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Comic Opera ‘Candide’ Closes UW Theatre and Dance Season

April 22, 2015
man on one side of stage with two women in swings and two men behind them on the other
Actors in the UW production of “Candide” rehearse a scene for the opera that is scheduled to run April 28-May 2 at 7:30 p.m. on the Buchanan Center for the Performing Arts main stage. (Donald P. Turner Photo)

Leonard Bernstein’s high-spirited comic opera “Candide” closes out the 2014-15 University of Wyoming Department of Theatre and Dance production season.

“Candide” runs April 29-May 2 at 7:30 p.m. on the Buchanan Center for the Performing Arts main stage. The production is directed by UW Department of Music Professor Larry Hensel and conducted by Michael Griffith, UW Symphony Orchestra conductor and professor.

Tickets cost $16 for the public, $13 for senior citizens and $8 for students. For tickets and information, call (307) 766-6666, go online to, or visit the Buchanan Center box office or Wyoming Union Information desk.

Adapted from Voltaire’s satirical novella of the same name, the comic opera follows the relentlessly optimistic Candide on his journey throughout the old world and the new. When Candide and the Baron’s daughter, Cunegonde, fall in love and make plans to marry, Candide is banished from his home of Westphalia.

Subsequent war, being beaten and left for dead, robbed of his earthly possessions and repeatedly separated from his true love, cannot shake Candide’s spirit. He never falters in the belief that “all is for the best,” as was taught by his liberal tutor, Dr. Pangloss. Candide careens through a series of adventures before he can return home to his beloved Cunegonde, now enlightened by a new, more realistic philosophy of life.

“Candide” premiered on Broadway in 1956. The opera has since undergone a complicated history of revisions and revivals. Today, there are no fewer than five versions of the opera available, which join Bernstein’s “personal love letter to European music” with the book by Hugh Wheeler and lyrics by poet Richard Wilbur, Stephen Sondheim, John Latouche, Lillian Hellman, Dorothy Parker and also Bernstein.

Although it originally played to mixed reviews, “Candide” is now a favorite for audiences and performers because of the quality of its music and the opportunities it provides to singers.

“Candide was written as a kind of personal love letter to European music. It’s an American’s valentine to Europe, and it is eclectic -- that’s the whole point of it,” wrote Hew Weldon in a London review.

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