100 years of Bernstein (West Side Story): his most 'enlightened' operetta, conducted by John Demain

The Liceu has chosen to mark the centenary of the birth of Leonard Bernstein (1918- 1990) by billing his comic operetta Candide for the first time. It was inspired by the famous novella by Voltaire, one of the foremost French Enlightenment philosophers. Though a prey to constant misfortune, Candide resolutely maintains that we live in the best of all possible worlds. For the purposes of the operetta, premiered in 1956, the tale of Candide was adapted to a format akin to musical comedy. Bernstein offers us a fresh, spontaneous score, with occasional parodies of 18thcentury airs, and consistently displays his undeniable musical savoir-faire. Meghan Picerno will made her debut at the Liceu in the role of Cunegonde, one of the most daunting challenges for a light lyric soprano because of its demanding coloratura aria, the famous “Glitter and be Gay”.


Comic operetta in two acts. Leonard Bernstein, book by Hugh Wheeler on Voltaire, Lyrics by Richard Wilbur, with additional lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, John La Touce, Lillian Hellman, Dorothy Parker and Leonard Bernstein. Orchestrations by Leonard Bernstein and Hershy Kay; Musical continuity and additional orchestrations by John Mauceri. World premiere: 29/10/1956 at the Martin Beck Theater in New York. First Barcelona performance: 11/04/1996 at the Teatre Romea. First performance at the Gran Teatre del Liceu.

The performances of Candide are given by permission of Boosey & Hawkes Music Publishers Limited.

Cast change

  • Soprano Meghan Picerno will made her debut at the Liceu in the role of Cunegonde in Bernstein's Candide next season replacing Kathryn Lewek, who has been forced to cancel her participation due to pregnancy.

October 2018

18Thursday20:00Turn P (PA)Fee 6
20Saturday20:00Turn PBFee 6

First act 1h 15m
Interval 30m
Second act 1h 5m

Approximate running time 2h 50m

Information of Interest


Briefing session

Audience briefing session in the Foyer 45 minutes before the opera begins.

Reasons why you shouldn't miss Candide

  • One of Bernstein's best known works, alongside West Side Story.
  • From Voltaire and 18th-century France to the 20th-century United States.
  • A delightful parody of the 18th century devised by Leonard Bernstein.
  • Fresh, entertaining music.
  • Join us in celebrating the centenary of Leonard Bernstein's birth.