Candide ~ Ou L’Optimisme

Thanks to The Huntington Theatre Company, Boston for their fabulous production of… CANDIDE
Music by Leonard Bernstein, Lyrics by Richard Wilbur & others
Directed and newly adapted from the Voltaire by Mary Zimmerman

… and who gave permission to use their images.

“Overture to Candide”
Credit: Scottish Opera Orchestra original cast recording



“Oh Happy We” from Candide by Leonard Bernstein, sung by June Anderson and Jerry Hadley with Maestro Leonard Bernstein conducting.

“Life is Happiness Indeed”
In Act 1 we find the 18th Century protagonists Candide, the illegitimate nephew of the fabulously rich Baron of Westphalia and Cunegonde, the Baron’s daughter. They sing of their love, but their visions of the future couldn’t be more different: he aspires to a simple life growing “peas and cabbages,” while she yearns for a life “rolling in luxury.” They don’t notice the differences.


“Bon Voyage” sung by Stanford Olson with chorus. Bon voyage! part of Vanderdendur, a swindler, sung by Stanford Olsen with the Westminister Symphonic Choir, New York Philharmonic Conductor: Maestro Marin Alsop

“Bon Voyage”
Things do not go well. Bulgarians conquer Westphalia and everyone is scattered. Candide finds Cunegonde in Spain and they escape and travel to Buenos Aires. There, the Governor detains the beautiful girl to be his mistress. Candide is driven to the jungle but finds Eldorado, “the land of happy people.” He helps himself to some red-gold sheep. He uses them to purchase Cunegonde’s freedom. The citizens of the port city of Surinam bid him “Bon Voyage.”

Candide tries to secure passage to Venice to find his lady love Cunegonde. In this scene Mrs.Vanderdendur offers her ship. When Candide readily agrees to Vanderdendur’s high price, Vanderdendur deduces that Candide’s sheep are carrying a fortune of gold and jewels from Eldorado. Candide puts his sheep on board in advance, and Vanderdendur sails off without him, taking much of Candide’s fortune!


“Candide at Sea, ou L’Optimisme”
Candide is at sea, optimistic that he will be reunited with Cunegonde in Venice. But, the ship sinks: he was swindled and sold “a wreck of a boat.” Somehow, after much further travail, they both make it to Venice. They are “not what they were” – “youth, charm and grace” are gone. But after much thought they decide to marry and “make our garden grow” on a small farm on the outskirts of Venice.


“Make Our Garden Grow”
Scottish Opera Orchestra- original cast recording 1988
Mark Beudert – singing part of Candide and Andrea Bolton singing the part of Cunegonde