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Candide – Seattle, June 9, 2010 by YFA


This is the second Leonard Bernstein musical in my season subscription because it is Seattle Celebrates Bernstein festival right now. Candide was originally composed as an operetta and is based on a novel by Voltaire, but is produced as a musical today. The original opera quality surprisingly shows – I didn’t think the difference between an opera vs a musical is that noticeable. I think partly this is because the music is more symphonic than “pop” musical sounding. Like all old musicals, this one is particularly lengthy and runs just over 3 hours.

The plot for this musical was very weak – I felt it was trying to be so many things that it ended up being nothing. Thematically it was trying to be comical yet philosophical (regarding the meaning of life and the pursuit of happiness). In the end the plot became more and more absurd as dead characters just kept reviving.

The singing was impressive – there was a soprano aria (“Glitter and be Gay”) that is super high (hits a Eb6 three times, with numerous C6, and Db6 – for comparison purposes, the high note in Phantom is a E6). There were a lot more chorale numbers than normal (which made it felt more operatic). I was OK with the style of music (it felt more classical than what you normally hear at musicals), but people around me were talking during intermission and they didn’t seem to like it. No songs really stood out either – maybe because it is more classical operatic than pop song styled.

The acting was decent and the set changes were interesting, but the more important elements (music and plot) wasn’t to my taste, so I didn’t like it too much. I think there’s nothing wrong with the music, but it was just the wrong setting for a musical. I think I would enjoy the same music if I was at the symphony, but not so much at a musical.

That’s 2 not so favourable musicals in a row :(. 2.5 TP rolls for me again:

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