292 Candide

Down 22. 1st of Bernstein's 2 entries — the last of which we'll hear shortly.

The journey of Candide from 1956 failed comic operetta to perpetual Classic FM Hall of Fame favourite is as intriguing as the hero's journey within the work itself. In the operetta, Candide (sung by a tenor) experiences numerous fabulous disasters and tortuous plot twists. In real life, the operetta itself seems to have had just as many ups and downs.

It received a disappointing premiere in 1956 and had to be fitted with a completely new libretto in 1973, after the original librettist withdrew her permission for her words to be used. After numerous minor makeovers, it was finally set in stone with the composer's 1989 refurbishment. If you factor in the revelation that some music he had written for Candide was 'borrowed' by the composer for another of his great works, West Side Story, then it makes it all the more surprising that it has endured.

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David Armstrong's 2010 production at Seattle's 5th Avenue Theatre.