Great Performances: Season 33, Episode 10

Leonard Bernstein's Candide, a Comic Operetta in Two Acts (12 Jan. 2005)

TV Episode  -   -  Biography | Drama | Music
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Ratings: 8.2/10 from 112 users  
Reviews: 3 user | 1 critic

A concert performance of Bernstein's famous musical.



(book), (lyrics), 2 more credits »
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Title: Leonard Bernstein's Candide, a Comic Operetta in Two Acts (12 Jan 2005)

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Thomas Allen ...
Dr. Pangloss (as Sir Thomas Allen)
Paul Groves ...
Michael McCormick ...
Baron / Inquisitor / Don Issachar / Cacambo
Gina Ferrall ...
Baroness / Sheep
Jeff Blumenkrantz ...
Michael McElroy ...
Judge / Captain / Crook
John Herrera ...
Governor / Prefect
Ray Wills ...
Heresy Agent / Archbishop / Priest
Patty Goble ...
Stanford Olsen ...
Vanderdendur / Prince Ragotski
Westminster Symphonic Choir ...
Julliard Undergraduate Workshop ...


A concert performance of Bernstein's famous musical.

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Release Date:

12 January 2005 (USA)  »

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16:9 HD
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Did You Know?


At the beginning of Act II, the chorus holds up cards intended to spell the name of the current locale, the city of Montevideo. What they hold up, however, is "Montivedo". Where is the dictionary, now that they need one? See more »


[Candide is trying to explain to an old man, who is Dr. Pangloss, who they are]
Candide: But Dr. Pangloss, we but your own Candide, and Cunegonde, and Paquette, and Maximillion and...Patti LuPone!
See more »


Version of Live from Lincoln Center: Candide (1986) See more »

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User Reviews

Generally outstanding Candide
21 August 2012 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Leonard Bernstein I admire as a composer and conductor. West Side Story and Candide especially have amazing music and really make me identify with the story, while his conducting whether in Beethoven, Mahler, Wagner or his own music(there's also an excellent DVD of him conducting Verdi's Requiem is mostly electric. This is an outstanding concert performance of Candide. I was expecting much as there are singers like Thomas Allen and Kristen Chenoweth that I do love, and I got exactly what I expected.

The photography does have the occasional amateurish glitch but is mostly fine. The sound is terrific, makes you feel you were there, and there were many times where I actually wished I was. The Avery Fisher Hall is a somewhat limited space, but the performance doesn't make this hinder it, it manages to embrace that. The staging is very simple, but this is simplicity at its best. It is also great fun, everybody, even the orchestra seems to be thoroughly enjoying themselves. For example the chorus-as-card section and the thoroughly entertaining vaudeville act-like rendition of Glitter and Be Gay.

Where I didn't like it so much was the use of the gimmick of the chorus passing possessions into Candide's bag, it was intended to be cute but seeing as it happened in It Must Be So, the most moving part perhaps of Candide, I found it distracting.

Musically though, the performance though is thrilling. The orchestra is huge and while the bigger textures are rich in sound, they manage to have a shimmering effect for the more sensitive and quieter passages. Martin Alsop's conducting is enigmatic and perfectly judged in tempo. The chorus look as though they are having fun and balance and blend beautifully. The abridgement of the Overture is a disappointment, as that is such a terrific concert piece and would have brought the house down, but the playing and energy more than makes up for this. The performances are wonderful. Weakest though was Patti LuPone. She acts with tremendous aplomb apart from some occasional hardness, but I found her singing more suited to Broadway rather than the operatic mezzo the Old Lady is more like. I Am Easily Assimiliated is fun though.

Kristin Chenoweth is not quite as good as Barbara Cook, who really IS Cunegonde. That said, she is still brilliant in the role. Her singing is just beautiful, with all the notes and bang on in pitch, and she does tell a story and develops Cunegonde as a performance that is quite moving. Lovely woman too. Paul Groves equally so as Candide, his low notes are not as good as the rest of his voice but the ringing top and beautiful overall quality of his voice more than makes amends. The naive, childlike and innocent is also captured to perfection.

Thomas Allen has always been a favourite of mine, ever seeing his Largo Al Factotum at the Golden Jubilee Concert(I think). His singing is as sonorous as ever, and he brings great stability to both his roles, especially as Pangloss, though his Narrator superbly manages to tell the story with no sense of confusion. Jeff Blumenkrantz is hilarious and wonderfully narcissistic as Maximillian. The Paquette of Janine LaManna is sexy and vocally as beautiful and clear as a flute. The costumes are also wonderfully elaborate.

Overall, generally outstanding. 9/10 Bethany Cox

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