New York City Opera presents a new production of Leonard Bernstein's iconic musical, directed by Tony winner Harold Prince and featuring Tony winner Linda Lavin. More…
In this musical adaptation of Voltaire's satirical novel, the naïve Candide is separated from his beloved Cunegonde. He journeys around the world to find her, retaining his teacher Pangloss' belief that "this is the best of all possible worlds" in the face of ever-increasing catastrophes.
"Is it opera? Musical theater? Call it what you will, 'Candide' taps gleefully into each of those disparate worlds, offering an effervescent tonic in trying times. It all but fizzes before your eyes...The production is deftly anchored by Broadway veteran Edelman...The revelation is Picerno...Choreographer Birch contributes to the elegant segues in a challenging onslaught of crowded scene changes; and Charles Prince conducts with ear and baton finely attuned to the complicated goings-on." Full Review
"This pepped-up production has much to recommend it as a serious comedic enterprise and a solid endgame of splendid entertainment…Prince’s instinct to have fun with it strikes gold; his bits of business, sight gags and cleverness play brilliantly from the libretto, aided by a talented cast of actors, singers and dancers…The remarkable cast is made up of opera singers who can seriously act, and Broadway actors who can seriously sing. As an aggregate, they glitter with gaiety and glee." Full Review
"A rollicking production…Wheeler's much-improved book, tight as a drum for the first half, is retained...The storytelling tends to drag during the second...But happily the text is never less than witty and engaging. The terrific cast is composed of performers who not only do justice to the music, but who also get the cleverness of the lyrics and dialogue…If this sparkling mounting is any indication, New York City Opera is set to start achieving fuller grandness in 2017." Full Review
"The lavish staging of ‘Candide’ by the estimable Harold Prince is, but for a few casting glitches, glorious…The overture sounds like an old friend, filling one with happy anticipation…The veteran director never once loses awareness of aesthetics on another large, somewhat complicated set…Excepting those of Edleman and Lavin, Prince handles flamboyant character turns with eyebrow raised finesse." Full Review
"It’s not the unimpeachable masterpiece that Lenny’s West Side Story is–the book is famously problematic–but it is still enough of a joy that as long as you nail that sublime Bernstein score, it’ll be a grand night out. Nail it this company does, and the results are glorious...The sprightly, brilliant score is one of the best things Bernstein ever wrote...While the staging is showing some signs of age, Prince has refurbished many moments for an overall better flow...Recommended." Full Review
"Despite vocally uneven results, the show radiates a high level of quality that recalls the now bygone Broadway of Prince’s past, before all the Disney and jukebox musicals moved in...Under the baton of Prince’s son, the conductor Charles Prince, the City Opera Orchestra interprets Leonard Bernstein’s score with richness, verve, and only a few missteps...The chorus soared to superb heights, particularly in finale." Full Review
"Friday’s opener of Bernstein’s 'Candide,' though wanting a little polish, was a superb entertainment, a light evening of shameless comedy and bubbling music, highlighted with several strong performances...Edelman led a cast of singers and actors drawn mostly from the New York theater circuit, a casting strategy that led to some mixed results...Prince manages to give a lavish feel while working on a budget, and does so by creating atmosphere more than pure spectacle." Full Review
"Such glorious music! Such a ridiculous, silly plot! Such a mixed bag of performances! Such clumsy gags and dated caricatures! The production has its ups and downs...It seemed like the company could have used a few more days of rehearsal...The real beauty of the evening was Meghan Picerno, clear of voice and crisp of diction, who managed the challenging 'Glitter and be Gay' with aplomb...Although it isn’t merited by the absurd and ignorable story, the finale actually brought a tear to my eye." Full Review
"More a recreation than a rethinking...It has mainly been cast by Broadway performers...Meghan Picerno sings 'Glitter and Be Gay' brilliantly and is a charming Cunegonde. Broadway veteran Gregg Edelman is funny in all the comic roles without being too hammy...The rest of the cast is fine, the chorus superb, and the orchestral playing good...It's a lovely looking production, though every bit as empty headed as its title character. Still, the score is gorgeous and the company does it justice." Full Review
"With Mr. Prince’s inventive, reworked staging, some tweaks and trims and other changes, not to mention a winning cast drawn from both theater and opera, this 'Candide' represents an encouraging forward step for the reconstituted company...No production, including this one, manages completely to resolve the stylistic tensions built into 'Candide'...But Mr. Prince keeps the storytelling focused and the stage action animated, especially during some wonderfully intricate ensemble scenes." Full Review
"Delivers lively, enveloping entertainment, great for a date night with its score showing Bernstein at his best in a circus-cum-vaudeville style production...The cast features operatic voices where needed and big Broadway personalities when not...It's like high-budget garage theater — this is a compliment — with actors donning a variety of wigs in plain sight in a broad acting style. Maybe too broad. The humanity of the characters is especially lost in the first half hour." Full Review
"The actors try valiantly to fend for themselves with expressions ranging from mournful to bemused to goofy. Couldn't Prince or Patricia Birch on the dances have found something for them to do other than just stand there?" Full Review
"The numbers still speed along, and pauses for reflection go by too fast to touch the heart…Cast with a mix of opera and musical-theater performers, all amplified. For the most part, the opera singers had the edge…Prince led the orchestra in a workmanlike, rather stolid performance…The score, as always, is a masterpiece...There have been numerous rethinkings of 'Candide' in the past 35 years and this might have been an opportunity to look ahead, rather than indulge in nostalgia." Full Review
"The score is extraordinary, but the multiple rewrites have demonstrated the difficulty of balancing the score with an episodic structure, satirical edge and political commentary...Prince's production is overstuffed and overcrowded but often entertaining. At my performance last weekend, the cast still seemed to be finding its way and much of the humor failed to land." Full Review
"The rift between what you feel (too little) and what you hear (too much) rapidly becomes a bug rather than a feature, with its various components waging a kind of bewildering civil war...Even so, the largely spectacular cast ensures it goes down easily...Alas, even when everything is right...a pervasive wrongness still makes its presence unavoidably felt. Prince has...done all he can to wrangle this beast, and his success at achieving that goal is obvious, even if the point of doing so isn't." Full Review
"This particular mounting, using designs and staging that date back more than 30 years, feels more like an ‘old warhorse’ than a piece that's truly alive…This iteration feels as though the director wasn't heavily involved. The laughs rarely land, the physical production looked shopworn, and the ensemble just looked tired. Throughout, it resembles a Broadway show in the middle of a long run, desperate for freshening up after being in the hands of associates for several months." Full Review
See it if You can somehow score tickets! GLORIOUS music and performances brilliantly directed.
Don't see it if You don't like Bernstein and have no appreciation for a masterpiece.
See it if . If you are familiar with "Candide" then you will enjoy this traditional mounting of the show. Jay Armstrong Johnson is awesome.
Don't see it if You want to see something deep or edgy
See it if City Opera came back on a high note with this slightly edited "Opera Version" of the much maligned CANDIDE. What a great cast giving all!
Don't see it if you wanted to see a simply "la la" show. Or HAMILTON.
See it if You like the source material, Bernstein, or musical operettas (Gilbert & Sullivan, Sweeney Todd).
Don't see it if You dislike farce, pastiche, sopranos, religious criticism (albeit from an 18th century Enlightenment perspective), or orchestras.
See it if Have never seen Candide and even if you have. Mr. Prince gets this one right with the exception of miscast Ms. Lavin. She drags it down.
Don't see it if Don't like whimsy or silliness used to as a vehicle for profundity.
See it if you enjoy terrific staging and great music, the kind no one writes for the theater anymore, and you appreciate a mix of satire and silliness
Don't see it if operettas are not to your liking.
See it if Best Candide yet. Prince seems to have tamed the sprawling book. Jay Armstrong Johnson is charming as Candide. The operatic leads are great.
Don't see it if Sets and costumes are splendid. The score is pure Bernstein gold, but the orchestra sounded a bit thin. Ashmaskas and Zien are hilarious.
See it if you want to see the historic Hal Prince production live, love the meeting of the opera and musical theater world, and want to escape!
Don't see it if you don't like opera. Don't like gorgeous sets. Don't like silliness.
See it if You are an opera/musical theatre fan. This show mixes the best of Broadway with opera. Beautiful music by Leonard Bernstein.
Don't see it if You like straight forward musicals.
See it if you want to hear a beautifully sung production of the great Bernstein score. If not the best of all possible Candides, still very satisfying
Don't see it if you are not a fan of Bernstein's music. I am.
See it if want an entertaining operetta (it's really more like a B'Way Show) with excellent signing and great performances. The score is a classic
Don't see it if Don't like operatic-type of singing
See it if This is a top-notch production. Cand is notoriously hard to get right. Hal P is still a genius at staging. Lots of good singers/actors.
Don't see it if you tire of broad humor. Or you want all voices to be stellar (Lavin's in not). Or you want big dance numbers. Lyrics are hard to hear.
See it if you want to see a very good production of the Leonard Bernstein and Hugh Wheeler classic based on Voltaire. Great singing and music.
Don't see it if you are not willing to take a journey that is concerned with ideas rather than a simple plot.
See it if You love a big, classic, rarely-produced musical comedy with a phenomenal score, performed by a huge, top-notch cast and orchestra.
Don't see it if You don't like whimsical, epically tall tales or shows that are quasi-operettas. This show doesn't have the most logical of storylines.
See it if Harold Prince once again shows his extraordinary gift for creating a charming an outstanding piece!
Don't see it if If great Bernstein music and a relevant theme are not your thing.
See it if You are interested in some of Bernstein's best legit work...you're a fan of Voltaire's acerbic wit
Don't see it if You're easily bored by highbrow humor...you prefer a pop sound
See it if you want to see Bernstein's glorious music performed exceptionally. Armstrong's an endearing Candide. Picerno's Cunegonde is a revelation!
Don't see it if you can't follow a complicated (albeit hilarious) story. Otherwise, this is a magnificent production of this Bernstein favorite.
See it if You've never seen it & can sit up front for full sound & effect. Picerno is amazing, Wright affecting & Lavin Lavin but the whole never gels
Don't see it if You've high expectations or dislike broad farce. For Prince, a surprisingly flat & flatly staged production that never matches the score.
See it if Ends Today. I'm so glad I got to see this CANDIDE, one of the great B'way musical scores. Linda Lavin is fantastic as the Old Lady. Really..
Don't see it if everybody is working so hard running around, up & down stairs. Gregg Edelman and all the cast are +++. City Opera should be happy & proud.
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