After revealing his love to the elegant Baroness Kunigunde, the less well-born Candide is immediately forced to leave his beloved home of Westphalia. Just like Peer Gynt and Hans in Luck, he sets off on a journey through the world, driven by the creed of his teacher Pangloss, which posits that the world in its current state is the only world that exists and is therefore also the best of all possible worlds. And even though Candide travels from Westphalia to Lisbon, from Brazil to Venice and encounters nothing but the hair-raising cruelty of nature and humankind, he does not waver in his belief in goodness, nor in his love for Kunigunde. At the end, he is finally allowed to take his beloved into his arms – all’s well that ends well?
Voltaire, icon of French philosophy, created a milestone of the European Enlightenment with his satirical novella Candide, ou l’Optimisme of 1759. With his sharp tongue and always focused on reality, he criticised the optimistic teachings of German philosophers such as Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz und Christian Wolff. Exceptionally challenging source material for a musical that has gone through numerous iterations before arriving at a version created at the end of the 1990s which is both close to the original work by Voltaire and also fully showcases Bernstein’s fresh and effervescent music. Bitingly sarcastic, impressively entertaining and challenging all at once!