A Broadway milestone
Byron Kolln | the corner where Broadway meets Hollywood | 09/29/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Leonard Bernstein's CANDIDE was a Broadway flop when it first opened in 1956 at the Martin Beck Theatre, shuttering after an abysmal 73 performances. Though the show has never quite achieved the greatness it deserves, the Overture is considered to be one of the greatest, most thrilling ever written. The original 1956 cast album of the show has now been reissued on the Columbia Broadway Masterworks label.Based on the play by Voltaire, the show starred Robert Rounseville ('Mr Snow' in the film version of CAROUSEL) as Candide, with Irra Petina as the Old Woman with One Buttock and Max Adrian as Dr Pangloss. Barbara Cook (the City Center revival of CAROUSEL, PLAIN AND FANCY) stars as the young ingenue Cunegonde.The score, by Leonard Bernstein by lyrics by Richard Wilbur, John LaTouche and Dorothy Parker, is superb. The musical is best known for the devilish 'jewel song' aria "Glitter and Be Gay", sung by the clarion soprano of Barbara Cook, who infuses it with all the vocal pyrotechnics that it calls for."I Am Easily-Assimilated" is comically performed by Irra Petina, whilst the baritone of Robert Rounseville is showcased in "It Must Be So". As a bonus on this new reissue, there is the majestic sweeping Overture as performed by the New York Philharmonic under the baton of Leonard Bernstein himself. There are also brand-new liner notes including an essay from Barbara Cook.As well as this landmark recording, I also recommend the 1997 Broadway revival cast album (which features Harolyn Blackwell as Cunegonde and Jim Dale as Dr Pangloss). Buy them both today!"
Better words, better singing, all too brief!
Jeff Dunn | Alameda, California United States | 08/28/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Someday, a genius producer will make this show work, probably as a film instead of a staged production. Until then, we must bask in the fabulous music, the best of which, perfectly sung, remains on this all-too-abbreviated original cast recording. Ideally, this recording should be supplemented by Bernstein's 1989 recording of a complete score. The two together represent youth and age, sadly.
All the tinkering and updating went for naught when you compare the original "Best of all possible worlds" words with later versions. Candide was a child of the 18th century and 1950s and should remain so."