What did you think of CANDIDE?

Now that you've seen Candide, write a review or comment on someone else's review.

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I'm new to opera, I have only

I'm new to opera, I have only seen the Marriage of Figaro prior to this one. That production blew me away. It made such an impact on me that I bought a ticket to see Candide and season tickets for next year. I do have to agree it was hard to understand the dialog. I was sitting near the front and it was still a little low in volume. The stage production compared to that of the Marriage of Figaro was somewhat disappointing. Overall I enjoyed it and am looking forward to next season. The only true complaint I have is that the venue is not comfortable. I feel like a packed in sardine trying to enjoy an opera. Then on intermission, its a constant fight to get food, drink, or to use the restroom.

I'll agree with most about

I'll agree with most about how difficult it was at times to hear the spoken dialog, but overall I thoroughly enjoyed Candide...with the exception of the sets. I should say the power point presentation that was beamed on stage from a computer. I hope that this is not what has become of set design for the Portland Opera, as it felt like a lazy, cost-saving measure. If this is the way all set designs are to be, which would be tragic, I suggest that someone make some effort to go to greater lengths to make me believe that I am seeing a set instead of several dozen sheets with stock graphics shining upon them.

We left at intermission

We left at intermission because it was not entertaining on any level for us, the plot, the music, the staging, the costumes, the singing, and especially the dialogue we coulnd't hear. This is a rare flop for Portland Opera and a real disappointing end to the season which was already one opera short.

When I was a teenager, I

When I was a teenager, I devoured Voltaire's "Candide". I probably read it ten times over the years, and loved it (especially the erotic illustrations).

This was the fifth time that I have seen the "musical, operetta, opera",Candide, including the original Broadway production in December 1956, and the New York City Opera production in 1982. (I still have the original Playbills). Of the five performances which I have seen, this was undoubtedly the poorest. I feel sorry for those who saw this production and were unfamiliar with the story. It must have been almost imposssible to know what was going on. Worst of all, as many have already pointed out, the spoken dialogue was lost. Thankfully, I knew the story almost by heart, so I could follow the plot line, but still I would have liked to hear Pangloss's naration.

On the plus side, Bernstein's music is still glorious, and Jonathan Boyd, Andre Chiang and Ann Quintero were marvelous. Unfortunately, with the memories of Barbara Cook's and Erie Mills' wonderful performances as Cunegonde, the current portrayal by Rachele Gilmore was a big letdown for me.

We saw the final production

We saw the final production of Candide May 19th. My husband and I especially enjoyed Leonard Bernstein's wonderful music, the excellent singing of the leads, Johathan Boyd and Rachele Gilmore and the creative clever and creative lighting and sets. The other singers were alas, not as good. However, our greatest disappointment was in not being able to hear most of the spoken dialague. That seemed to be a common complaint of many others we talked to at intermission and after the performance. Our enjoyment would have been significantly improved if the spoken parts had been amplified over the sound system or added to the supertitles. For many years, we have had season tickets in Row S of the orchestra and haven't ever had that negative experience with other spoken dialogue. We have friends who sat several rows ahead of us and they misssed much of the conversation as well.

Many commenters have

Many commenters have suggested adding supertitles for the spoken words, but that would have the audience looking elsewhere than the stage most of the time, which would be a sad loss for appreciating the stunning visual impact of this show. I had no trouble hearing and understanding Candide and Cunegonde, but understood almost nothing of what Pangloss and the old lady said. The missing element is having every cast member understand how and be able to project while speaking. I hate to say it, but did the director never go to the back of the house and discover the problem?

I agree about supertitle

I agree about supertitle distractions but want to add that I sat in the orchestra section near the stage and couldn't even hear the dialogue from there. I can't believe the hall's acoustics are fully to blame.


"Candide" was a rare

"Candide" was a rare disappointment in my many years of POA attendance. Bernstein's great music holds up but the plot's dated satiric tomfoolery not so much.(Too many librettists?) I understand why Broadway shows mike dialogue as I missed most of it Saturday night. Many of the vocals were also not projected well. Kudos to Jonathan Boyd and Andre Chiang for their vocal and acting chops. Rachele Gilmore nailed her big stratosphere number. The orchestra was fine but often overpowering. Staging this olio is a challenge and Maestro Mattaliano and Jerome Sirlin gave it a good go but the projections were usually ponderous rather than potent. Maybe this "opera/operetta/musical" should stay out of opera repertoire.


John's picture

We could not hear a lot of

We could not hear a lot of it. On the way back to the car we talked with one of the musicians and she could not hear and was in the Pit. Have
subtitles for everything and you will increase the pleasure of the experience.

Sat in row X and could not

Sat in row X and could not understand a word of the spoken parts. Frustrating as the people in the front of the auditorium were laughing. Thought the males were good, Kunigunde was a good actress but her voice too shrill. Left during intermission. Had no clue of the plot.

I will copy two ideas from

I will copy two ideas from SAN (Mon, 05/14/2012 - 13:32), because they're my thoughts, too: The Jewish characterization was an offense, and the leads sang wonderfully. I won't comment on the second half, because we did not stay.

Sat in row X and could not

Sat in row X and could not understand a word of the spoken parts. Frustrating as the people in the front of the auditorium were laughing. Thought the males were good, Kunigunde was a good actress but her voice too shrill. Left during intermission. Had no clue of the plot.

Candide was a joy, a perfect

Candide was a joy, a perfect ending to the season. The acting and direction was superb, the sets cleverly designed, and except for the soprano (which is normal) it was easy to understand. Every element of the production worked to provide a cohesive whole that carried the true nature of this philosophical farce on wave upon tumbling wave of delightful mirth. Of course, Bernstein's music speaks for itself, and all I can say is BRAVO to all who brought it to life via Portland Opera.

Tepid is how I would describe

Tepid is how I would describe the Saturday night performance of Candide. From my perspective in the 4th row the performers seemed weary. Like others, I found the dialogue to be a challenge to hear. But I also found the singing to lack strength during many parts of the show. Perhaps it was because it was closing night? Or I was sitting off to the side too far? I haven't been to too many operas but I have never had this experience before at Keller (with similar seating, 4th row). It's a shame that despite comments being made to this affect after the earlier shows that something wasn't done to better work the acoustics for the later shows.

I also feel that the concept was a bit too challenging for an opera. It wasn't just mixing comedy and tragedy, but also abstract philosophical concepts and reflections on the absurdity of life.

Overall I'd say 'Meh'.

Enjoyed Candide very much.

Enjoyed Candide very much. Seats in second balcony where it was very difficult to hear the narration.

Liked the sets,liked the

Liked the sets,liked the music and the great light effects. Jonathan Boyd and Rachele Gilmore were superb in their roles. It was almost impossible to hear most of the spoken words and we were just 6 rows back from the stage. It was especially difficult to understand Mr. Orth. He should have been miked.

The opera was great fun and

The opera was great fun and funny. I love the music but the spoken dialog was difficult for me to hear clearly and I missed a lot of it.

Candide was a romp. I could

Candide was a romp. I could not "decode" the spoken language most of the time. This work is really a Broadway type musical. So where were the mikes for spoken words?I I would prefer major Opera selections but I do like Bernstein's music. Good for Chris in giving us a range of productions!

Well, I have to agree with

Well, I have to agree with many comments posted here. This production could (and should) have been much better. The lead singers were very good, especially Jonathan Boyd, who sang Candide, and the orchestra was excellent. But my biggest disappointment was that the dialogue was almost unintelligible, as many have already mentioned. And I was only about nine rows from the stage. I couldn't imagine how anyone near the rear of the auditorium could catch what was being said. Robert Orth (Pangloss, etc.) simply did not project. I could probably understand less than half of what he said. The same goes for most of the dialogue from other performers, especially when accents were involved. Since the dialogue is so important to the plot, this is disastrous to the overall impression of the performance. Not projecting surtitles for the dialogue was a huge mistake. I noticed more empty seats in this performance than I have ever seen at a Portland Opera production, and there were many more after the intermission. This says a lot, unfortunately. The Portland Opera can (and needs to) do better. As a loyal fan of Portland Opera I hope next season will make up for this unfortunate disappointment.

Attended Thursday night's

Attended Thursday night's performance of Candide. I thought it was a real trip. Almost all operas are way too self-important and are usually VERY SERIOUS about Silly or Improbable subjects. Which is fine BUT...this one had a great balance of wonderful music but with a decidedly non serious, yet thought provoking take. Thumbs up and thank you for presenting something different!

RobertCanaga's picture

I had a hard time sleeping

I had a hard time sleeping through most of the performance. The lighting effects were spectacular, some of the singing was world class, and there were at least two songs in the second half that stuck and became earworms. However, as a previous commenter mentioned, this was slightly less awful than Nixon. Bad Gilbert and Sullivan or good Pee Wee Herman? Who knows, but I will not soon be buying the record.
I actually enjoyed hearing the director talk about it at the next table at Nel Centro before the performance more than I did attending.
Oh well, another $500 trip north with little to show for it.
We have enjoyed most of the shows this year and we did sign up for a short season next year but LA and New York, with a side of Seattle will be next years fair.

I was told this was an

I was told this was an interesting production. Although we were there, the noise of the projectors above our heads distracted us from the music and made the dialogue mostly unintelligible. Projector noise has been a problem at other operas as well. We would have chosen not to attend had we known. It might have helped to have the dialogue projected. Candide would have been better suited for the Newmark.

I posted earlier about not

I posted earlier about not being able to hear the spoken dialogue, and have been intrigued by the variety of opinions from members of the audience. A few days have passed, and now all that is left is the music in my head, and what beautiful, memorable music it is. What a difference it makes to walk around with this in my head instead of spite, or envy, or greed, or longing, or regret - just the lilting voices of the singers and the unforgettable music of Bernstein. Thank you, thank you all members of Portland Opera! Your productions are the highlight of my year.

I guess I have been a bit

I guess I have been a bit spoiled, having watched most of my operas when I was living in Santa Fe. But in my 16 seasons of opera-going I have never left after the intermission, until Candide! My husband and I were outside getting a breath of air, when we looked at eachother and uttered simultaneously, "It's terrible." My husband used the word "Clunky" and I agreed. How is it possible to lurch back and forth between comedy and tragedy? I thought the voices were exceptional, the orchestra and the score were flawless, I love Bernstein. I enjoyed the set projections, very creative and spare. But I was in a quandary. was it supposed to be satire? Unfortunately, there was more slapstick than satire! The fellow behind me was laughing heartily, but we were not. I know it's supposed to have comedic moments, but honestly, the libretto is so deplorable that perhaps this opera needs to be abandoned, or re-written, AGAIN. We felt the Supertitles were unnecessary and distracting, It's sung in English! True, I struggled to hear the spoken words.

I realize that you must be trying to appeal to a younger audience with this one, and it worked. I saw an amazing array of fresh young multicultural faces in the crowd. Maybe I am just a tragic opera fan so I will stop ranting.

Luckily, the LA Punk band X was playing at the Crystal, so we high-tailed it over there and though I was a bit overdressed, X was the perfect antidote to Candide! 35 years they've been plying their glorious and irreverent noise on stage, and it still works.

I have enjoyed the music of

I have enjoyed the music of Candide for a long time but have never seen a staging of it. I'm still not sure if I can say I liked it. The performers were outstanding although the speaking parts were a bit hard to understand and the staging was excellent. I for one really like the projections. It's not an opera I would go out of my way to see but I'm glad I saw it this time. I do commend Portland Opera for bringing us unusaul and new productions.

I was at the performance of

I was at the performance of Candide on May 13th, Mother's Day, I took my 13 yr old son it was his first opera performance ever. I am a lover of the art's and enjoy the opera with no hesitation. The performance of Candide was done very well and the fact it was in English was enjoyable. I was most impressed that my teenage son loved it and has asked to go to another performance of the opera association. I am very well pleased that Candide was a great experience and a wonderful time for both of us on Mother's Day.

This was the worst opera

This was the worst opera (operetta,musical or whatever) I have ever witnessed. Aside from the music it was even worse than "Nixon in China". If you call it a Musical Comedy I fail to see the humor. Several people sitting in front of me left before the ordeal was over. I'd have done the same had I been alone. I think patrons should be warned in advance when Portland Opera is going to put on this kind of propaganda.

Woe with me. Appears I have

Woe with me. Appears I have lost my sense of humor. Terrified I was also about to be at risk for loss of the deep appreciation and pleasure I find in satire. Luckily, none present, so none lost. I love political satire. I love religious satire. I love sexual satire. I am not fond of hackneyed, dull, slapstick which probably explains the majority of my negative reaction. I need to shout that the Jew character absolutely offended me. Was this anti-Semitic, worn out, lame characterization truly the very best creative result anyone could up with for this character? I am amazed that there are still people around actually able to be brought to laughter and giggles by a butt grab or a crotch scratch. I walked out longing for a more creative, witty, intelligent, somehow connected (to the present day state of youthful optimism/pesimism) performance. I continue to believe that the Keller Auditorium is not a good venue for opera. The sound just does not work.

Guess I will need to self-sooth as I appear to be sitting out here (thus far) alone wondering: what in the world was that? I did overhear a comment as I left the sound-Killer Auditorium. It was: "the lucky ones were the ones who left at intermission". For whatever it is worth, I did think the Newmark worked well for Galileo Galilei.

I want to attend live opera. I have and want to support the Portland Opera. Frankly, I am being lost to MET Hi Def performances.

I did enjoy the music and the singing especially the leads. All (when I could hear and understand them) were just wonderful voices. I appreciated the performer's enthusiasm. I thought set handling was creative.

I was so ready to enjoy

I was so ready to enjoy Candide for the Sunday matinee, but I sadly left at intermission time. My problem was the long blocks of spoken language that to my aging ear were unintelligible because there were no sur-titles to help me understand. Yes, I knew the story and loved the music, but I felt cheated. Why not CAPTION the entire thing? Signed, Disappointed in Portland cwj

What a delight! I'm always

What a delight! I'm always excited to be attending Portland Opera, but was not feeling overly enthusiastic about seeing Candide again. Thank you for sending me out the door laughing, singing, and deeply moved by your production. You continue to bring us remarkable performers able to sing *and* act. The comic touches in this production were hilarious (and a gentle respite from the sometimes dark nature of the work). And the staging was a delightful whirlwind of images. As others have observed, I missed a lot of the spoken parts. Perhaps supertitles for these would help.

THANK YOU for awakening in me a love for this opera!

The music and singing were

The music and singing were wonderful, especially Candide and Cunegonde's voices were wonderful. The spoken words of Pangloss and the Old Lady were not clearly enough enunciated, nor were they loud enough, so I missed a lot of dialogue. And I was sitting in the orchestra, not very far back. The scenery was beautiful. I have seen other, more engaging productions of this operetta. This one did not draw me in. I fell asleep 6 or 7 times, mostly during the first act. Most of the cast seemed to be just reciting their lines, not really embodying their characters. Again, Candide and Cunegonde were very appealing, but they could not carry everyone else. For goodness sake, wake up this cast before next weekend. There's great comedy in this show, but the cast must work to maximize it.

I am continually amazed and

I am continually amazed and gratified by the superb musicianship and artistry of Portland Opera. Candide, especially the orchestration and singing and staging (well, that's everything, isn't it!) was wonderful. I am hearing-impaired, however, and for the first time, I struggled at the opera because I couldn't hear what was being said, and there were no titles above to help. I could hear (the volume was fine) but I couldn't understand. It was so frustrating. I hope you find a solution in the future if you continue to stage productions with a lot of spoken dialogue. Otherwise, thank you for a wonderful production on one of Oregon's stellar spring days.

Candide is a brilliant show -

Candide is a brilliant show - wonderful music wonderfully done by a terrific, really first-rate cast and the always-brilliant Portland Opera chorus and orchestra. The Voltaire satire shines right through.

At the talk-back after Sunday's performance, there was some mention of possible "political correctness" issues in this show written fifty-some years ago. If the Simpsons can leap over those lines, Candide can certainly tiptoe over them.

Only two notes:

1. The Old Woman's scene in the second act that is played far upstage R was quite difficult to hear, even way down in the front of the house.

2. How about a nice shiny red skullcap for the cardinal instead of the mitre when he's opposite Don Issachar and his yarmulke. It would give not only a nice visual counterpoint, but it would also help in a small way to push Voltaire's views on religion a little further down the track.

All in all, a very good choice, a good finish to a lovely season.

CarrieMcPeak's picture

The actors were difficult to

The actors were difficult to hear above the orchestra, and they rushed their spoken lines (I really didn't understand a lot of the lines, maybe they need to display all of the lines, not just the lyrics, for the audience.) The sets were disappointing (the projections are a low-budget way to get out of producing sets, I suppose) as they frequently dimmed out the chorus altogether, although some of the projections were nicely done. I suppose that I'm just used to more pageantry with opera (it's not, after all, "Waiting for Godot", and the audience expects a little more glamour.)

Uncle Lenny's music, of course, is brilliant, and it's a funny, funny opera. The orchestra was solid, and some of the singing was wonderful.

The venue is really in need of new carpeting and a facelift in general, it has a rather shabby feel to it.
I was sorry to see so many empty seats. Do you do any kind of last-minute standby student pricing or anything? It would seem to make sense to fill those spaces even if it were for just $10 or $15.

Thanks so much for your

Thanks so much for your comments, Carrie. I did want to let you know that we DO have special last-minute Rush Tickets for students, military personnel and seniors to always make certain they can see the show. One hour prior to every performance, any remaining seat is available for just $10 for students and military, and $20 for seniors, with appropriate ID. Please spread the word!

First: What I really liked

What I really liked about Candide was the music, the stage direction, and the set (fantastic!).
What I appreciated was the projected text for the songs (some of them weren't very clear, especially the Old Woman's).
What was really disappointing was the haste and the lack of projection of the spoken dialogue. Most of the time the cast spoke too fast (especially with those who used accents) and not clearly. I'm glad I ushered for the PSU production several years ago so I knew the story line; unfortunately, it was new for my husband and he missed a lot.
Please remind your cast that diction/enunciation cannot not ever be emphasized too much. They may think they sound funny if speaking a bit slower and stressing their consonants, but the audience will appreciate it.

I'm sorry to say that I did

I'm sorry to say that I did not love Portland Opera's version of Candide. I have loved the music for years, but had never seen the operetta, so splurged for a ticket in the ninth row far to the left. I read Voltaire's book a week before the performance and wondered how it could ever be made into a play. (It would take a genius.) The book is all over the place and so is the production. I would not have known what was going on had I not read the book. And the acoustics were terrible!

I could hear the two lovely leads when they sang, but missed much of Dr. Pangloss' narration and some lines from the one-butt-cheek woman and the man who played many roles. There were some funny moments, but it was basically an uneven production. There was nothing to endear me to the characters, so the emotional final song "Make Our Garden Grow" seemed an anomaly and did not move me. I wish Bernstein had chosen another vehicle in which to place his beautiful music.

Sorry to be so negative. I could see that a lot of work and energy and talent went into the production

In all fairness, the man sitting next to me thought it was great fun, and he heard lines that I missed.

Delightful evening! Have

Delightful evening! Have known the music for years, but never had a chance to place it with the stage. Use of projection was an excellent choice - allowed much more vibrant and varied scenic elements that really helped move the story along.

One frustration for me, very difficult to hear the spoken dialogue. In a Perfect World it would be nice to provide reenforcement for the narration only, just to carry that vital story-line information.

We thought it was the best

We thought it was the best staging of any opera this year, and the best production of Candide I have seen ( the 4th production)

this opera was hilarious it

this opera was hilarious it reminded me of monty python's comedy this is 1 of my favorite operas