Critical Acclaim for James Conlon's Candide at LA Opera

James Conlon

Mainly, though, this is a "Candide" that tries to have a little of it all without ever getting out of hand. The cast features young opera singers and two Broadway (and television) veterans, Kelsey Grammer and Christine Ebersole. Broadway sound-designer Kai Harada adds respectfully restrained amplification. James Conlon conducts with Verdian verve.
Even so, the greatness of "Candide" is that, as Conlon also suggests in his note, is that it is no one thing. In Bernstein, stylistic opposites and theatrical opposites may attract but not tidily. The L.A. Opera "Candide" makes its garden grow by tidying up and making do of a glorious mess like no other.

Los Angeles Times
January 28, 2018
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After watching LA Opera’s new Candide I'm still not sure whether it’s half an opera, three quarters an operetta, or a musical and a half, but who cares when director Francesca Zambello’s team put together a production that was so swell to look at and so easy to fall in love with. There was no costume that wasn’t addictive to look at, not one moment when the backstage conceit didn’t work to the extent that an extravagant El Dorado sequence with Las Vegas showgirls strutting about would have put a smile on Busby Berkeley’s face. James Conlon in the pit had total control of the motion and flow, and the LA Opera Orchestra soared. Before the intermission it was like one of those MGM musicals when Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney put on their own shows. The company has already added a matinee and could probably sell out an extended run.

January 30, 2018
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