Alliance Theatre
through May 20, 2018

It is sometimes difficult to openly state your opinions when those in power hold different views. Many years ago there was a critical satirist in France who had spent time in the Bastille. He was François-Marie Arouet. Once he got out of the slammer, he changed his name to Voltaire. He had a long life in Europe, and is a name known around the world.

In 1759 he published Candide and it wasn’t a total success right away. But, it did deal with optimism vs. religion and government and how some among us always think things may improve. Remind you of anything going on today?

In 1956 Leonard Bernstein joined with Lillian Hellman to bring this operetta to stage. Once again there may have been mixed reviews, but to this day Bernstein’s overture is one everybody adores, and the production has been tweaked many times.

This is one incredible collaboration like something you have never seen before. The Alliance presents this one with The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra on stage, as well as the ASO Chorus, and the action moves along with a great cast, projected images and even puppetry, as the saga unfolds.

Susan Booth directed this huge production, and Robert Spano not only took to the stage as conductor, but got into some schtick himself. The show gets going by the narrator, Dr. Pangloss (Christopher Sieber). The four principals who live, die and live again are Candide (Aaron Blake), the object of his affection, Cunegonde (Alexandra Schoeny) and Paqette (Janine DiVita) and Maximilian (Hunter Ryan Herdlicka). And Matt Acheson is the puppet master.

While Candide is one of those that we may have avoided back in school days, this is not your average Candide. It is an evening of spectacular presentations and the story line is not so motivating when it is, as the Bard would say, The Play’s the Thing.

This is not one you’ll see coming back in this manner in the near future, so you may wish to gab your tickets now, if you can. The performance is at Symphony Hall. More info at