Escape to the country: Bernstein’s Candide at Iford

This whirling, high-energy collaboration between Iford Arts and Opera Della Luna packs every possible punch in a furiously creative evening of constant costume changes, an endlessly reassembling set, and above all a blazing sense of commitment from Jeff Clarke’s fine cast. Candide’s endless, troubled travels feel like a parable of life itself, as he learns the farcical nature of optimism, clawing his way through sudden deaths and accidental killings, heading desperately and inexorably for disillusionment. The violence throughout is histrionic, yet hideously plausible: such cycles of human trafficking and murder continue in our own war-torn world. The vehemence of the libretto means that original vituperative rejection of McCarthyism never quite dies away: we may not be in America, but America (and its tendency towards self-deluded moral evangelism) is in the very bones of this piece.

Click here to read my full review on Bachtrack.

Candide full company

Closing company chorus. Photography: Mitzi de Margary

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