LA Opera presents Candide, starring Kelsey Grammer and Christine Ebersole

James Conlon conducts company premiere, celebrating the Leonard Bernstein centenary, in Francesca Zambello's staging

(Los Angeles) January 9, 2018 — General Director Plácido Domingo has announced final details about LA Opera's company premiere of Candide, Leonard Bernstein's 1956 musical comedy classic. Music Director James Conlon will conduct a cast led by Emmy winner Kelsey Grammer and Tony winner Christine Ebersole, both making their company debuts. Performances take place at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion (135 North Grand Avenue, Los Angeles CA 90012).

Free-wheeling and funny, satirical and soaring, Candide takes the audience on a whirlwind tour of human folly and foolishness. Brimming with youthful innocence, Candide is certain that he lives in the best of all possible worlds. But an unrelenting series of ridiculously unfortunate events makes him question everything he has been taught.

"LA Opera is proud to take part in the international celebrations marking the centenary of Leonard Bernstein, an iconic American composer and conductor with whom I had the great honor to collaborate during his lifetime," said Mr. Domingo, who recently honored Bernstein in Vienna, conducting the Waltz from his Divertimento for Orchestra at the Vienna Philharmonic Ball. "Bernstein’s incredible artistic legacy encompassed both classical and popular music with equal dexterity. Candide has a foot in both worlds, for it is as much at home in the opera house as it is on Broadway. The brilliant score presents vocal and dramatic challenges on a number of levels, so we have looked to the worlds of opera, Hollywood and Broadway to assemble our magnificent cast."

Performance Dates and Times
(Updated on January 29, 2018, with added performance.) There will be six performances of Candide presented at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion (135 North Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, 90012):

• Saturday, January 27, 2018, at 7:30pm
• Saturday, February 3, 2018, at 7:30pm
• Thursday, February 8, 2018, at 7:30pm
• Sunday, February 11, 2018, at 2pm
• Thursday, February 15, 2018, at 7:30pm
• Saturday, February 17, 2018, at 2pm - Added Performance
• Sunday, February 18, 2018, at 2pm

The Cast
Kelsey Grammer makes his LA Opera debut in the dual role of Voltaire and Candide's tutor Dr. Pangloss. An initial role as Dr. Frasier Crane on Cheers developed into the cornerstone of the Juilliard-trained actor’s career. He played the celebrated character in three different television series (Cheers, Wings and Frasier) over a span of 20 years, tying the record for longest-running television character. He has won six Emmys, three Golden Globes and a SAG Award and has received an unparalleled 16 Emmy nominations, eight Golden Globe nominations, 16 SAG nominations and one Tony nomination. His recent Broadway appearances include leading roles in Finding Neverland and La Cage aux Folles.

Musical theater legend Christine Ebersole, who won Tony Awards for her Broadway appearances in 42nd Street and Grey Gardens, will appear as the long-suffering but ever resilient Old Lady, who gets swept up in Candide's around-the-world travels. She most recently starred on Broadway in the new musical War Paint as trailblazing cosmetic icon Elizabeth Arden, a performance for which she earned her fourth Tony nomination.

Fast-rising tenor Jack Swanson sings the title role of the innocent young Candide. He recently made his Glyndebourne Festival Opera debut as Count Almaviva in The Barber of Seville and will appear with Santa Fe Opera this summer as Lindoro in The Italian Girl in Algiers.

Erin Morley, one of today’s most in-demand coloratura sopranos, will appear as Cunegonde. Her engagements this season include Olympia in The Tales of Hoffmann at the Metropolitan Opera, and both Zerbinetta in Ariadne auf Naxos and Sophie in Der Rosenkavalier at the Vienna State Opera.

Peabody Southwell appears as Paquette and Matthew Scollin performs the roles of James and Martin. The cast also includes several members of LA Opera's Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program: Theo Hoffman as Maximilian and the Reverend Father; Joshua Wheeker as Cacambo; Brian Michael Moore as the Grand Inquisitor and the Governor; and Taylor Raven as the Baroness and Vanderdendur.

The Creative Team
An internationally recognized director of opera and theater, Francesca Zambello has staged LA Opera productions of The Trojans, Billy Budd, Porgy and Bess and Florencia en el Amazonas. She has been the general director of the Glimmerglass Festival since 2010, and the artistic director of the Washington National Opera at the Kennedy Center since 2012. The associate director is E. Loren Meeker. The scenery and costumes were respectively designed by James Noone and Jennifer Moeller, with lighting designed by Mark McCullough. Grant Gershon is the chorus director and the choreographer is Eric Sean Fogel. The sound designer is Kai Harada.

Advance Tickets
Tickets are on sale now. Tickets begin at $18 and can be purchased in person at the LA Opera Box Office at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, by phone at 213.972.8001 or online at For disability access, call 213.972.0777 or email

This production is a co-production of The Glimmerglass Festival, Opéra National de Bordeaux and Théâtre du Capitole de Toulouse.

LA Opera is a non-profit organization dedicated to serving the greater Los Angeles community.

Yamaha is the Official Piano of LA Opera.

LA Opera Media Contact:
Diane Bergman
Vice President, Marketing and Communications | 213.972.7503