Welsh National Opera’s “Candide” bursts onstage

Welsh National Opera’s “Candide” bursts onstage

Leonard Bernstein’s Candide is a supercharged wild ride in which 18th-century France crashes into 20th-century post-war America. Take a seat and strap in tight for a mind-boggling journey as you hurtle through a fantastical world of chaos – from castles in the Alps to skyscrapers in Montevideo, from earthquakes in Lisbon to the Amazonian jungles beyond the Andes. With societies riven by inequality and families displaced by war today, the story remains as relevant now as when it was first written in 1759.

From Bernstein’s compositional brilliance to the razor wit of Dorothy Parker, Candide is an ebullient romp that pulls together the best of Broadway, the champagne froth of operetta and the timeless satire of Voltaire’s original novella. WNO’s new production welcomes an award-winning team, who won the National French Critics’ award in 2022 for their production of The Snow Queen, and brings this zany, imaginative world to life and up to date with music, animation, dance and political bite.

“An ingeniously witty, all-out absurdist Candide from WNO”, says The Stage.

With a stellar cast and incredible animations from award-winning designer Grégoire Pont, it’s no wonder that Candide is an absolute treat for the eyes. Ed Lyon stars as Candide. Lyon studied at St John’s College, Cambridge, the Royal Academy of Music and the National Opera Studio. Irish soprano, Claudia Boyle stars as Cunégonde, Candide’s love interest. A former member of the Salzburger Festspiele’s Young Singers Project, Claudia is also the winner of the First Prize and the Critics’ Award of the Maria Callas competition in Verona. 

James Bonas directs this production of Candide, and Ewan Jones choreographs. James Bonas is an English director who combines imagination and intellect with curiosity for technology and new forms, to create modern storytelling in classical or contemporary theatre, opera and dance. Recent opera includes Jonathan Dove’s Flight for RCS and the French premiere of Abrahamsen’s Snow Queen (Opéra national du Rhin) featuring video and animations by Grégoire Pont. Jones is from Cheshire and trained at the Arts Educational School. He also holds an MA in Choreography. Choreography for screen includes Sex Education (Netflix) and The Ballad of Renegade Nell (Disney+). Stage credits include: The Phantom Of The Opera (Athens); Sister Act (as director/choreographer, Frankfurt); Matilda (Oslo); The Yeomen of the Guard (Grange Festival); Milky Peaks (Theatre Clwyd); She Loves Me (Sheffield Crucible) and many more.

Candide runs now through July 15 in Llandudno, Oxford, Birmingham, and Brecon. Run time is 2 hours and 25 minutes with one interval, and the production is sung in English. Ticket cost varies upon venue location. Click here to learn more.