Caroline O'Connor leads a starry cast for this Sydney Philharmonia Choirs staging of Bernstein's comedic masterpiece
The year before West Side Story premiered on Broadway, Leonard Bernstein premiered a rather different show. Candide is an operetta based on Voltaire's satire of the same name. It tells a story of a gormless hero on a series of adventures across the world, but was a flop when it first premiered on Broadway. But the score received plenty of acclaim and in the years since the show has been revived and reworked several times. It's now recognised as one of Bernstein's crowning achievements.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of Bernstein's birth (he died in 1990), and to celebrate Sydney Philharmonia Choirs is presenting a semi-staged concert version of Candide, directed by Helpmann Award winner Mitchell Butel, who recently directed the Sydney Symphony's five-star staging of Funny Girl.
He's assembled a killer cast from the musical theatre and opera worlds – to make the best of all possible worlds. Caroline O'Connor, fresh from acclaimed seasons in the West End and on Broadway, will play the Old Lady, and Alexander Lewis (The Phantom of the Opera, The Merry Widow) will play Candide. Annie Aitken will sing one of Bernstein's most challenging pieces, 'Glitter and be Gay', as Cunegonde. They'll be joined by Helpmann Award-winning opera star Kanen Breen and The Wharf Revue's Phil Scott.