Mark Fleischmann
December 13, 1991 AT 05:00 AM EST

Candide

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
Unrated
runtime
148 minutes
performer
Jerry Hadley, June Anderson, Adolph Green, Leonard Bernstein
director
Humphrey Burton
distributor
Deutsche Grammophon
author
Hugh Wheeler
genre
Documentary, musical

We gave it a B

This ambitious musical about an innocent’s rough journey toward a less optimistic experience of life came from the nibs of Leonard Bernstein and a thousand wordsmiths. First produced on Broadway in 1956, Candide is never less than melodically warm and shining, even in the high seriousness of its ”final revised version,” based on the 1988 Scottish Opera production and recorded in a formal concert performance shortly before the composer’s death. Bernstein conducts the London Symphony Orchestra and Chorus and addresses the audience; the learned interludes, mugging, and asides foster an anecdotal ambience, as though he knew he’d have to compensate for his liturgical-sounding insertions. Thanks to that and a company-wide case of winter flu, this version of Candide ends up being less relaxed than just plain slack. Seek out the newly remastered Sony Broadway CD of the original cast for a briefer, more pointed, and ultimately more satisfying Candide. B

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