Leonard Bernstein


Candide

 

CANDIDE  Act 1

CANDIDE Act 2

Leonard Bernstein "Candide"

Candide is an operetta with music composed by Leonard Bernstein, based on the 1759 novella of the same name by Voltaire. The operetta was first performed in 1956 with a libretto by Lillian Hellman; but since 1974 it has been generally performed with a book by Hugh Wheeler which is more faithful to Voltaire's novel. The primary lyricist was the poet Richard Wilbur. Other contributors to the text were John Latouche, Dorothy Parker, Lillian Hellman, Stephen Sondheim, John Mauceri, John Wells, and Bernstein himself. Maurice Peress and Hershy Kay contributed orchestrations. Although unsuccessful at its premiere, Candide has now overcome the unenthusiastic reaction of early audiences and critics and achieved enormous popularity. It is very popular among major music schools as a student show because of the quality of its music and the opportunities it offers to student singers.

 

Roles

Candide (tenor)
Dr. Pangloss (baritone)
Maximilian (baritone)
Cunegonde (soprano)
Paquette (contralto)
The Old Lady (contralto)
Martin (baritone)
Cacambo

 

Synopsis

Bernstein "Final Revised Version" (1989)

ACT I

 

The operetta begins with an overture. The chorus welcomes everyone to Westphalia ("Westphalia Chorale") and Voltaire begins to narrate his story. Candide, the illegitimate nephew of Baron Thunder-ten-Tronck, lives in the Baron's castle Schloss Thunder-ten-Tronck. He is snubbed by the Baroness and bullied by her son Maximilian. Paquette, a very accommodating serving girl, also lives in the castle. However, Candide is in love with Cunegonde, the Baroness' daughter as Maximilian, Candide, Cunegonde and Paquette find their happiness in life ("Life is Happiness Indeed"). The four discover that Dr. Pangloss, a man thought to be the world's greatest philosopher, has taught them happiness ("The Best of All Possible Worlds"). The philosopher asks his four students to summarize what they have learned ("Universal Good"). When Cunegonde spies Dr. Pangloss being physically intimate with Paquette, he explains it away as being a "physical experiment", and she decides to share the "experiment" with Candide. Professing their love to each other at a park, Candide and Cunegonde dream of what married life would look like ("Oh, Happy We"). The Baron, however, is angered at what Candide has done to Cunegonde, as he is a social inferior. Candide is promptly exiled, wandering alone with his faith and optimism to cling to ("It Must Be So"). He is then shanghaied by and into the Bulgar Army, which plots to "liberate" all of Westphalia. His escape attempt fails, and is recaptured by the Army. The Bulgar Army attacks Schloss Thunder-ten-Tronck and in the castle the Baron's family prays as the chorus joins in ("Westphalia"). However, the Baron, the Baroness, Maximilian, Paquette, Pangloss and (after being repeatedly ravished by the Bulgar Army) Cunegonde are all killed in the attack ("Battle Music"). Candide returns to the castle's ruins and searches for Cunegonde ("Candide's Lament").
 

Some time later, Candide becomes a beggar. He gives the last of his coins to Pangloss, who reveals that he was revived by an anatomist's scalpel. He then tells Candide of his syphilis condition brought on by Paquette ("Dear Boy"). A merchant offers the two employment before sailing off to Lisbon, Portugal. However, as they arrive, a volcano erupts and the ensuing earthquake results in the death of 30,000 people. Pangloss and Candide are blamed for the disaster, arrested as heretics and publicly tortured by order of the Grand Inquisitor. Pangloss is hanged and Candide is flogged ("Auto-da-Fé"). Candide eventually ends up in Paris, France, where Cunegonde shares her favors (on different mutually-agreed-upon days of the week) with wealthy Jew Don Issachar and the city's Cardinal Archbishop ("The Paris Waltz"). She contemplates what she has done to survive while in Paris ("Glitter and Be Gay"). Candide finds Cunegonde and reunites with her ("You Were Dead, You Know"). However, the Old Lady, Cunegonde's companion, forewarns Cunegonde and Candide of Issachar and the Archbishop's arrival. Candide inadvertently kills both of them by stabbing them with a sword.
 

The three flee to Cadiz, Spain with Cunegonde's jewels, where the Old Lady tells Candide and Cunegonde about her past. The jewels are stolen and the Old Lady offers to sing for their dinner ("I Am Easily Assimilated"). The French police arrive, intending to arrest Candide for murdering Don Issachar and the Archbishop. Accepting an offer to fight for the Jesuits in South America, Candide decides to take Cunegonde and the Old Lady to the New World, and the three begin their journey on a ship ("Quartet Finale").

 

The third painting depicts a wild party or orgy underway at a brothel. The prostitutes are stealing the drunken Tom's watch. On the floor at bottom right is a night watchman's staff and lantern-souvenirs of Tom's "Wild Night" on the town. The scene takes place at the Rose Tavern, a famous brothel in Covent Garden. The prostitutes have black spots on their faces to cover syphilitic sores.

ACT II

In Montevideo, Uruguay, Maximilian and Paquette, now revived and disguised as slave girls, reunite. Soon after, Don Fernando d'Ibaraa y Figueroa y Mascarenes y Lampourdos y Souza, the governor of the city, falls in love with Maximilian, but quickly realizes his mistake and sells him to a priest. Meanwhile, Candide, Cunegonde and the Old Lady also arrive in Montevideo, where the Governor falls in love with Cunegonde ("My Love"). The Old Lady convinces Cunegonde that her marriage to the governor will support her financially ("We Are Women"). Candide soon befriends Cacambo and accepts him as his valet. Convinced by the Old Lady that the police are still after Candide for the Archbishop's murder, Candide and Cacambo flee Montevideo and eventually stumble upon a Jesuit camp and are joined by the Father and Mother Superiors ("The Pilgrims' Procession – Alleluia"). Candide soon discovers that the Mother Superior is actually Paquette and the Father Superior is Maximilian. When Candide tells Maximilian that he will marry Cunegonde, however, Maximilian angrily challenges him to a fight. However, Maximilian is once again inadvertently stabbed to death by Candide. Candide is forced to flee into the jungle as a result.
 

Three years later, Cunegonde and the Old Lady discuss the miseries shared by the upper classes while the Governor doesn't want to hear their complaints ("Quiet"). Meanwhile, Candide and Cacambo are starving and lost in the jungles. Finding a boat in the ocean, they float downriver into a cavern for 24 hours until they finally reach Eldorado, the city of gold ("Introduction to Eldorado"). The two discover that the locals worship one god as opposed to three, palaces of science, rosewater and stones with cinnamon and clove scents. Dissatisfied without Cunegonde, Candide decides to leave. The locals think him foolish, but offer to help, giving him some of the town's golden sheep and constructing a lift that will guide him, Cacambo and the sheep over the mountain ("The Ballad of Eldorado"). One by one, the sheep die until only two remain. Unwilling to go back to Montevideo, Candide gives Cacambo one of the golden sheep to ransom Cunegonde, telling them that they will meet again in Venice, Italy.
 

Arriving at Suriname, Candide meets Martin, a local pessimist. He shows him a slave with one hand and one foot lost while harvesting sugar-cane, which is the result of Europeans eating sugar; Candide is unable to convince Martin otherwise ("Words, Words, Words"). Vanderdendur, a Dutch villain, offers his ship, the Santa Rosalia, in exchange for the golden sheep. Candide is excited when he is told that the Santa Rosalia is to depart for Venice. The locals and Vandendur wish Candide a safe journey to Venice ("Bon Voyage"). However, the ship sinks and Martin drowns as a result. After reuniting with his golden sheep, Candide is picked up by a galley, meeting five deposed kings. The galley is rowed by slaves, including Pangloss, revived once again. The kings say that they will live humbly, serving both god and men, and Pangloss leads their debate ("The Kings' Barcarolle").
 

The ship arrives in Venice, where the Carnival festival is taking place ("Money, Money, Money"). While the kings play roulette and baccarat, Candide searches for Cunegonde. Maximilian, revived once again, is now the corrupt Prefect of Police and the town's leader. Paquette is now the town's reigning prostitute. Cunegonde and the Old Lady are employed to encourage the gamblers ("What's the Use?"). Pangloss celebrates a victory after winning roulette and spends his money on the other ladies ("The Venice Gavotte"). Candide, however, masked for the Carnival, is accosted by Cunegonde and the Old Lady (both of whom are also masked), who try to swindle him out of his money. During the exchange, all the masks come off and they are horrified to recognize each other. Seeing what Cunegonde has become, Candide's image of and belief in her is shattered ("Nothing More Than This"). Candide does not speak for several days; with what little money they have left, they purchase a small farm outside Venice and the chorus says that life is just life and paradise is nothing ("Universal Good"). Candide finally speaks and resolves to marry Cunegonde ("Make Our Garden Grow").
 


Voltaire "Candide, ou l'Optimisme"
 

Candide, ou l'Optimisme, is a French satire first published in 1759 by Voltaire, a philosopher of the Age of Enlightenment. The novella has been widely translated, with English versions titled Candide: or, All for the Best (1759); Candide: or, The Optimist (1762); and Candide: Optimism (1947). It begins with a young man, Candide, who is living a sheltered life in an Edenic paradise and being indoctrinated with Leibnizian optimism by his mentor, Professor Pangloss. The work describes the abrupt cessation of this lifestyle, followed by Candide's slow and painful disillusionment as he witnesses and experiences great hardships in the world. Voltaire concludes with Candide, if not rejecting Leibnizian optimism outright, advocating a deeply practical precept, "we must cultivate our garden", in lieu of the Leibnizian mantra of Pangloss, "all is for the best" in the "best of all possible worlds".
 

Candide is characterized by its tone as well as by its erratic, fantastical, and fast-moving plot. A picaresque novel with a story similar to that of a more serious coming-of-age narrative (Bildungsroman), it parodies many adventure and romance clichés, the struggles of which are caricatured in a tone that is bitter and matter-of-fact. Still, the events discussed are often based on historical happenings, such as the Seven Years' War and the 1755 Lisbon earthquake. As philosophers of Voltaire's day contended with the problem of evil, so does Candide in this short novel, albeit more directly and humorously. Voltaire ridicules religion, theologians, governments, armies, philosophies, and philosophers. Through Candide, he assaults Leibniz and his optimism.
 

Leonard Bernstein, (born August 25, 1918, Lawrence, Massachusetts, U.S.—died October 14, 1990, New York, New York), American conductor, composer, and pianist noted for his accomplishments in both classical and popular music, for his flamboyant conducting style, and for his pedagogic flair, especially in concerts for young people.
 

Bernstein played piano from age 10. He attended Boston Latin School; Harvard University (A.B., 1939), where he took courses in music theory with Arthur Tillman Merritt and counterpoint with Walter Piston; the Curtis Institute of Music, Philadelphia (1939–41), where he studied conducting with Fritz Reiner and orchestration with Randall Thompson; and the Berkshire Music Center at Tanglewood, Massachusetts, where he studied conducting with Serge Koussevitzky. In 1943 Bernstein was appointed assistant conductor of the New York Philharmonic; the first signal of his forthcoming success came on November 14, 1943, when he was summoned unexpectedly to substitute for the conductor Bruno Walter. His technical self-assurance under difficult circumstances and his interpretive excellence made an immediate impression and marked the beginning of a brilliant career. He subsequently conducted the New York City Center orchestra (1945–47) and appeared as guest conductor in the United States, Europe, and Israel. In 1953 he became the first American to conduct at La Scala in Milan. From 1958 to 1969 Bernstein was conductor and musical director of the New York Philharmonic, becoming the first American-born holder of those posts. With this orchestra he made several international tours in Latin America, Europe, the Soviet Union, and Japan. His popularity increased through his appearances not only as conductor and pianist but also as a commentator and entertainer. Bernstein explained classical music to young listeners on such television shows as Omnibus and Young People’s Concerts. After 1969 he continued to write music and to perform as a guest conductor with several symphonies throughout the world.

As a composer Bernstein made skillful use of diverse elements ranging from biblical themes, as in the Symphony No. 1 (1942; also called Jeremiah) and the Chichester Psalms (1965); to jazz rhythms, as in the Symphony No. 2 (1949; The Age of Anxiety), after a poem by W.H. Auden; to Jewish liturgical themes, as in the Symphony No. 3 (1963; Kaddish). His best-known works are the musicals On the Town (1944; filmed 1949), Wonderful Town (1953; filmed 1958), Candide (1956), and the very popular West Side Story (1957; filmed 1961), written in collaboration with Stephen Sondheim and Jerome Robbins. He also wrote the scores for the ballets Fancy Free (1944), Facsimile (1946), and Dybbuk (1974), and he composed the music for the film On the Waterfront (1954), for which he received an Academy Award nomination. His Mass, written especially for the occasion, was performed at the opening of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., in September 1971. In 1989 he conducted two historic performances of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in D Minor (1824; Choral), which were held in East and West Berlin to celebrate the fall of the Berlin Wall. In 1990 Bernstein was awarded the Japan Art Association’s Praemium Imperiale prize for music.

 

Leonard Bernstein
(1918-1990)