Bernstein: Candide / Hadley, Anderson, Bernstein

Release Date: 7/29/2014
Catalog Number: B002092109
Conductor: Leonard Bernstein
Number of Discs: 1

Physical Format:

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Notes and Editorial Reviews
BERNSTEIN Candide Leonard Bernstein, cond; Jerry Hadley ( Candide ); June Anderson ( Cunegonde ); Adolph Green ( Dr. Pangloss/Martin ); Christa Ludwig ( Old Lady ); Nicolai Gedda ( Governor/Vanderdendur/Ragotski ); Della Jones ( Panquette ); London SO & Ch DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON B0006905-09 (DVD: 147:00)

If we were to discover a video of Mozart conducting Die Zauberflöte , we would hardly quibble with the setting or the cast. And so it is with this DVD of the 1989 concert at the Barbican in London, where the supreme master composer and musician, Leonard Bernstein, held the podium, lecturing and conducting his brilliant stillborn Broadway baby, Candide . A flop at the time of its premiere in 1956, despite a great cast, Candide is unlikely ever to be revived in its original form, since Lillian Hellman, and now her estate, forbade any further use of her book. Rewritten with the help of Hugh Wheeler and Stephen Sondheim, its numerous revivals have been singularly unsatisfactory, even though Candide is indisputably one of the finest Broadway scores ever written. Bernstein gives us quite a bit of the checkered history of the creation in monologues to the audience, but attempts to keep it light, not always successfully. Even though I am not enamored of the unremitting winking and jocularity from performers to audience, much of it flat, weary and tiresome, the participation of Bernstein in this concert DVD and the commercial CD recording that ensued make them each an irreplaceable treasure.

As for the cast, no need to quibble at all. Jerry Hadley is an ideal Candide (what a good career as a Broadway lead he might have had in another era), June Anderson is a grand opera Cunegonde with high wattage power, more perhaps on the “glitter” side and maybe not quite so “gay,” but with flawless diction, unusual in a high-voiced diva, and plenty of personality. If Anderson is not on the level of creator Barbara Cook (no one is) or the effervescent Kristin Chenoweth in the New York Philharmonic staged concert DVD (also recommended), she’s nonetheless a pleasure in this challenging role. The legendary and colorful Adolph Green, Bernstein’s lyricist collaborator for On the Town and Wonderful Town , is a delight as Dr. Pangloss. And we get Christa Ludwig, Nicolai Gedda, and Della Jones, to boot! The playing of the London Symphony is first-rate, far better than what you’d get from a Broadway pit orchestra. The filming is expert, the sound superb. The bottom line: you have to have this DVD. No arguments, please, for this is indisputably the “best of all possible worlds.”

FANFARE: James Camner

STEREO: PCM / SURROUND: Dolby Digital 5.1 & DTS 5.1
Picture Format: 4:3
Subtitles: German/English/French
Works on This Recording
1. Candide by Leonard Bernstein
Performer: Nicolai Gedda (Tenor), Adolph Green (Tenor), Jerry Hadley (Tenor), John Treleaven (Tenor), Kurt Ollmann (Baritone), June Anderson (Soprano), Christa Ludwig (Mezzo Soprano), Della Jones (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor: Leonard Bernstein
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1956/1988 ; USA
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