May 2012

The best of all possible worlds?

"Candide ... said to himself, 'If this is the best of all possible worlds, what are the others?'"

Monday night was the first time I got to see our production of Candide. I spent the weekend working in the supertext booth, where, because there are four follow-spot operators for the show, I'm relegated to a seat with a window measuring roughly 5" x 5". Since I don't really need to see in order to run the supertext, I didn't bother to adjust my chair to window height (tall), and spent three nights just listening to the show, which I found increasingly hilarious.

I've never seen Candide before, although I played the concert version of the overture at least twice in college. (And what a piece of music! Talk about an overture that demands a listener's attention). Nevertheless, Candide is a piece that feels naturally familiar -- one of those that you know even without knowing it. It's so very Bernstein, and so very American. It's beautiful, and charming, and fun. And what a refreshing change of pace from Very Serious Opera!

© Jason Potter

Anyway: back to Monday night. As we have done in the past (Barber of Seville, Rigoletto), we invited several local comic artists to Monday night's dress rehearsal, where they got a backstage tour and then were encouraged to draw whatever inspired them from their seats in the first few rows of the orchestra section. This year, for the first time, we also invited several prolific local Twitter users to come and live-tweet the opera. What a hoot! I also use Twitter, so I took the opportunity to join in on the fun; it was so interesting and hilarious to read other peoples' reactions to the show in real time. (And also strange and a little thrilling to be allowed/encouraged to use our phones during the show.)