"Glitter and Be Gay" is Cunegonde's major aria in Leonard Bernstein's Candide. The text is credited to Richard Wilbur.

"Glitter and Be Gay" is well known for having a third-line-above-the-staff high E-flat . . . not once, not twice, but four times(!)—I counted. (For those non-vocalists out there, this is an extremely high note for a soprano.) The aria alternates between Cunegonde's despair at her sad situation and the way she copes with it—pretending to be happy. As she forces a cheerful expression, she "laughs" a series of difficult arpeggios in counterpoint with the orchestra. (In other words, she sings the arpeggios to the syllable "ha.") "Glitter and Be Gay" is for many people the most anticipated number in the show, and is absolutely wonderful when sung well.

This aria, among others, was one that pushed Barbara Cook toward stardom in the world of theatrical music. It remains one of her signature pieces to this day.

You can see a page from the autograph manuscript at the website of the Estate of Leonard Bernstein: http://www.leonardbernstein.com/studio/zoom2.asp?id=129

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