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Bernstein: Candide Overture

Here’s a hint: We’re taking a madcap journey around the globe!

Leonard Bernstein’s operetta Candide has had a very tumultuous history.It was a flop at its 1959 premiere on Broadway and experienced numerous revisions and re-hatchings over the following 30 years.

Candide is based on Voltaire’s satire about a young, naïve man who takes a crazy journey around the world in search of “the best of all possible worlds.”

Although this comic operetta hasn’t really achieved the mainstream popularity of, say, West Side Story, the overture has earned a much-deserved spot in the orchestral repertoire. Since its first concert performance on January 26, 1957, by the New York Philharmonic under the composer’s baton, the zany and lyrical Overture to Candide has become one of the most frequently performed orchestral compositions by a 20th century American composer.

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