Portland Opera Presents: Leonard Bernstein's CANDIDE


CONTACT: Julia Sheridan, 503-295-3508



May 11-19 | Keller Auditorium


A humorous and touching romp from the composer of WEST SIDE STORY.


Portland Opera brings its 47th season — When Our World Changes — to a close with Leonard Bernstein’s glorious Candide.  Fast-paced and loaded with political and social satire (no one is safe!), it’s perfect for the current political season.  Rich with familiar tunes like the popular Candide overture and “Glitter and be Gay,” its 40 scenes move country to country faster than surfing the web. 


Portland Opera General Director Christopher Mattaliano’s original production is a feast for the eyes and a whirlwind escapade of an evening using innovative projections to whisk the audience around the world.  Candide opens May 11 with additional performances on May 13m, 17 and 19. 


Candide is a labor of love for me” says Stage Director Christopher Mattaliano. “This is my own adaptation of Bernstein’s wonderful, sprawling, delightful work.”  Mattaliano met Leonard Bernstein at the Spoleto Festival in Italy in 1985 and said, “ it was a highlight of my career and something I will never forget.”  “Bernstein is perhaps the greatest American conductor in addition to being a brilliant composer,” he continued,  “and I’m thrilled to be visiting this work again.”


A combination of Leonard Bernstein’s 20th century musical genius and Voltaire’s 18th century wit, Candide is a comic fantasy based on Voltaire’s novel of the same name.  Believing he lives in “The Best of All Possible Worlds,” our naïve hero struggles to preserve his optimism as he sails, flies, walks through war, earthquake, shipwreck, prison, prostitution, and more.  It’s a once in a lifetime journey with a jam-packed itinerary.


Written just before West Side Story, Candide opened on October 29, 1956 at Boston’s Colonial Theatre.  Already a darling of the American musical scene, Bernstein collaborated with some of the most brilliant literary figures of the time.  Candide’s lyrics were by John La Touche and poet Richard Wilbur, with contributions by Dorothy Parker.  The original libretto was adapted from Voltaire by Lillian Hellman.  The libretto was Hellman’s first attempt for the musical stage and criticisms of this initial version of the play are due much to her attempts to use Candide’s blind faith in Dr. Pangloss’ philosophy of optimism to satirize the equally blind paranoia of McCarthy’s Communist witch hunts of the 1950s.




Soprano RACHELE GILMORE makes her Company debut singing Cunegonde.  Last year, with only 3 hours notice, Gilmore made her unscheduled Metropolitan Opera debut as Olympia in The Tales of Hoffman for which she received rave reviews, including the distinction of possibly hitting the highest note ever in the Metropolitan Opera’s history.  Opera News pulled out all the stops in its description of her, saying that she “displayed more talent and charm than any one person should be allowed to possess.” 


Always a big hit in Portland, baritone ROBERT ORTH (most recently Don Alfonso in Così fan tutte, 2010, Nixon in Nixon in China, 2006, Trombonok in The Journey to Reims, 2004 amongst many) returns to sing Pangloss, a role he sang here in 2002.  Orth has been hailed by Opera News as a “fixture in contemporary opera.”  Also returning is tenor JONATHAN BOYD (Jacquino in Fidelio, 2008, Tamino in The Magic Flute, 2007, Sam in Street Scene, 2005) who will sing the title role of Candide. Opera News declared him “a standout and having a ravishing mezza voce.” Making her Company debut as Old Lady is mezzo soprano ANN MCMAHON QUINTERO.  The Boston Globe praised her in a concert of Handel’s Messiah as having “produced dark, velvety tones and some beautiful, musically sensitive singing.”  The cast also boasts three of the Portland Opera’s resident artist’s fresh from their grand success in Galileo Galilei: mezzo soprano CAITLIN MATHES, baritone ANDRÉ CHIANG and bass NICHOLAS NELSON.  Also in the cast are Portland actors JAN POWELL and SHAWN ROGERS.


Portland Opera General Director CHRISTOPHER MATTALIANO (most recently L’Heure Espagnole/L’Enfant et les Sortilèges, 2011, Pagliacci/Carmina Burana, 2010, The Barber of Seville, 2010, Rigoletto, 2009, Albert Herring, 2008 among others) returns as stage director of his original production, which he also directed here in 2002.  CAL STEWART KELLOGG (Street Scene, 2005) returns as conductor. In numerous reviews, The New York Times declared Cal Stewart Kelloggs’ work “fleet and sensitive — the music moved along briskly yet never sacrificed lyricism,” “. . . a precise, tasteful conductor,” and “conducted with power and authority.”


Performed in English with English projections.



(Calendar Editors Kindly Note)


In its ongoing quest to make opera as accessible as possible, Portland Opera has a robust schedule of events designed to explore the many facets of Candide.



5/3/12“Northwest Previews,” All Classical 89.9 fm, 6 PM
5/5/12Salem Public Library, Loucks Auditorium, 2:30 PM, Free
5/6/12Multnomah County Central Library, Collins Gallery, 2 PM, Free


Destination Opera: From Music to Psyche

A unique partnership with the Oregon Psychoanalytic Center, Destination Opera explores the hidden subtexts of each opera this season. Nancy Winters, MD, joins Alexis Hamilton, Manager of Education and Outreach, to debate and discuss Candide.

5/18/12       7 PM | Sherman Clay Pianos | 131 NW 13th Ave. | Free


Opera Insights

These free and informative sessions, led by musicologist Bob Kingston, focus on the music and history behind the evening’s opera in ways that make the evening’s performance even more satisfying.

            1 hour prior to each performance | First Balcony Level.  Free.


Back Talk

Immediately after each opera performance, audiences are invited to join General Director Christopher Mattaliano and an interesting variety of guests that will include fresh-from-their-dressing-room performers, directors and conductors for a 20-30 minute Q&A. 

            Orchestra Level  | Free





Fri. 5/11, Thurs. 5/17, Sat. 5/19 at 7:30 PM  |  Sun. 5/13 at 2:00 PM

Tickets, starting as low as $20.00, can be purchased:       

BY PHONE:  Portland Opera Box Office, 503-241-1802, Toll-free 866-739-6737, (Mon – Fri, 9:00am–5:00pm). Ticketmaster, (800) 982-ARTS (days, evenings, and weekends).
IN-PERSON:Portland Opera Box Office, 211 SE Caruthers St. (just south of OMSI, off Water Ave.) Mon – Fri, 9:00am – 5:00pm.  Ticketmaster outlets,  Portland Center for the Performing Arts (SW Broadway & Main).
GROUPS:10 or more save up to 20% by calling Group Sales at 503-295-3509.
6:30 RUSH:  Students/Military $10 per ticket, Seniors $20 per ticket, 1 hour prior to show only, all available unsold seats. 1 ticket per person, valid ID required

For more information, click here