Candide Kickstarts Victorian Opera’s 2024 Season -

Eddie Perfect in Candide photo by Charlie Kincross supplied Victorian Opera

Candide Kickstarts Victorian Opera’s 2024 Season

by Paul Cashmere on February 13, 2024

in News

The Victorian Opera production of ‘Candide’ drew a different audience than you would expect to find at a night at the opera. Victorian Opera certainly chose a different production to start the 2024 season.

Leonard Bernstein’s ‘Candide’ is based on Voltaire’s (controversial at the time) 1759 novel. It sent up traditional religions and in its day it was listed as a “prohibited book” by the Catholic Church and found by the French parliament to be “contrary to religion and morals”. Of course, all that just makes for a better plot in 2024.

Over the decades ‘Candide’ evolved and was adapted to various formats, opening as a musical in 1951 and premiering on Broadway in 1956. After ‘Candide’, Bernstein’s next work was ‘West Side Story’. This new production from Victorian Opera is bright and funny and is based on Bernstein’s last revision.

The orchestra, conducted by Benjamin Northey, is fully visible on stage and become part of the show.

Victorian Opera casting actor Eddie Perfect in the lead role of Doctor Pangloss and Voltaire seemed a strange move when announced but Eddie’s ability to straddle the musical and dialogue storyline works “perfectly” for this show and he is a flawless complimentary role to Lyndon Watts part as Candide.

Soprano Katherine Allen is the constant reminder that we really are at on opera with her character Cunegonde. Likewise, the excellent casting of Maria Mercedes as the Old Lady and Euan Fistrovic Doidge as Maximillian, Troy Sussman as Martin, Alexander Lewis as the Governor and Eddie Muliaumaseali’i as Cacambo bring this 1950s production into the here and now.

With Katherine’s soprano and Eddie M’s bass along with the colourful costumes reflecting the colourful dialogue ‘Candide’ is a fast-paced show that appeals to a younger demographic.

Victorian Opera’s next production Parrawang Lifts The Sky will premiere in May.

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