoes a disillusioning series of travels similar to those of Candide.

Puppets & Masks for Candide 

We're thrilled to introduce you to Rogue Artists Ensemble who has partnered with us to create the puppets and masks that will amaze you in our upcoming production of Candide

Rogue Artists Ensemble is a unique theatre ensemble founded in 2001 that is focused on design and is based in Los Angeles. The Rogues employ multi-media, music, dance, puppetry, mask work, and theatrical illusions to create Hyper-theater. The Rogues have created over a dozen original new works and collaborated with hundreds of artists and community members. To date, their work has been seen by over 200,000 people in Los Angeles, Atlanta, Portland and Seattle. Their most recent work Wood Boy Dog Fish, an original adaptation of Pinocchio, premiere at the Bootleg Theater. For more info - www.rogueartists.org

Synopsis

Based on Voltaire's biting satire, Candide takes aim at social mores, politics, superstitions, and unfettered optimism. The ever-hopeful Dr. Pangloss teaches his pupils (the innocent Candide, the beautiful Cunegonde, the vain Maximilian, and the promiscuous Paquette) that all is always for the best as this is "the best of all possible worlds."

In Candide's blissful ignorance, he stumbles into a disaster that results in him being forever banished from his home. Carrying with him little more than his sunny optimism, Candide embarks on a journey full of misadventures as he seeks desperately to reunite with Cunegonde. The teachings of Dr. Pangloss fall to the wayside after Candide is conscripted into the army, beset by storms, brought before the Spanish Inquisition, and robbed of his worldly possessions.

An unlikely hero, Candide eventually finds contentment in a less than perfect world. Bernstein's witty, tune-filled score mixes everything from Viennese waltzes to soaring arias to Latin tangos in a delightful pastiche of musical styles.

Cast

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Danielle Marcelle Bond

Paquette

Recent performances with LBO include Marilyn Monroe in the US premiere of Gavin Bryars’ Marilyn Forever and Swiss Grandmother/Austrian Woman/British Dancing Girl in Adams’ Death of Klinghoffer. Other LBO roles: Copleand’s Tell Tale Heart, Bloch’s Macbeth, Peter Lieberson’s King Gesar. Other roles include Carmen, Dido/Dido & Aeneas, Hermia/A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Siebel/Faust, Olga/Eugene Onegin, Maddalena/Rigoletto, Cornelia/Giulio Cesare, Amahl’s Mother, Flora/La traviata, Reporter/Schwartz’s Séance on a Wet Afternoon. Witness 3/LA Opera’s Ghosts of Versailles. Details at www.DanielleMarcelleBond.com.

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Zeffin Quinn Hollis

Governor, Martin

Zeffin Quinn Hollis is uncommonly at ease as both actor and singer. He headed the cast of the Ward opera rendition of Miller’s The Crucible (Internationally broadcast by MezzoTV). No stranger to premieres, Zeffin has originated numerous roles in both genres. Recent theatrical appearances include Company, The Fantasticks, and Les Misérables. He has played many incredible theatres like The Colony, The Lambs, Crown City Theatre, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Dallas Opera, Santa Fe Opera, New York City Opera, Palm Beach Opera, New Orleans Opera, and Pécs and Szeged National Theaters in Hungary. Find more at zeffin.com!

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Jamie Chamberlin

Cunegonde

With LBO:Marilyn Monroe in Marilyn Forever, Sop II/Hydrogen Jukebox, Lucy/Moscow Cherry Town. Other credits include the world premiere of Salonen’s Wing on Wing with LA Phil, High Priestess in Aida and Cretan Woman in Idomeneo at LA Opera, The Pasadena Symphony, The Louisville Orchestra, Opera Santa Barbara, and Fort Collins Symphony. Jamie is an alumna of both UCLA and the Merola Opera Program at SFOpera. She can be heard on the Delos recordings of Mark Abel's Terrain of the Heart and Home is a Harbor, and singing Offenbach's Barcarolle in the upcoming Coen Brothers film, Hail Caesar! www.jamiechamberlin.com.

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Kristof Van Grysperre

Conductor

Kristof Van Grysperre, a native of Belgium, most recently conducted for LBO Hydrogen JukeboxAn American Soldier’s Tale/Fiddler’s Tale and The Difficulty of Crossing a Field. Hailed by the Orange County Register as “gifted and stylistically impeccable” and as “a conductor with pugilistic power and sensitivity” he has an international career as conductor, pianist, chamber musician and vocal coach. With a repertoire of over fifty operas, Van Grysperre conducted performances for Opera Pacific, Baltimore Opera Studio, Intimate Opera Company, SongFest and USC Opera. He has collaborated with leading instrumentalists and singers, such as Angela Meade, Maria Newman, Philip Webb and Susan Mohini Kane, and is the founder and artistic director of Angels Vocal Art.

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Roberto Perlas Gomez

Maximilian, Cacambo

Roberto Perlas Gomez has performed over ninety roles with many of the international and regional opera companies throughout the United States. He sings many standard leading baritones roles in Italian and French opera especially his signature role of Figaro in Il barbiere di Siviglia. He performed Rizal in Manila during the centennial year of the Philippine national hero and Marcello in La Bohème in Shanghai. Mr. Gomez made his European debut at the Arena di Verona as Chou en-lai in Nixon in China.His many roles with LBO include the title characters in Vivaldi's Motezuma and Ullmann’s The Emperor of Atlantis, Rambo/First Officer in The Death of Klinghoffer, and Chou en-lai in Nixon in China.

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Robin Buck

Voltaire, Pangloss

Known for his versatility as a singer and actor, Robin Buck has performed more than 60 principal roles in opera and musical theatre, with companies including NY City Opera, LA Opera, Theater Basel, Opernhaus Zürich, National Theater Mannheim, and the Really Useful Company. He has been a featured soloist in standard and contemporary concert works with organizations, including the LA Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, LA Master Chorale, Pacific Symphony, and the City of Birmingham Symphony (U.K.). Recent roles with LBO have included: Leon Klinghoffer in The Death of Klinghoffer and Edgar in The Tell-Tale Heart www.robinbuck.com

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Rogue Artists Ensemble

Puppetry

Rogue Artists Ensemble is a unique theatre ensemble founded in 2001 that is focused on design and is based in Los Angeles. The Rogues employ multi-media, music, dance, puppetry, mask work, and theatrical illusions to create Hyper-theater. The Rogues have created over a dozen original new works and collaborated with hundreds of artists and community members. To date, their work has been seen by over 200,000 people in Los Angeles, Atlanta, Portland and Seattle. Their most recent work Wood Boy Dog Fish, an original adaptation of Pinocchio, premiere at the Bootleg Theater. For more info - www.rogueartists.org.

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Sean Cawelti

Scenic/Puppetry Designer

Sean graduated from the University of California Irvine with his BA in Drama with honors in directing and studied puppetry at Tisch School of the Arts at NYU. Sean has won awards for his work as a designer, director and playwright, honored with a UNIMA Citation of Excellence for Gogol Project and was a 2013 finalist for Center Theater Group's Sherwood Award as a director. Sean is the founding Artistic Director of Rogue Artists Ensemble a multi-media, puppet and mask company in Los Angeles. His directing work has been seen at Getty Villa, South Coast Repertory, Segerstrom Center for the Arts, The Geffen Playhouse and the Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta. He has designed puppets, masks, props and video for theater, music videos, museums, concerts and arena shows including the recent Kanye West Yeezus world tour.

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Suzan Hanson

Old Woman

With LBO: Madame Raquin, Marilyn Klinghoffer, Lady Macbeth, Madeline (Fall of the House of Usher), Mrs. P (The Man who Mistook his Wife for a Hat), Margarita (Ainadamar), Medea, Mrs. Williamson (The Difficulty of Crossing a Field), Pat Nixon, Brünnhilde. Premiered works by Philip Glass, Rinde Eckert, Michel LeGrand, Henry Mollicone, Craig Bohmler.. Other Opera companies: San Francisco, Arizona, Chicago Opera Theater, Connecticut, Carnegie Hall, Pittsburgh, Verona, Tel Aviv, Madrid, Spoleto, Florence. Theater companies: Old Globe, Denver Center, San Jose Rep. Recordings: The Tender Land (Koch), Coyote Tales (Newport Classics). www.suzanhanson.com


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Todd Strange

Candide

Todd has been praised as having a “glorious voice” that “is strong and clear and his acting is on point.” Feeling comfortable in both leading man and character roles, Todd sings a variety of repertoire. Career highlights include Remendado, Carmen (Arizona Opera), Tobias, Sweeney Todd (Arizona Opera), Basilio/Curzio, Le Nozze di Figaro (Opera Santa Barbara), the title role in Lehar’s The Czarevitch (Ohio Light Opera), the Captain, Simon Boccanegra (LA Opera), Almaviva, Il barbiere di Siviglia (Bakersfield Symphony).

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Arnold Livingston Geis

Vanderdendur, James

Recent stage credits include: Cavaliere Belfiore in Il viaggio a Reims, Chevalier in Poulenc’s Dialogues of the Carmelites, Laurie Lawrence in Little Women, Ferrando in Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte, Chorister in Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman, Carmen, and La Traviata. Geis recently made his LA Opera soloist debut in Pagliacci under the baton of Plácido Domingo and also performs with the LA Master Chorale. He holds a BM in vocal performance from Biola University and has an MM in Vocal Arts from The University of Southern California. Upcoming credits: Parpignol in La Boheme at LA Opera and Corpsman in Long Beach Opera’s world premiere of Fallujah.

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David Schweizer

Stage Director

David Schweizer emerged from Yale to make his NY debut at the age of 24 at Lincoln Center with Trolius and Cressida. His extensive work in Southern California includes world premieres at the Geffin Playhouse, Mark Taper Forum and with companies like Actor’s Gang and his own Modern Artists. Notable opera work: Britten’s Albert Herring (Gotham Opera), Hartke’s The Greater Good (Glimmerglass Festival), Bennett’s The Mines of Sulphur (NYC Opera), Verdi’s Giovanna D’Arco (COT), Ullmann’s The Emperor of Atlantis (Boston Lyric Opera). With LBO: Ades’ Powder Her Face, Purcell’s La Indian Queen, Vivaldi’s Montezuma, among others. Upcoming, the world premiere of Beth Henley’s Laugh and Frank Martin’s Le Vin Herbe.


National Endowement for the Arts    California Arts Council Arts Council for Long Beach City of Long Beach Art Works Opera America KUSC

This activity is supported in part by the California Arts Council, a state agency. Learn more at www.arts.ca.gov
Supported in part by a grant from the Arts Council for Long Beach and the City of Long Beach.
Long Beach Opera events are supported, in part, by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission