Review: Cincinnati Symphony and May Festival Chorus’s semi-staged “Candide”

Posted on: May 27, 2022

“The Cincinnati May Festival continued its season on Sunday with Leonard Bernstein’s ‘Candide,’ in a semi-staged concert version in Music Hall,” writes Janelle Gelfand in Monday’s (5/23) Cincinnati Business Courier. “ ‘Candide’ may have seemed like an unusual choice for a choral festival that is known for oratorio or works like Beethoven’s Ninth, to be presented next weekend. But after enduring two years of Covid-19, it was the perfect choice. The audience laughed and laughed, and at the end, cheered and clapped in unison as the cast took their bows. And what a wonderful cast it was…. The May Festival Chorus was arrayed on risers behind the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra… the musicians played with stand lights…. There was plenty of room for acting, aided by the occasional prop or two…. Katharina Wincor made her festival debut leading Bernstein’s vivid score. The Overture was galvanizing and splashy. Her direction was clear and musical all evening…. The reduced Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra sounded terrific…. Actor Hugh Dancy’s … engaging narration … helped propel the action.” The duet “Oh, Happy We” with soprano Meghan Picerno and tenor Aaron Crouch “was a sweet, romantic moment, and in the orchestra, Bernstein’s music captured their wonder.”