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Starring Kelsey Grammer and Christine Ebersole


Final Performance Sunday Feb. 18!

Kelsey Grammer and Christine Ebersole star in Bernstein's round-the-world romp! Freewheeling 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.

Five-time Emmy Award winner Kelsey Grammer takes on the delightful double role of satirical author Voltaire and optimistic philosopher Pangloss, with two-time Tony Award winner Christine Ebersole in the riotous role of the Old Lady. LA Opera's company premiere celebrates the centenary of composer Leonard Bernstein, whose brilliant score features some of musical theater’s greatest hits—the exuberant overture, the show-stopping “Glitter and Be Gay” and the life-affirming “Make Our Garden Grow”—as we follow our optimistic hero’s journey from rapture to ruin to redemption.

"Glorious... a Candide for all" - Los Angeles Times

"Stunning and captivating" - Broadway World

Click here to read James Conlon's program note on Candide.

Click here to listen to our Candide podcast with James Conlon.


There are currently no upcoming performances.

Approximate running time: three hours, including one intermission.

This production uses strobe lighting.

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

Get a sneak peek at Candide:


Creative Team


Click here for a synopsis in Spanish.

Act One
Candide, a youth of obscure origins, lives with the Baron and Baroness of Westphalia and their two children, Maximilian and Cunegonde. When Candide—inspired by the coupling of his tutor, Pangloss, and Paquette, a servant girl—proposes to marry Cunegonde, he is kicked out of the castle and recruited to the Bavarian Army. After taking part in a bloody battle between Bavaria and Westphalia, he travels to Holland, where he is reunited with Pangloss, who informs him that the Baron, Baroness and Cunegonde have been killed. In reality, Cunegonde has survived and is being shared by two lovers: Don Issachar and the Grand Inquisitor.

Pangloss and Candide travel to Lisbon, arriving just as a terrible earthquake strikes the city. As they philosophize about the event, they are overheard and arrested for blasphemy. Pangloss is sentenced to death, Candide to flogging. An old woman takes Candide away and orchestrates a reunion between him and Cunegonde. When Don Issachar surprises the lovers, Candide kills him; the Grand Inquisitor soon suffers the same fate. Candide, Cunegonde and the Old Woman flee to Spain, where they meet Cacambo, who suggests they travel together to the New World.

Act Two
In Montevideo, the Governor takes an interest in Cunegonde. With Cacambo, Candide goes to Paraguay and is reunited with Maximilian, who has joined a Jesuit order. When Maximilian objects to Candide’s proposed marriage to Cunegonde, Candide kills him.

Candide and Cacambo flee and find themselves in El Dorado, where they lack for nothing—except Cunegonde. Determined to find her, they set off again. Cacambo sails for Montevideo to retrieve Cunegonde; the two friends plan to meet in Venice. Vanderdendur, a slave trader, agrees to take Candide to Venice, but robs him instead. Candide chooses a new traveling companion: Martin. On a Tunisian galley, Candide and Martin meet Pangloss and Maximilian—alive but enslaved—and buy their freedom. In Venice, they are reunited with Paquette, then Cacambo. At a masquerade ball, the Old Woman and Cunegonde approach Candide, looking for money. When Cunegonde’s mask comes off, Candide is startled by what she has become. He closes his Venetian palazzo and, taking the others with him, moves to the mountains, where all put away their old lives and find useful work.

Synopsis courtesy of The Glimmerglass Opera.

News & Reviews


Click here to listen to James Conlon's podcast on Candide.


Pre-Show Lecture

Prior to every performance, LA Opera's acclaimed Music Director Maestro James Conlon and other scholars of note hold an engaging and informative talk about the opera our audience is about to see. Generously sponsored by The Flora L. Thornton Foundation and The Opera League of Los Angeles, these talks are free of charge to those attending the performance and take place in the Eva and Marc Stern Grand Hall inside the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.

Click here to see the pre-show talk for Candide.