Tag Archives: Leonard Bernstein

Erin Morley Talks Candide, #MeToo and The Pursuit of Happiness

Soprano Erin Morley takes her job as a performer very seriously. That’s why she spends so much time dissecting the roles she sings to get to their true grit. Even an operetta like Candide, which is seemingly whimsical and lighthearted, has plenty of dark themes at its core that are relatable in today’s society.

Erin Morley as Cunegonde in LA Opera's 2018 production of "Candide." (Photo: Ken Howard)

Erin Morley as Cunegonde in LA Opera’s 2018 production of Candide. (Photo: Ken Howard)

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Read What Audiences Are Saying About Candide!

On January 27, we opened the second half of our 2017/18 season with Leonard Bernstein’s comedic operetta Candide. Interested in attending and want to know what people thought? Read below to read just some of the many audience reactions from the show!

Kelsey Grammer as Voltaire and Jack Swanson as Candide in LA Opera's 2018 production of "Candide." (Photo: Ken Howard)

Kelsey Grammer as Voltaire and Jack Swanson as Candide in LA Opera’s 2018 production of Candide. (Photo: Ken Howard)

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Candide: A Note from Music Director James Conlon

“I am thrice homeless, as a native of Bohemia in Austria, as an Austrian among Germans, and as a Jew throughout the world. Everywhere an intruder, never welcomed.”—Gustav Mahler

What does that famous quote have to do with Candide, Voltaire and Leonard Bernstein? This year the world celebrates the Bernstein centenary. For those of us who grew up in New York in the fifties and sixties, he was our inspiration. Looking back at this giant, who seemed to be the embodiment of music—classical, jazz and popular—it is hard to believe that one man could be and do all he was and did: conductor, composer, pianist, lecturer and educator all rolled into one.

Jack Swanson (Candide) in a rehearsal with Music Director James Conlon for LA Opera's 2018 production of "Candide." (Photo: Ken Howard)

Jack Swanson (Candide) in a rehearsal with Music Director James Conlon for LA Opera’s 2018 production of “Candide.” (Photo: Ken Howard)

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Behind the Masterpiece: Everything You Need to Know About Candide

One of the greatest works in Western literature, Voltaire’s 1759 satirical novel Candide, or Optimism follows its eponymous hero on a whirlwind tour throughout much of the known world. Bernstein’s 1956 musicalization of the novel followed almost as many twists and turns on its journey from Broadway to the opera house.

On Jan. 27, we resume our 2017-18 season with Bernstein’s masterpiece. Before you go, here is everything you need to know about Candide.

A still from the original 1956 production of Bernstein's Candide. (From left to right: Max Adrian, Louis Edmonds, Barbara Cook and Robert Rounseville).

A still from the original 1956 production of Bernstein’s Candide. (From left to right: Max Adrian, Louis Edmonds, Barbara Cook and Robert Rounseville).

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Five Highlights from LA Opera’s Candide to Look Forward To

On Jan. 27, LA Opera returns for the second half of its 2017-18 season with Leonard Bernstein’s classic operetta Candide. With the premiere only weeks away, here are five highlights to look forward to in the lavish production.

A scene from Candide (2015); Photo: Karli Cadel / Glimmerglass Festival

A scene from Candide (2015); Photo: Karli Cadel / Glimmerglass Festival

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Candide: An Operetta for Everyone

What can be said about composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein that hasn’t already been said before? As one of the most prolific figures of the 20th century, the virtuoso has been deemed as “one of the most prodigiously talented and successful musicians in American history” by The New York Times. However, for those deeply familiar with his life and work, he’s affectionately known simply as “Lenny.”

Plácido Domingo and Leonard Bernstein (Nov. 14, 1986)

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10 Surprising Things About Wonderful Town

Presented by LA Opera

Presented by LA Opera

Wonderful Town opens on Friday, December 2nd, and we’ve been watching rehearsals all week. Here are some things we thought might surprise you.

1. Long before Carrie Bradshaw lived in Greenwich Village, Ruth and Eileen Sherwood, played by Faith Prince and Nikki M. James, sought out to find fame and fortune in the big city. Greenwich Village is the backdrop for Wonderful Town.

2. One guy can play lots of parts. Roger Bart, serves as the narrator of Wonderful Town, but he also serves as the Tour Guide, Speedy Valenti – the nightclub owner, Chick Clark – the sharp newspaper guy and others too. … Continue reading

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You Gotta Have Faith

Faith Prince; Photo: Anna Marie Rewal

Faith Prince; Photo: Anna Marie Rewal

Beloved Broadway diva Faith Prince won a Tony Award for her indelible portrayal of Miss Adelaide in a blockbuster 1992 revival of Guys and Dolls, her third show on the Great White Way. She now makes her LA Opera debut as Ruth Sherwood in Wonderful Town, another classic mid-century musical comedy.

How does a girl from Lynchburg, Virginia, end up on Broadway?

My parents weren’t performers, but I sang in the chorus and was in musicals in my school, which had a terrific drama program. My wonderful chorus director Carl Harris helped me get into the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and that changed my life. I started to see that I was making headway, that maybe I could do theater for a living. I went to Washington DC for a job that got me an Equity card, and then moved to New York in January of 1981. Not too long after that, I got into an Off Broadway show in Boston, got an agent, and I was off and running. And now I’ve just finished my 14th Broadway show!

You’ve worked with two of your Wonderful Town cast mates before on Broadway—Marc Kudisch in Bells Are Ringing in 2001 and Roger Bart in Disaster! earlier this year.

I love Roger like my own child. And I adore Marc, too. He’s a pussycat and I’m excited that he’s doing a sweet role for a change! My list of leading men is insanely wonderful, everybody from Jason Alexander to Nathan Lane, Richard Kind, Kevin Chamberlin, Oliver Platt, Martin Short… And I also worked with our director, David Lee, in Two by Two here in Los Angeles for Reprise.

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Bright Lights, Big City, Wonderful Town

Leonard Bernstein, composer of "Wonderful Town." (Photo: Paul de Heuck, courtesy The Leonard Bernstein Office, Inc.)

Leonard Bernstein, composer of Wonderful Town (2016); Photo: Paul de Heuck, courtesy The Leonard Bernstein Office, Inc.

For years, the version of New York City that Leonard Bernstein and Betty Comden and Adolph Green created in Wonderful Town really was the New York that many people around the country believed existed. It was a place where everyone was a lot smarter, a lot tougher, and moved a lot faster than other Americans did. Wonderful Town depicted New Yorkers with a wised-up wit, an unapologetic brashness (with a beating heart underneath), and battle scars from years of surviving life in the city—characters we came to believe were very much like the creators themselves.

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