Bold. Brave. Brilliant.

Celebrate Leonard Bernstein with Arizona Opera

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Media Contact:

Carlotta Soares

Director of Marketing,

Communications & PR

d: 602.218.7341

m: 602.421.0846


Celebrate Leonard Bernstein with Arizona Opera

Bringing company premiere of Bernstein’s Candide to Tucson and Phoenix.



Tuesday, January 9, 2018 (PHX): Arizona Opera celebrates composer Leonard Bernstein’s centennial with the company premiere of Candide. Fast-paced, funny and philosophical, this Tony award-winning Broadway smash is also considered an operatic masterpiece. Based on the novella by Voltaire, the naïve Candide sets off to explore the world but is beset by an endless series of comedic disasters. With musical highlights including “Glitter and Be Gay” and “Make Your Garden Grow,” Candide leaves audiences humming hit tunes while affirming that the path to happiness is seldom as straight as it seems.


“Although originally created for a Broadway stage in the late 1950s, Candide was not an initial success,” said John Johnson, Board Chair of Arizona Opera. “However, the work has found its niche in moving to the operatic stage—an ideal platform to highlight the complexities of its music.”


Arizona Opera once again partners this season with the Tucson Desert Song Festival. Over a period of eighteen days spanning from mid-January into February, the 2018 Festival will recognize Bernstein’s influence and impact on American music. The Festival will promote various Bernstein-related events, lectures and performances, including our Tucson performances of Candide and recitals by Metropolitan opera stars Jennifer Cano (January 17) and Lisette Oropesa (January 30), both of which will take place at Holsclaw Hall at the Fred Fox School of Music at the University of Arizona (visit for recital information and ticket purchases).


Candide begins at Tucson Music Hall with two performances, Saturday, January 27, at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, January 28, at 2:00 p.m. Candide then travels to Symphony Hall in Phoenix for three special performances, on Friday, February 2 and Saturday, February 3, at 7:30 p.m. and on Sunday, February 4, at 2:00 p.m. Tickets start at $25 and can be purchased at or by calling 602.266.7464 or 520.293.4336.


Joseph Colaneri conducts this original Bernstein composition, with direction by Christopher Mattaliano, who led the original creation of this production with Portland Opera. Miles Mykkanen performs the title role, with Curt Olds returning to the Arizona Opera as Pangloss, Voltaire, Cacambo, and Martin. Marion Roose Pullin Arizona Opera Studio Artists Katrina Galka and Stephanie Sanchez sing Cunegonde and Paquette, respectively. Mezzo-soprano Catherine Cook sings the role of The Old Lady with Studio Artists Jarrett Porter, Anthony Ciaramitaro and Zachary Owen performing a variety of roles. Porter sings the parts of Maximilian and Captain, Ciaramitaro sings the Governor, Vanderdendur and Ragotski, and Owen sings the roles of Max’s Attendant, 1st Officer, James, Informer #1, the Archbishop, Waitress #2, Father Bernard, Native and Sailor. Kathleen Berger rounds out the cast with the roles of Baroness, Lisbon Woman, Waitress #1, Slave and Guest.


The Arizona Opera production of Candide is generously sponsored by Jeannette J. Segel, The Estate of Esther E. Alcorn, Dr. Judith G. Wolf, and Dr. Dorothy Lincoln-Smith. Arizona Opera’s 2017/18 Season is presented by CopperPoint Insurance Companies.


Arizona Opera will be offering additional companion events leading up to our performance dates as part of the American Musical Masters Series and Tucson Desert Song Festival. Additionally, Arizona Opera is presenting its first annual American Musical Masters Series, which this year will celebrate the life and legacy of Leonard Bernstein, and which will feature discussions with two of Bernstein’s children, Jamie Bernstein and Nina Bernstein. The full listing of events is included below.


Wednesday, January 17, 2018 - 10:30AM


Join us for a free music and lecture series at the Kerr Cultural Center. Get a detailed look at each opera and receive exclusive, behind-the-scenes information about our productions. This lecture series is ideal for all opera lovers— of all ages. Reservations are available through the Kerr Cultural Center two weeks before the event. Tickets: Free Locaton: Kerr Cultural Center (6110 N Scottsdale Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85253).


Wednesday, January 17, 2018 - 3:00PM


Enjoy University of Arizona vocal arts students singing key arias from shows in Arizona Opera’s 2017/18 season as the Tucson Opera Guild previews Bernstein’s Candide. These free opera previews are held prior to each Arizona Opera mainstage opera.

Tickets: Free (no registration required) Location: Oro Valley Library (1305 W. Naranja Drive, Oro Valley, AZ, 85737).


Friday, January 19, 2018 - 12:00PM


Audiences are invited to bring a sack lunch and enjoy a second performance of Say Hello to Opera on Fridays prior to Arizona Opera's mainstage performances. OGSA provides free cookies, coffee and tea. Additional information is available at

Tickets: Free (no registration required) Location:

Grace St. Paul Episcopal Church (2331 E Adams St, Tucson, AZ 85719).


Friday, January 19, 2018 - 6:00PM


Enjoy a glass of wine and discuss details of a main stage opera with President and General Director Joseph Specter. Guests are invited behind the scenes to view a portion of the opera’s final rehearsal at Arizona Opera Center.

Tickets: $25.00 Location: Arizona Opera Center (1636 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, AZ 85004).


Saturday, January 20, 2018 - 7:30PM


Presented by the Tucson Desert Song Festival as part of the Tucson International Jewish Film Festival, join us for a screening of the classic film On the Waterfront. With a score by Candide composer Leonard Bernstein, this Oscar® award-winning crime drama is sure to shock and provoke as much as it did at its original premiere.

Tickets: Multiple ticket prices available through the Tucson International Jewish Film Festival Location: Tucson Jewish Community Center (3800 E. River Rd., Tucson, AZ 85718).


Monday, January 22, 2018 - 4:30PM


As part of the Tucson Desert Song Festival, learn about Leonard Bernstein impact on American music and his enduring legacy. This symposium features Jamie Bernstein, Leonard Bernstein's oldest daughter, and Dr. Matthew Mugmon, Leonard Bernstein Scholar-in-Residence.

Tickets: Free (no registration required) Location: University of Arizona, Fred Fox School of Music, Room 146 (1017 N Olive Rd, Tucson, AZ 85719).


Monday, January 22, 2018 - 7:00PM


Join us at Changing Hands' Phoenix for a discussion of Candide by Voltaire.

Tickets: Free (registration required through Arizona Opera Book Club) Location: Changing Hands PHX (300 W Camelback Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85013)


Monday, January 22, 2018 – 7:00PM


Presented through the Tucson Desert Song Festival, learn about Leonard Bernstein and his fascinating relationship with Judaism.

Tickets: Free (no registration required) Location: Tucson Jewish Community Center (3800 E. River Rd., Tucson, AZ 85718).


Tuesday, January 23, 2018 - 7:00PM


About the Event: Join Arizona Opera as we welcome Nina Bernstein Simmons, Leonard Bernstein's youngest daughter, as she guides us through the musical wit of her father's operatic masterpiece. This presentation is sure to delight and present a unique perspective on Arizona Opera's upcoming production of Candide. Tickets are $10 and registration available at

Tickets: $10.00 Location: Arizona Opera Center (1636 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, AZ 85004).


Thursday, January 25, 2018 - 5:00PM


Join us for the Tucson discussion of Candide by Voltaire.

Tickets: Free (registration required through Arizona Opera Book Club) Location: TBD


Friday, January 26, 2018 - 7:00PM


Special tickets are available for the final dress rehearsal of every mainstage opera. These nights are reserved specifically for students to get swept away by great music and stories- while enhancing classroom learning with pre-show presentations.

Tickets: Free for Title 1 schools; $5.00 for all other students; $10.00 for chaperones Location: Tucson Music Hall (260 S. Church Ave., Tucson, AZ 85701).


Saturday, January 27, 2018 - 3:45PM


Join us for FilmBar Film School where Arizona State University film professor Joe Fortunato will screen, discuss, and provide "live commentary" on the 1976 classic American musical West Side Story. Tickets: $9.00 Location: Film Bar (815 N. 2nd St., Phoenix, AZ 85004).


Monday, January 29, 2018 – 7:00PM


Join us for a discussion surrounding Leonard Bernstein and his legacy in American music. Featuring a panel of music experts from Arizona State University and moderated by Director of Education, Joshua Borths, this discussion will provide unique perspectives on this American Musical Master.

Tickets: Free (registration required) Location: Arizona Opera Center (1636 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, AZ 85004).


Wednesday, January 31, 2018 – 7:00PM


Join us for an intimate recital celebrating composer Leonard Bernstein and his rightful place among the greatest operatic composers in history including Verdi, Puccini and Mozart. This recital features Marion Roose Pullin Studio Artists and guest performances by Robert Erlichman and Rachel Stanton.

Tickets: $18.00 Location: Congregation Beth Israel (10460 N. 56th St., Scottsdale, AZ 85253).


Saturday, February 3, 2018 - 5:30PM


Glitter and be gay at Arizona Opera's first annual Out at the Opera! Join us as we revel in the wit and whimsy of Leonard Bernstein's Candide, affirming that the path to true happiness is seldom straight. Show your pride by using the promo code OPERAPRIDE for 50% off the Saturday, February 3rd performance of Candide and by attending a pre-performance fête featuring live entertainment, a specialty cocktail, light appetizers, a fanciful photo booth, and more! This event is presented in partnership with Phoenix Pride. Tickets: Prices vary, promo code or RSVP required for entrance to reception Location: Phoenix Symphony Hall (75 N. 2nd St., Phoenix, AZ 85004).


About Arizona Opera

Arizona Opera, originally the Tucson Opera Company, was founded in 1971 by a dedicated group of opera enthusiasts. Its inaugural season featured two performances of Rossini’s The Barber of Seville in Tucson and by the 1976 – 1977 season Arizona Opera was performing complete seasons in both Tucson and Phoenix. Since its inaugural year, Arizona Opera has produced over 170 fully-staged operas and concerts. The company’s artistic history is rich with a blend of opera’s traditional repertoire featuring baroque, bel canto, and verismo works, turn-of-the-century masterpieces, operettas, and American operas. Arizona Opera has also presented Wagner’s complete Ring Cycle twice, a feat that has only been accomplished in North America by four other companies.