• Copyright Vlaamse Opera / Annemie Augustijns



Leonard Bernstein (1918 - 1990)

From 15/12/2009 in Antwerp - from 09/01/2010 in Ghent

  • Yannis Pouspourikas
  • Nigel Lowery
  • Michael Spyres
  • Graham Valentine
  • Andrew Ashwin
  • Thomas Oliemans
  • Musical direction: Yannis Pouspourikas
  • Director: Nigel Lowery
  • Candide: Michael Spyres
  • Cunegonde: Jane Archibald
  • Pangloss / Martin: Graham Valentine
  • Maximilian: Andrew Ashwin / Thomas Oliemans

Candide, an illegitimate child of noble origin, and his secret love, Lady Cunegonde, live together with their retinue in the ‘best of all possible worlds’, as their mentor Dr Pangloss had taught them. But when war breaks out, Candide is at a stroke catapulted from this naive paradise into the harsh reality. In search of his lost Cunegonde, and with an unshakeable faith in the goodness of mankind, Candide departs on a world odyssey of fantastic adventures in which he witnesses wars, bloodbaths, natural disasters and auto-da-fés, until he reaches Eldorado. At each stage, the dead come back to life: he meets the murdered Cunegonde, first as a courtesan in Paris, and then as a lady of luxury in Buenos Aires and then at the casino in Venice. Not even the execution of Dr Pangloss by the Spanish Inquisition is able to dampen Candide’s optimistic faith in goodness. In the end Candide finds his Cunegonde, though time has left its mark on her. But he keeps his promise and marries her. Now, finally cured of his naive belief in the motto ‘the best of all worlds’, he intends to give meaning to his life by working: ‘Il faut cultiver notre jardin’ (Voltaire).

Bernstein and the acerbic critic Voltaire were kindred spirits. Bernstein’s Candide is a brilliant blend of styles: Viennese operetta, Mahlerian pathos, Offenbach’s Opera bouffe and the American musical. In his version, the British director and stage designer Nigel Lowery added an explosive mixture of Brecht and Monty Python. This is the first production for which our new resident conductor Yannis Pouspourikas is musical director. The young tenor Michael Spyres sings the title role, alongside the rising star and coloratura soprano Jane Archibald as Cunegonde, the Mozart veteran Keith Lewis as the Governor and Karan Armstrong, grand lady of musical theatre, as The Old Lady. Lastly Dr Pangloss is played by Graham Valentine, the virtuoso character actor of the Marthaler ensemble.


Surtitles: Dutch.




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