An excellent satirical novel by Francois Voltaire, Candide can make you laugh, cry or think. It was basically an attack on the metaphysical optimists.

A good English translation is available at http://www.voltaire.ox.ac.uk/ but it has a restrictive copyright. This is from www.literature.org, it is also good and claims to be public domain. Interestingly, they are virtually identical, but perhaps Oxford has a copyright on the markup and images accompanying the text at that site. Though they are virtually identical, there are subtle differences (such as Cunegonde vs. Cunegund).

Here is the complete text.

  1. How Candide Was Brought Up in a Magnificent Castle and How He Was Driven Thence
  2. What Befell Candide among the Bulgarians
  3. How Candide Escaped from the Bulgarians and What Befell Him Afterward
  4. How Candide Found His Old Master Pangloss Again and What Happened to Him
  5. A Tempest, a Shipwreck, an Earthquake, and What Else Befell Dr. Pangloss, Candide, and James, the Anabaptist
  6. How the Portuguese Made a Superb Auto-De-Fe to Prevent Any Future Earthquakes, and How Candide Underwent Public Flagellation
  7. How the Old Woman Took Care Of Candide, and How He Found the Object of His Love
  8. Cunegund's Story
  9. What Happened to Cunegund, Candide, the Grand Inquisitor, and the Jew
  10. In What Distress Candide, Cunegund, and the Old Woman Arrive at Cadiz, and Of Their Embarkation
  11. The History of the Old Woman
  12. The Adventures of the Old Woman Continued
  13. How Candide Was Obliged to Leave the Fair Cunegund and the Old Woman
  14. The Reception Candide and Cacambo Met with among the Jesuits in Paraguay
  15. How Candide Killed the Brother of His Dear Cunegund
  16. What Happened to Our Two Travelers with Two Girls, Two Monkeys, and the Savages, Called Oreillons
  17. Candide and His Valet Arrive in the Country of El Dorado--What They Saw There
  18. What They Saw in the Country of El Dorado
  19. What Happened to Them at Surinam, and How Candide Became Acquainted with Martin
  20. What Befell Candide and Martin on Their Passage
  21. Candide and Martin, While Thus Reasoning with Each Other, Draw Near to the Coast of France
  22. What Happened to Candide and Martin in France
  23. Candide and Martin Touch upon the English Coast -- What They See There
  24. Of Pacquette and Friar Giroflee
  25. Candide and Martin Pay a Visit to Seignor Pococurante, a Noble Venetian
  26. Candide and Martin Sup with Six Sharpers--Who They Were
  27. Candide's Voyage to Constantinople
  28. What Befell Candide, Cunegund, Pangloss, Martin, etc.
  29. What Manner Candide Found Miss Cunegund and the Old Woman Again
  30. Conclusion

Here it is in French, I will node it bit by bit:

  1. Comment Candide Fut Élevé Dans Un Beau Chàteau, et Comment il Fut Chassé D'Icelui
  2. Ce Que Devint Candide Parmi les Bulgares
  3. Comment Candide Se Sauva D'Entre les Bulgares, et ce Qu'il Devint
  4. Comment Candide Rencontra Son Ancien Maître de Philosophie, le Docteur Pangloss, et ce Qui en Advint
  5. Tempête, Naufrage, Tremblement de Terre, et ce Qui Advint du Docteur Pangloss, de Candide et de L'Anabaptiste Jacques
  6. Comment On Fit Un Bel Auto-da-Fé Pour Empêcher Les Tremblements de Terre, et Comment Candide Fut Fessé
  7. Comment Une Vieille Prit Soin de Candide, et Comment il Retrouva ce Qu'il Aimait
  8. Histoire de Cunégonde
  9. Ce Qui Advint de Cunégonde, de Candide, du Grand Inquisiteur et d'un Juif
  10. Dans Quelle Détresse Candide, Cunégonde et la Vieille Arrivent à Cadix, et de Leur Embarquement
  11. Histoire de la Vieille
  12. Suite des Malheurs de la Vieille
  13. Comment Candide Fut Obligé de se Séparer de la Belle Cunégonde et de la Vieille
  14. Comment Candide et Cacambo Furent Reçus Chez les Jésuites du Paraguay
  15. Comment Candide Tua le Frère de sa Chère Cunégonde
  16. Ce Qui Advint Aux Deux Voyageurs Avec Deux Filles, Deux Singes et les Sauvages Nommés Oreillons
  17. Arrivée de Candide et de Son Valet au pays D'Eldorado, et ce Qu'ils y Virent
  18. Ce Qu'ils Virent Dans le Pays D'Eldorado
  19. Ce Qui Leur Arriva à Surinam, et Comment Candide Fit Connaissance Avec Martin
  20. Ce Qui Arriva Sur Mer a Candide et à Martin
  21. Candide et Martin Approchent des Côtes de France et Raisonnent
  22. Ce Qui Arriva en France à Candide et à Martin
  23. Candide et Martin Vont Sur Les Côtes D'Angleterre ; Ce Qu'ils y Voient
  24. De Paquette et de Frère Giroflée
  25. Visite Chez le Seigneur Pococuranté, Noble Vénitien
  26. D'un Souper Que Candide et Martin Firent Avec Six Étrangers, et Qui Ils Étaient
  27. Voyage de Candide à Constantinople
  28. Ce Qui Arriva à Candide, à Cunégonde, à Pangloss, à Martin, etc.
  29. Comment Candide Retrouva Cunégonde et la Vieille
  30. Conclusion
Voltaire is a genius if you didn't know that, and Candide is hilarious. It is my favorite book, so I wanted to contribute by noding my summaries of all the chapters and my especially favorite quotes in each one. There are some good ones, enjoy!

Candide Summary

Chapter 1: Candide was the son of a Baron's sister and lived in a castle with the Baron, his 350-lb wife and their beautiful daughter Cunegonde. Pangloss was an oracle who lived with them and maintained that this was the "best of all possible worlds". Candide was intrigued by Cunegonde but didn't have the courage to tell her so. He loved listening to Pangloss, who he believed to be the best philosopher in the entire universe. One day Cunegonde saw Pangloss giving lessons in physics to her mother's chambermaid, and this led her to believe that her and Candide were meant for each other. The next day the Baron caught the two kissing, and literally kicked Candide out of the castle. Cunegonde fainted and the Baroness slapped her for it.

Cool quote: Pangloss: " Those who have maintained that all is well have been talking nonsense: they should have maintained that all is for the best. "

Chapter 2: Candide didn't know what to do with himself, so he fell asleep in a field and then dragged himself to a town called Waldberghoff-trarbk-dikdorff. He went to an inn, where some men invited him to dinner. They insisted, and asked him if he loved the King of the Bulgars. They then told him that he was going to be the hero of the Bulgars. They took him to a regiment and trained him vigorously. Candide could not figure out why he was a hero, and went for a walk, but he was brought back and put in a dungeon. He was ordered to be whipped 4,000 times, but the king of the Bulgars pardoned Candide after he could not take any more. The king of the Bulgars joined battle with the king of the Avars.

Chapter 3: The two armies were brilliant and thousands of men were killed in the battle. Candide hid during all of this, and decided to go to a burned Avar village. He encountered many butchered bodies, and went to a Bulgar village, which looked the same. His food ran out in Holland, and encountered an orator. The orator asked Candide if he thought that the Pope was the Anti-Christ and Candide replied rather unfavorably. An Anabaptist took Candide in, and Candide was very grateful. The next day he met a beggar who was not as fortunate as he was.

Cool Quote: Orator: " My friend, do you believe that the Pope is the Antichrist? " Candide: " I've never heard anyone say so, but whether he is or not, I still have nothing to eat. "

Chapter 4: Candide felt sorry for this beggar and gave him money, and the beggar told him that he was Pangloss. Candide was shocked, and asked him what happened to his dear Cunegonde. He told Candide that she was raped by Bulgar soldiers and was disemboweled, and her whole family was killed and the castle was destroyed. Pangloss said that he was reduced to such a pitiful state because of love, and that the Baroness' chambermaid infected him with diseases. Candide took him to his friend the Anabaptist so that he could hopefully be cured. The Anabaptist did not agree with Pangloss' theories about life, but took him and Candide to Lisbon.

Cool Quote: Candide: " I too have known love, that ruler of hearts, that soul of our soul: it's never brought me anything except one kiss and twenty kicks in the rump. "

Chapter 5: There was a terrible storm on the way to Lisbon. The Anabaptist was thrown overboard while he was trying to help a frenzied sailor. The sailor, Pangloss and Candide were the only ones who survived. There was an earthquake when they got to land. Candide thought that he was dying and requested some oil and wine. They encountered a man of the Inquisition, who asked Pangloss if he believed in Original Sin. Pangloss replied that we have free will, but was interrupted.

Chapter 6: Pangloss and Candide were bound and taken away, one for having spoken, the other for having listened with an air of approval. They were properly attired and walked in a procession. Candide was flogged in time with the singing, and Pangloss was hanged. Candide cursed his Fate and questioned why the Anabaptist drowned, Pangloss was hanged and Cunegonde was gutted. He began to walk away when he was accosted by an old woman that told him to follow her.

Chapter 7: She took Candide into a hovel and fed and clothed him. He tried to kiss her hand out of gratitude but she wouldn't let him. He questioned her but she didn't answer, and then she told him to follow her. She took him to an isolated house and inside was a woman with a veil on. When she lifted her veil, Candide discovered that it was his dear Cunegonde! He was amazed and asked her how she knew how to find him. She told him that he had to tell her about what had happened to him first, and then she wept over the Anabaptist and Pangloss.

Chapter 8: Cunegonde began her story about how the Bulgars invaded her castle and killed her family. She talked about being raped, and how his captain killed the soldier who raped her. She was rescued by the captain and made a prisoner of war. The captain sold her to Don Issachar, a Jew. One day the Grand Inquisitor noticed her at mass and told her how degrading it was that an Israelite owned her. He fought with the Jew and they agreed to share her. She was invited to go to the ceremony where Pangloss was hanged, and she saw Candide there. She sent her servant to fetch him and take care of him, and that's how she became re-acquainted with him. They sat down to supper when Don the Jew arrived.

Cool Quote: Cunegonde: " For my part, I've resisted them both so far, and I think that's why I've always been loved. "

Chapter 9: The Jew was outraged and yelled at Cunegonde for having to share her with even more men. He attacked Candide, and then Candide killed him. The Inquisitor then came in and saw this whole mess, and Candide panicked so he killed him too. The old lady suggested running away with three Andalusian horses, and they rode for thirty miles to Avacena.

Cool Quote: Candide: " Fairest lady, when a man is in love, jealous, and whipped by the Inquisition, he no longer knows what he is doing. "

Chapter 10: Cunegonde's money and diamonds were stolen, so they had to sell one of the horses to a Benedictine prior. They traveled to Cadiz, where troops were being assembled against the reverend Jesuit Fathers of Paraguay. Candide was placed in command of a company of infantry. He boarded a ship with Cunegonde and the old woman, and they discussed how much better the new world must be than the one they lived in. Candide and Cunegonde complained of their troubles, but the old woman claimed that she had been through worse.

Chapter 11: The old woman said that she was the daughter of Pope Urban X and the princess of Palestrina, and lived in a glorious palace. She was very beautiful and was betrothed to the sovereign prince of Massa-Carrara. The prince died, and she and her mother decided to get away for a while when they were abducted by a Barbary pirate ship. They were taken off to Morroco as slaves. The pirate captain took her virginity away. Morocco was in civil war, and when they got there the blacks fiercely fought over the women and tore them to pieces. Everyone was killed, and the old woman was dying. She fainted under a big orange tree and was revived by a white man's chanting.

Chapter 12: The man took her to his home and took care of her. He told her that he was born in Naples where a bunch of men were castrated, and his operation was successful so he became a musician in the chapel of the princess of Palestrina. It was then discovered that he brought the old woman up, and he was sent by a Christian power to the King of Morocco to wipe out other Christian powers. He told her he was going to take her to Italy with him, but instead he sold her off to the dey of a province in Algiers. A plague went around and everyone nearly died except for her. A trader bought her and brought her to Tunis. She then went to some Janizaries, who were starving and had to eat all the other women. A Muslim was with them and convinced them not to kill the rest of the women completely, but to cut off one of their buttocks. Russians then attacked and a French doctor took care of them. She escaped and traversed all of Russia, remembering all the while that she was a Pope's daughter. She finally became a servant in the Jew's house, and that's how she met Cunegonde.

Cool Quote: Old woman: " I've wanted to kill myself a hundred times, but I still love life. "

Chapter 13: Cunegonde found a new respect for this old woman and then they asked each of the passengers to tell each of their stories. They landed at Buenos Aires and encountered the governor. The governor wanted to marry Cunegonde and the old woman urged her to do so. Then a ship came which had tracked down Candide. He had to flee, but he did not want to leave Cunegonde.

Chapter 14: Candide had brought a valet from Cadiz named Cacambo. Cacambo saddled the two horses and Candide shed tears over having to leave. He didn't know where to go or what to do, so Cacambo suggested fighting for the Jesuits instead of against them. They then went to talk to the commandant, and the Reverend Father Provincial would not let them stay in his country if they were Spanish. Since Candide was a German, they would speak to him. It was then discovered that the reverence the Commandment was the brother of Cunegonde. Candide told him that his sister was alive, and then they sat and waited for the Reverend Father Provincial.

Cool Quote: Candide: " Oh Pangloss, Pangloss! How happy you'd be if you hadn't been hanged! "

Chapter 15: Cunegonde's brother talked about how his family was killed, and how he was thrown into a cart. A Jesuit rescued him and cared for him. He was sent to Rome with a Pole and a Tyroleon, and was made a subdeacon and a lieutenant. Candide told him that he wanted to marry his sister, and the brother was outraged and attacked Candide. Candide killed him, and then him and Cacambo were forced to escape again.

Cool Quote: Candide: " I'm the kindest man in the world, yet I've already killed three men, and two of them were priests! "

Chapter 16: Candide and Cacambo passed the border guards before anyone in the camp knew about the death. They stopped to eat, when they saw two naked girls running and two monkeys following them. He pitied the girls, so he shot the monkeys. This caused Candide to leave the meadow and go into the forest. When they fell asleep, some Oreillons tied them up because they thought Candide and Cacambo were Jesuits. Cacambo told them that not only were they not Jesuits, but they had killed a Jesuit. As soon as the Oreillons found this to be true, they showered Candide and Cacambo with kindness instead of eating them.

Chapter 17: Cacambo suggested heading for Cayenne, and it was impossible getting there. They finally settled on filling a riverboat with coconuts and going with the current. They drifted for a while, but had to abandon the boat. They crawled for three miles, and saw beautiful roads and red sheep. They went to a village and saw children playing quoits. They came to an exquisite house and were invited in. They were treated quite wonderfully, and this new land which they learned was called Eldorado astounded them.

Cool Quote: Candide: " Despite what Dr. Pangloss used to say, I often noticed that everything went rather badly in Westphalia. "

Chapter 18: They were taken to another fancy house where they met a 172 yr old man whose father was the king's equerry. He said that the land formerly belonged to the Incans, and he told them all about the form of government, customs and morals of the country. Candide asked him about the religion, and he told them that they were all priests who thanked God day and night. Then a carriage arrived to take the two travelers to the court. Candide and Cacambo graciously embraced the king when they saw him and they were invited to dinner. In the meantime they were shown around the city, and learned that there were no judiciary courts or prisons. They spent a month in the palace, but Candide decided to leave and take some riches with him so he could be with Cunegonde. A machine was constructed to take them out of the country safely.

Cool Quote: Old man: " Can you doubt that we have a religion? Do you think we're ingrates? "

Chapter 19: The first day of their journey was rather pleasant. After they had traveled for a hundred days only two sheep were left. When they landed they encountered a negro who was missing half of his limbs. They went to Surinam and encountered a Spanish captain who said he could strike an honest bargain with them. The captain told them that Cunegonde was the governor’s favorite mistress and it would be impossible to retrieve her. Candide suggested to Cacambo that he take all of their diamonds and get Cunegonde, and that he would get a ship and wait for Cacambo in Venice. Candide sold a diamond and paid a captain to take him to Venice but the man tricked him. He went to see a judge, and then he became depressed. Candide found twenty men to travel with him, but decided on a man working for the Amsterdam publishers.

Chapter 20: The scholar's name was Martin, and they set out for Bordeaux. Candide wanted to see Cunegonde, while Martin had nothing to hope for. Martin confessed that he was a Machinean, and Candide thought that there were no more of those. Martin talked about all the depravity and hopelessness in the world, and Candide thought that there must be some good in the world, but Martin had not seen any. They passed a sinking French ship, and Candide found one of his lost sheep. Martin and Candide argued for two weeks straight as they traveled, but they could not convince each other to change their beliefs.

Cool Quote: Candide: " But there is some good in the world. " Martin: " Perhaps so, but I haven't seen it. "

Chapter 21: Candide asked Martin if he had ever been to France as they approached the coast and Martin talked about his experiences. Candide had no interest in seeing France, after seeing Eldorado he only wanted to see Cunegonde. Martin agreed to accompany him through France to Venice. Martin answered all of Candide's questions sarcastically; saying the world was only formed to drive us mad. They still were arguing when they reached Bordeaux.

Cool Quote: Candide: " But for what purpose was the earth formed? " Martin: " To drive us mad. "

Chapter 22: Candide only stopped in Bordeaux long enough to sell some of his pebbles and his sheep. He then desired to see Paris, and became ill. Since he looked rich, more doctors than he could ever want surrounded him. His illness became serious, but he finally recovered. An abbe from Perigord showed up and took Candide and Martin to the theater. Candide was impressed, but a man sitting next to him criticized it the whole time. Candide wanted to go to the actress who played Queen Elizabeth's house. Candide was amazed at how English Queens were regarded in France. He asked who the man was who criticized the play and the abbe replied that it was a man who needed to feel better about himself and that's why he did it. The abbe then took Candide to a lady's house in Faubourg Saint-Honore. A game was going on, and Candide sat down to play and was not concerned when he lost 50 thousand francs. Then they talked about literature, and a scholar who would not play the game with them spoke about tragedies. After supper the lady of the house took Candide into her boudoir and asked him about his love for Cunegonde. Candide fell to temptation and felt badly about being unfaithful to Cunegonde. He received a letter from her the next day, which filled him with great joy. Candide went to see her, but it was an imposter and then him and Martin were taken to a dungeon. Candide offered them diamonds, and the officer said he could take them to Normandy. Candide felt as though he were rescued from hell and was on his way to resuming his trip to Venice.

Chapter 23: Martin started talking about how France and England were at war over Canada and they were spending more than the whole country was worth. They arrived at Portsmouth, and saw a short stout man being shot in the head. The man was an admiral and was killed because he didn't kill enough men. Candide was so shocked by what he saw that he would not set foot on the country and he wanted to be taken straight to Venice.

Chapter 24: Candide could not find Cacambo and this caused him to sink into a great melancholy. Martin reminded him of the woes of the world and Candide became even more depressed. One day he saw a theatine monk walking arm in arm with a girl, and Candide thought them to be happy, so Martin thought it would be a good idea to invite them to dinner. They agreed, and then she asked him if he recognized her, for she was Paquette. She told him about how she left the castle soon after he did and she was a mistress and was accused of murder and all this other stuff. Martin was right when he said that people were not always as happy as they seemed. Next Candide asked the monk about his troubles, and this made Martin win a bet. Candide gave the monk some money, which Martin told him would make them even unhappier. Because he found Paquette and his red sheep, Candide was more convinced than ever that he could find Cunegonde.

Chapter 25: They got into a gondola, which took them to the palace of Pococurante. They were accompanied by beautiful women and given frothy chocolate. Candide saw some nice paintings by Raphael, but Pococurante didn't think they were all that great, along with an opera they saw. They then went to a library where he disapproved of Homer and Virgil. He also criticized many other authors. He also disliked his garden. Nothing could please this man. They believed he could be happy because he found no pleasure in anything. Candide was displeased because he still could not find Cacambo or Cunegonde.

Chapter 26: One day Candide and Martin sat down to dinner with six other foreigners who were staying at the same inn. Candide saw Cacambo, and he told him that Cunegonde was in Constantinople. Cacambo told him they could not go right away because he was a slave of one of the foreigners. All of them were kings, and had servants that told them they could leave except the sixth, who was probably going to go to jail. The kings told their stories, all of woe, but Candide could not stop thinking about his dear Cunegonde.

Chapter 27: Cacambo got permission to take Candide and Martin along with him to Constantinople on his masters ship. Cacambo told him that Cunegonde was ugly and was washing dishes now. Candide said then that it was his duty to love her forever and he would no matter how ugly she was. He bought Cacambo's freedom at a very high price and they set off to Turkey. He soon miraculously came across the baron and Pangloss, who he both thought were dead. He bought them for a high price from a Levantine captain, sold most of his diamonds and then they all set of to find Cunegonde.

Cool Quote: Candide: " Ah, whether she is beautiful or ugly, I'm an honorable man, and my duty is to love her forever. "

Chapter 28: The baron told Candide how he came to be still alive, and how he bathed naked with a young Mussulman and was punished for it. Pangloss was hanged but the rope didn't work so when the surgeon found him to be alive he was so shocked that he fell down some stairs. A Portuguese barber sewed up his skin for him. He became the servant of a Venetian merchant and went with him to Constantinople. One day he went into a mosque and helped a woman put her dress back on and he was punished for it. He still retained his opinion that this was the best of all possible worlds, because he was a philosopher and they can’t take back their philosophies very easily.

Chapter 29: They finally found Cunegonde and the old woman, and even though Candide was appalled by her appearance, he still went to her. The old woman suggested buying a farm that they could live on while waiting for their fortunes to turn for the better. The baron still said that Candide could not marry his sister while he was still alive.

Chapter 30: Candide had no desire left for Cunegonde but he married her anyway. The Jews cheated him so much that now all he had left was the little farm they bought. Everyone was depressed with their lives but dealt with it in different ways. However everyone began to find his or her own talent, Paquette could knit and Cunegonde was a great pastry chef. Everyone made themselves useful in the best of all possible worlds.

Candide is a comic operetta by Leonard Bernstein, based on the novella by Voltaire. It has existed in many versions but is now generally performed with a book by Hugh Wheeler. The primary lyricist was Richard Wilbur. Other contributors to the text include Stephen Sondheim, John Latouche, Dorothy Parker, and Lillian Hellman. Hershy Kay and John Mauceri contributed orchestrations.

Candide is most famous for its wonderful score, many parts of which are very well known, especially in musical circles. Notable songs from the show include:

Candide first opened on Broadway in the form of a musical on 1 December 1956. It featured Robert Rounseville as Candide, a young Barbara Cook as Cunegonde, Max Adrian as Dr. Pangloss, and Irra Petina as the Old Lady. It was not a huge success by any stretch of the word; modern music historians tend to put that down to the fact that New York at the time didn't want very much to do with an operetta pretending to be a musical. Others blame Hellman's overtly political and topical book, which drew parallels between the Inquisition and McCarthyism. However, while the show itself was a flop, the music became an almost instant hit in the art music world.

The show underwent a series of revivals under the direction of Harold Prince, previously known for, among other work, producing the first run of Fiddler on the Roof. Lillian Hellman, the author of the original book, refused to let any of her work be used in the revival, so Prince commissioned a new book from Hugh Wheeler. Lyrics were worked on by the veritable team of artists listed above.

In response to requests from opera companies for a more legitimate version, the show was expanded based on Wheeler's book. The two-act opera house version contains most of Bernstein's music, including some songs that were not orchestrated for the original production. It was first performed by the New York City Opera in 1982 under Prince's direction, and ran for 34 performances. Since, opera companies around the world have performed this version. The production continues to be a staple of the City Opera's repertoire, with performances underway in Spring 2005.

In 1989, by which point Hellman had died an untimely death, Bernstein undertook a recording project that expressed his final wishes regarding Candide, incorporating what he thought were the best lyrics from all the contributors (including Hellman) and what he thought were the best portions of music. This recording incorporates a great deal of music and is generally thought to be too long to be produced theatrically.

A recent major production of Candide was directed by Lonny Price in a semi-staged concert production with the New York Philharmonic under Marin Alsop. It ran for four performances, May 5-8, 2004. This production was also broadcast on PBS's Great Performances. The cast featured Paul Groves as Candide, Kristin Chenoweth as Cunegonde, Sir Thomas Allen as Dr. Pangloss, and Patti LuPone as the Old Lady. Of particular note in this production is the inclusion of the rarely sung duet between Cunegonde and the Old Lady, We Are Women.

Despite the initial reaction it garnered, Candide has achieved an enormous popularity. It is very popular among major music schools as a student show because of its wonderful music and the spectacular opportunities it offers to talented student singers. Its overture is played in concert halls all over the world on a regular basis. It is widely regarded as representative of Leonard Bernstein's finest theatrical work. Its sparkle, wit, breadth of emotion and musical impact make it one of the best musical works for the stage to come out of the 20th century.

In short, it's a wonderful show, and not to be missed. I recommend it most highly. So how can you experience the bliss that is Candide for yourself? Good that you ask:

  • For the casual theatre-goer, it's a bit hard to catch a show because of the high musical requirements, but you may be in luck if you live near a conservatory or a music school with a decent opera program, or if your local opera house happens to be playing it. Check your local listings for details.

  • It is, however, a bit more easy to get a hold of a (sound) recording of the show on CD. Look in your local record store under one of the following: Bernstein, operetta, musical soundtracks, opera, Candide. There are a number out there, but for starters I would go with the Original Broadway Cast Recording.

  • For those rich in spirit but lacking in funds, search the catalog of your local libraries. I've found that many libraries with music collections will have Candide either on LP or CD. If the library carries LPs, they probably also have a record player in the library that you can use. If the library system closest to you doesn't have it, try the surrounding counties.

  • If you would rather have an introduction to Leonard Bernstein's theatrical music, you can pick up a concert compilation CD. Make sure it has at least the Overture to Candide and Symphonic Dances from West Side Story. To be safe, you could go with Bernstein conducting his own music, but any other number of fine conductors also have led good recordings.

I wish you joy on your path to discovering Candide in the Best of All Possible Forms in this Best of All Possible Worlds. Good luck.

 

Sources:
Bernstein, Leonard; Lillian Hellman; and Richard Wilbur et al. Candide: Original Broadway Cast Recording. Columbia Soundtracks, 1957.
Hutchins, Michael H. A Guide to Leonard Bernstein's Candide. <http://www.geocities.com/bernsteincandide/>. Accessed 21 January 2005.
Public Broadcasting System. Great Performances: Leonard Bernstein's "Candide" in Concert. <http://www.pbs.org/wnet/gperf/shows/candide/>. Accessed 21 January 2005.

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