Operetta by Leonard Bernstein
From CHF 17.-
Fri 11 Dec 20:00
Sun 13 Dec 15:00
Wed 16 Dec 20:00
Thu 17 Dec 20:00
Sat 19 Dec 20:00
Sun 20 Dec 15:00
Tue 22 Dec 20:00
Wed 23 Dec 20:00
Cela est bien dit, répondit Candide, mais il faut cultiver notre jardin.

Voltaire, Candide

Operetta by Leonard Bernstein

Libretto by Hugh Wheeler from the play of the same name by Voltaire
First performed in his first version in 1956 in New York
Version of the Royal National Theatre first performed in 1999
Libretto adapted by John Caird
Last time at the Grand Théâtre de Genève 1983-1984
Production created at the Komische Oper Berlin in 2018

Sung in english with French and English subtitles

Sponsored by:


Musical Director Titus Engel
Stage Director Barrie Kosky
Scenographer Rebecca Ringst
Costumes Designer Klaus Bruns
Lighting Designer Alessandro Carletti
Choreographer Otto Pichler
Dramaturgy Maximilian Hagemeyer
Choir director Alan Woodbridge

Candide Paul Appleby
Voltaire / Dr Pangloss Ueli Jaeggi
Cunegonde Claire de Sévigné
The Old Lady Yvonne Naef
Governor / Vanderdendur / Don Issacar / Inquisitor Chris Merritt
Paquette / Queen of Eldorado Anna Schaumlöffel
Maximilian / Grand Inquisitor / Louis XIV Michael Adams
Cacambo / Señor / Henry VIII Julien Henric
Martin / Elisabeth I Jacob Scharfman
King of Eldorado / Cleopatra Jérémie Schütz
Ludwig II / Inquisitor Justin Hopkins

Grand Théâtre de Genève Chorus
Orchestre de la Suisse Romande


Legend has it that Voltaire wrote Candide in three days but literary historians suggest that he took a little longer to write his philosophical tale in 1758 at his estate of Les Délices in Geneva. It is, in any case, a hairraisingly vicious and prestissimo revel at the expense of the fatuousness of the 18 century’s more optimistic philosophers. In its time and place, it was, without a doubt, the best of all possible books. And now, the Grand Théâtre proposes that it becomes the best of all possible musicals for Geneva.
Candide was originally conceived in the early 1950s by Lillian Hellman as a play with incidental music but Leonard Bernstein was so excited about this idea that he convinced Hellman to write an original libretto for an operetta which he would put to music. Hellman was one of the ma-jor targets of the McCarthy era’s anti- Communist witch-hunts, which might ex-plain the urgency and brilliance of her polit-ical satire, notably in the operetta’s legendary Auto-dafé scene. Bernstein, however, tempered the work with his steadfast and generous optimism, which might have raised Voltaire’s eyebrows a bit, but which makes Candide’s finale echo the soaring “Aufersteh’n” of Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony. Bernstein never managed to decide what his piece was going to be: an opera, an operetta or a bona fide musical, letting the audience (and the director) make up their minds about his hybrid creature, somewhere between a tribute to the Old European stage genres and American entertainment, with its underlying cynical bite.
For this performance of Candide in the city where it was (remotely) conceived, we have asked German-Australian director Barrie Kosky to stage Leonard Bernstein’s most operatic composition. At the head of Berlin’s Komische Oper since 2012, Kosky loves putting a dash of Broadway into his opera, especially when he can also season it with a hefty pinch of Brechtian salt.
A glamorous and funny show with over 800 costumes and song and dance num-bers in a tribute to the best of Broadway. Stellar canadian soprano Claire de Sévigné, who sang in the Grand Théâtre’s Young Singers’ Ensemble in 2019-2020, is back to sing Cunegonde. Titus Engel’s lifelong passion for jazz will serve him well as he leads the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande and the best of all possible casts through Bernstein and Voltaire’s joyous satire.

Candide at La Plage

Public Workshop 5.12.2020
Conference 8.12.2020
Apéropéra 10.12.2020
En coulisse 13.12.2020
Intropéra 45 minutes before each performance


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