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Music Text

Book by Hugh Wheeler, after Voltaire. Lyrics by Richard Wilbur, Stephen Sondheim, John La Touche and Leonard Bernstein (E).


Major roles: S,2M,T,T/Bar,Bar; minor roles: 2S,4T,6Bar,2B; chorus
2(II=picc).1(=corA).2(I=Ebcl,ssax ad lib).1-
TD/BD/tamb/bongos/maracas/hand drs/tgl/susp.cym/cyms/tam-t/cast/
wdbls/gourd/xyl/glsp/vib/glass harmonica (optional)/chimes-

Abbreviations (PDF)


Boosey & Hawkes, Sole Agent

This work is available from Boosey & Hawkes for the world.


World premiere of version
New York City Opera, New York, NY
Patricia Birch, chor / Harold Prince, dir
Conductor: John Mauceri
Company: New York City Opera


PAQUETTE Mezzo-Soprano
OLD LADY Mezzo-Soprano
VOLTAIRE Tenor or Baritone
DR. PANGLOSS Tenor or Baritone
BUSINESSMAN Tenor or Baritone
GOVERNOR Tenor or Baritone
SECOND GAMBLER (Police Chief) Tenor or Baritone
SAGE Tenor or Baritone
3 Judges Tenor, Baritone and Bass
6 Dons 3 Tenors, 3 Baritones
Lion Bass
Pasha-Prefect Baritone
1st Gambler Baritone
1st Pink Sheep Soprano
2nd Pink Sheep Soprano
Servant of Maximilian
2 Bulgarian Soldiers
2 Waestphalian Soldiers
Don Issachar, the Jew
Grand Inquisitor
Heresy Agent
2 Inquisition Agents
Governor's Aide
Slave Driver
Father Bernard
4 Sailors
2 Pirates
Calliope Player

In the castle of Baron Thunder-Ten-Tronck in Westphalia, Dr. Pangloss tutors four children based on his philosophy that "all is for the best in this best of all possible worlds." The children are Cunegonde and Maximilian, the beautiful daughter and son of the Baron, Paquette, a servant girl, and Candide, a bastard cousin. Candide and Cunegonde fall in love and once their feelings are discovered, Candide is banished from Barony and tricked into joining the Bulgarian army to ravage his own homeland. After many misadventures, Candide is borne to Portugal where he discovers Pangloss, now a begger, and both are sentenced before the Spanish Inquisition. An Old Lady leads Candide away and eventually presents him to her mistress who happens to be Cunegonde. The three of them set forth on a harrowing journey to the New World. Meanwhile, in the New World, the Governor of Cartagena, Colombia purchases Maximilian (disguised as a woman) and Paquette as concubines. The Governor falls for Maximilian and is so disgusted upon learning his true gender he decides to sell him to a monastery. Candide eventually arrives at the monastery in the New World and inadvertently stabs Maximilian and runs off into the jungle with Paquette. After further misadventures, the Old Lady helps Candide find Cunegonde, who has since become a prostitute in a gambling casino, so he buys her and the newly brought back to life Maximilian, who happens to be working there as a house slave. Destitute but re-united, the four go to see a wise man that turns out to be Dr. Pangloss. Their old teacher reveals his new plan for happiness to the quartet: man must "work from dawn til’ dusk, in the fields, patiently learning to make his garden grow."


Comic, Romantic



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