A satirical novella by Voltaire meets a dazzling score by Leonard Bernstein in this 1956 operetta. The naïvely optimistic Candide sets out to explore the world, beset by an endless series of disasters, including war, an earthquake, and a shipwreck.

By turns funny, philosophical, and deeply moving, Candide mixes human foibles, supernatural catastrophes, and earthly adversity into a thoroughly entertaining whole. Come hear Bernstein’s legendary score, full of witty lyrics, romantic longing, and the greatest finale in all opera.

Friday, April 26, 2024 at 8 pm
Sunday, April 28, 2024 at 2:30 pm
Overture Hall
Sung in English with projected text

approx. run time: 2 hours 45 minutes, including one intermission


Wednesday, March 27 at 7:00 PM ~ Oakwood Village (West)
Thursday, March 28 at 7:00 PM ~ Capitol Lakes


April 4, 1-3 PM
Madison Opera Center


1 hour prior to curtain
Wisconsin Studio


Music by Leonard Bernstein
Book by Hugh Wheeler, after Voltaire
Lyrics by Richard Wilbur, Stephen Sondheim, John La Touche, Lillian Hellman, Dorothy Parker, and Leonard Bernstein

Premiered 1 December 1956
Martin Beck Theatre, New York

Previously at MO: 1993

Candide is in love with Cunegonde, the daughter of the noble house in Westphalia where he is brought up. Dr. Pangloss, their tutor, teaches them that everything in this world is for the best, and part of God’s universal plan.

Candide is then subjected to a series of disasters that test this theory.  He is expelled from Cunegonde’s home, war breaks out between Westphalia and its neighbor, and Cunegonde is seemingly killed. Candide takes comfort in the Panglossian doctrine and sets out on a journey. 

He encounters Dr. Pangloss, now struck by syphilis; the two men are captured by the Holy Inquisition, and sentenced to be hanged. An earthquake occurs, killing Dr. Pangloss, but Candide escapes. 

Cunegonde turns up alive in Paris and reunites with Candide. He kills her new lovers, and the pair flee to South America, accompanied by the Old Lady.  After adventures among war-like Jesuits and the wise inhabitants of the lost world of El Dorado, Candide returns to Venice, where he finds Cunegonde working in a casino.

Finally disillusioned, Candide realizes that the world is neither good nor bad, but what we make of it.

-courtesy of Scottish Opera 



2324 Headshot Martin Luther Clark
Martin Luther Clark

Madison Opera Debut
Recently: Luis Griffith, Champion; CJ, The Factotum; First Armed Man, Die Zauberflöte (Lyric Opera of Chicago); Orderly, The Diving Bell and The Butterfly (Dallas Opera); Rapunzel’s Prince, Into the Woods (Tulsa Opera)

2324 Headshot Jeni Houser
Jeni Houser

Madison Opera Debut: Ensemble, Acis and Galatea (2013)
Recently at MO: Lucia, Lucia di Lammermoor; Opera in the Park 2019; Anne, A Little Night Music; Olympia, The Tales of Hoffmann; Amy, Little Women; Johanna, Sweeney Todd
The Queen of the Night, The Magic Flute (Metropolitan Opera, LA Opera, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Central City Opera, Cincinnati Opera, Dallas Opera); Franzi, Die Weiden (Vienna State Opera); Lucia, Lucia di Lammermoor (Seoul Arts Center); Zerbinetta, Ariadne auf Naxos (Austin Opera, Minnesota Opera); Susanna, The Marriage of Figaro (Minnesota Opera)

2324 Headshot Meredith Arwady
Meredith Arwady
The Old Lady

Madison Opera Debut: Mrs. Lovett, Sweeney Todd (2015)
Recently at MO: Opera in the Park 2015

Recently: The Nightingale and Other Fables (Adelaide Festival Theatre); Gertrude, Romeo and Juliet; The Old Lady, Candide (The Glimmerglass Festival); Kathy Hagen, Champion (Metropolitan Opera); First Maid, Elektra (Washington National Opera); Martha, Sky on Swings (Opera Saratoga); Ruth, The Pirates of Penzance (Utah Opera)

2324 Headshot Alan Dunbar
Alan Dunbar
Pangloss / Martin

Madison Opera Debut: Alidoro, Cinderella (2012)
Recently at MO: 1st Nazarene, Salome; Sipos, She Loves Me; Joseph McCarthy / Interrogator / Frank, Fellow Travelers; Papageno, The Magic Flute; Schaunard, La Bohème; Dr. Bartolo, The Barber of Seville; Owen Hart, Dead Man Walking

Recently: Uberto, La Serva Padrona; Jesus, St. Matthew Passion (Bach Roots Festival); Soloist, Bach’s Christmas Oratorio; Soloist, Bach’s B Minor Mass (Bach Society of Minnesota); Die schöne Müllerin (Winona, MN)

Ridge, James
James Ridge

Madison Opera Debut
Recently:  Doc Gibbs, Our Town; Actor, Anton’s Shorts; Cyrano, Cyrano de Bergerac; Father, Eurydice (American Players Theatre); George, Who’s Afraid of Virgina Woolf; Lemml, Indecent (Milwaukee Chamber  Theatre); Everton, Junk (Milwaukee Repertory Theatre)
Upcoming:  Leonato, Much Ado About Nothing; Father Jack, Dancing at Lughnasa (American Players Theatre)

2324 Headshot Robert A Goderich
Robert A. Goderich
The Governor 

Madison Opera Debut: Amelia’s Servant, A Masked Ball (2012)
Recently at MO: Father, The Seven Deadly Sins; 1st Jew, Salome; John Styx, Orpheus in the Underworld; Headwaiter, She Loves Me; Beppe, Pagliacci; 1st Priest / Armored Man, The Magic Flute; Spalanzani, The Tales of Hoffmann; Pirelli, Sweeney Todd

Recently: Beadle Bamford, Sweeney Todd (Middleton Players Theatre); Pirelli, Sweeney Todd (Skylight Theater, cover San Francisco Opera); Albin, La Cage aux Folles (Music Theater of Madison)

2324 Headshot Luis Orozco
Luis Alejandro Orozco

Madison Opera Debut
Recently: Dr. Malatesta, Don Pasquale (Opera Omaha); Don Giovanni, Don Giovanni (Gulfshore Opera); Mano, Stuck Elevator (Nashville Opera); Flemish Deputy, Don Carlos; First Minister, Cendrillon (Metropolitan Opera); Marcello, La Bohème (Nashville Opera, Virginia Opera); Count Almaviva, The Marriage of Figaro (Intermountain Opera Bozeman); Falke, Die Fledermaus (Pacific Opera Project)
Upcoming: George, Sunday in the Park with George (El Paso Opera); Marco, Stuck Elevator (Hawaii Opera Theatre)

Headshot of Hailey Cohen
Hailey Cohen

Madison Opera Studio Artist
Recently:  Hattie, American Gothical (Cedar Rapids Opera); Sally, The Boy Who Wanted to be a Robot; K., Would You Eat Me? (Thompson Street Opera); Ember, Future Perfect (Bellissima Opera); Goddess of Hope, Droplet (Vizin Virtual Productions); Hansel, Hansel and Gretel (Vienna Summer Music Festival); Orfeo, Orfeo ed Euridice; Littler Daughter, Proving Up; Barbarina, The Marriage of Figaro (University of Michigan Opera)

Lewis, Scott
Scott Lewis

Madison Opera Debut
Recently: Gabe / Mr. D / Hades, The Lightning Thief; Dick Wilkins / Topper, A Christmas Carol; Doc O’Connor, The Laramie Project; Mullins, Peter Pan (Children’s Theater of Madison); An Evening of Rodgers & Hammerstein Classics (Four Seasons Theater); Sondheim on Sondheim; Caleb, The Spitfire Grill (Middleton Players Theater)

2324 Headshot John DeMain
John DeMain

Madison Opera Debut: The Magic Flute (1995)
Recently at MO: Tosca, Trouble in TahitiThe Seven Deadly SinsSalome, Opera in the Park 2022, Orpheus in the Underworld, She Loves MeFellow Travelers, La Traviata
Blue (Glimmerglass Festival); Candide (Gran Teatre de Liceu); Porgy and Bess (Seattle Opera); Lost in the Stars (Washington National Opera)

2324 Headshot Brian Cowing
Brian Cowing
Stage Director / Choreographer

Madison Opera Debut: Choreographer, She Loves Me (2022)
Director, The Flying Lover’s of Vitebsk (Forward Theater Company); A Christmas Carol, Stellaluna (Children’s Theater of Madison); All is Calm (Four Seasons Theatre); Choreographer, Love’s Labour’s Lost (American Players Theater); Heathers (University Theater, UW-Madison); Actor, Something Rotten, Annie (National Tour)

Upcoming: The Lightning Thief (Children’s Theater of Madison)


Kay & Martin Barrett

Diane Adams, in memory of Bert Adams

Carla & Fernando Alvarado

Kennedy Gilchrist & Heidi Wilde

Fran Klos

Patricia & Stephen Lucas

Thomas Terry

The Wallach Family

David Flanders & Susan Ecroyd

Amy & Jerry Nickles

The Ann Stanke Fund

Keely Futterer

Rosina, The Barber of Seville

Hometown: Dover, AR
Madison Opera Debut: Léontine, The Anonymous Lover (2024)

Recently: Musetta, La Bohème; Armida, Rinaldo; Charlene, Service Provider; Jazz Trio, Trouble in Tahiti (Minnesota Opera);
Armida, Rinaldo; Vanderdendur, Candide; Angostura, Tenor Overboard (Glimmerglass Festival);
Rodelinda, Rodelinda (Hudson Hall); Fiordiligi, Così fan tutte (Opera Memphis);
Marie, The Daughter of the Regiment (Opera Saratoga)

Upcoming: Anna Sørenson, Silent Night (Wolf Trap Opera); Marcellina, Leonora (Chicago Opera Theater);
Fiordiligi, Così fan tutte (Virginia Opera)

Weston Hurt

Baritone, Opera in the Park

Hometown: Spring, TX
Madison Opera Debut: Germont, La Traviata (2019)

Recently: Sharpless, Madama Butterfly (Houston Grand Opera, New Orleans Opera);
Britten's War Requiem (Opera Roanoke); Scarpia, Tosca (Arizona Opera);
Germont, La Traviata (Lyric Opera of Kansas City); Nabucco, Nabucco (Seattle Opera)

Upcoming: Rigoletto, Rigoletto (English National Opera)

Joshua Sanders

Tenor, Opera in the Park

Hometown: Plain, WI
Madison Opera Debut: Giuseppe, La Traviata (2011)
Also at MO: Tobias Ragg, Sweeney Todd; Inmate, Dead Man Walking; Ensemble, Acis and Galatea

Recently: Count Almaviva, The Barber of Seville; Romeo, Romeo and Juliet (Opera San José);
Tamino, The Magic Flute (Nashville Opera); Sam Clay, The Amazing Adventures of
Kavalier & Clay
workshop (Metropolitan Opera)

Upcoming:  Victorin, Die tote Stadt (Boston Symphony Orchestra)

Sachie Ueshima, wearing black in front of a stone staircase.
Sachie Ueshima

Zerlina, Don Giovanni

Hometown: Wakayama City, Japan
Madison Opera Debut
Former Madison Opera Studio Artist

Recently: Cio-Cio-San, Madama Butterfly (Virginia Opera); Violetta, La Traviata;
Krystyna Zywulska, Two Remain (UW-Madison)

Upcoming: Cio-Cio-San, Madama Butterfly (Kentucky Opera)

David Walton

Count Almaviva, The Barber of Seville

Hometown: Twin Cities, MN
Madison Opera Debut: Opera in the Park 2017
Also at MO: Belmonte, The Abduction from the Seraglio

Recently: Ferrando, Così fan tutte (Princeton Festival); Ramiro, La Cenerentola (Toledo Opera);
Count Almaviva, The Barber of Seville (North Carolina Opera);
Sullivan, The Pirates of Penzance (Opera San Antonio); Filippo, Deceit Outwitted (Sarasota Opera)

Upcoming: Count Almaviva, The Barber of Seville (Minnesota Opera); Candide, Candide (South Florida Symphony);
Don Ottavio, Don Giovanni (Livermore Valley Opera)

Emily Fons

Mezzo-soprano, Opera in the Park
Donna Elvira, Don Giovanni

Hometown: Milwaukee, WI
Madison Opera Debut: Opera in the Park 2012
Also at MO: Rosina, The Barber of Seville

Recently: Nicklausse, The Tales of Hoffmann (Palm Beach Opera);
Rosina, The Barber of Seville (Cincinnati Opera, Santa Fe Opera);
Woman, Ghosts (San Diego Opera); Cherubino, The Marriage of Figaro (Canadian Opera Company);
Hansel, Hansel and Gretel (New Orleans Opera)

Upcoming: Princess Irene, Tamerlano (Haymarket Opera)

Ryan Nash

Madison Opera Debut
Madison Opera Studio Artist
Recently: Gherardo, Gianni Schicchi (American Gothic Performing Arts Festival); Frederic, The Pirates of Penzance (Madison Savoyards);
Mercurio, La Calisto; Gastone, La Traviata; Albert Herring, Albert Herring (UW Madison Opera);
Rinuccio, Gianni Schicchi (La Musica Lirica USA); Alfred, Die Fledermaus; Monostatos, The Magic Flute (UMass Opera)

Upcoming: Tamino, The Magic Flute (Opera for the Young)

John DeMain

Conductor: Opera in the Park, The Barber of Seville, Don Giovanni

Hometown: Youngstown, OH
Madison Opera Debut: The Magic Flute (1995)
Recently at MO: Candide, Tosca, Trouble in Tahiti / The Seven Deadly Sins, Salome

Rebecca Herman

Stage Director, The Barber of Seville

Hometown: Austin, TX
Madison Opera Debut

Recently: Carmen (Austin Opera); Don Giovanni (Opera Colorado, Cincinnati Opera);
Un Cuento de Luces y Sonmbras
(LOLA); La Bohème (Glimmerglass Opera);
The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs (Utah Opera, Calgary Opera)

Upcoming: The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs (Washington National Opera)

Fenlon Lamb

Stage Director, Don Giovanni

Madison Opera Debut: La Traviata (2019)
Recently at MO: Lucia di Lammermoor

Recently: La Fanciulla del West (Central City Opera); The Elixir of Love, Così fan tutte (Palm Beach Opera);
The Marriage of Figaro
(Portland Opera); Carmen (Opera Santa Barbara);
Charlie Parker's Yardbird (Dayton Opera); La Bohème (New Orleans Opera); Mozart and Salieri (Opera San Jose)

Kamna Gupta

Conductor, María de Buenos Aires

Hometown: St. Genis-de-Puilly, France
Madison Opera Debut

Recently: The Pearl Fishers (Vancouver Opera); In Our Daughter's Eyes (LA Opera / BMP);
Number Our Days (Perelman Performing Arts Center); Glory Denied (Cleveland Institute of Music);
Rocking Horse Winner (Tapestry Opera); The Rip Van Winkles (Glimmerglass Festival)

Upcoming: Ruinous Gods (Spoleto Festival USA)

Frances Rabalais

Stage Director, María de Buenos Aires

Hometown: New Orleans, LA
Madison Opera Debut: Tosca (2023)

Recently: Macbeth (Resonance Works); Hansel and Gretel (Opera Birmingham);
The Magic Flute (North Carolina Opera); The Barber of Seville (Pensacola Opera)

Charles Eaton

Don Giovanni, Don Giovanni

Hometown: Storrs, CT
Madison Opera Debut: Moralès, Carmen (2017)
Recently at MO: Count Malcolm, A Little Night Music

Recently: Brother, The Seven Deadly Sins (Wolf Trap Opera); Schaunard, La Bohème;
Sam, Trouble in Tahiti; Masetto, Don Giovanni; Argante, Rinaldo (Minnesota Opera);
Fedorov, The Christmas Spider (Opéra Louisiane, Marble City Opera);
English Ambassador, The Ghosts of Versailles (Royal Opera Versailles);
Marcello, La Bohème (Imperial Symphony Orchestra)

Upcoming: Ponchel, Silent Night (Wolf Trap Opera); Mercutio, Romeo & Juliet (Minnesota Opera);
Silvio, Pagliacci (Pensacola Opera)

Jeremiah Sanders

Leporello, Don Giovanni

Hometown: Marian, IN
Madison Opera Debut

Recently: Marcello, La Bohème; Beau, Service Provider; Jazz Trio, Trouble in Tahiti;
Hortensius, The Daughter of the Regiment; Mago, Rinaldo;
Abilenes's Father / Bryce's Father, Edward Tulane (Minnesota Opera);
Colline, La Bohème (Lyric Opera of the North); Lackey, Ariadne auf Naxos (Lakes Area Music Festival);
Charlie, Three Decembers (South Bend Lyric Opera); The Villains, The Tales of Hoffmann (Union Avenue Opera)

Ashraf Sewailam

The Commendatore, Don Giovanni

Hometown: Cairo, Egypt / San Francisco, CA
Madison Opera Debut:
Captain, Florencia en el Amazonas (2018)

Recently: Dr. Bartolo, The Barber of Seville (Des Moines Metro Opera, Seattle Opera);
Dr. Bartolo, The Marriage of Figaro (New Orleans Opera); Sparafucile, Rigoletto (Opera San Jose);
Giove, La Calisto (Opera Memphis)

Upcoming: Dr. Bartolo, The Barber of Seville (Lyric Opera of Kansas City);
Dulcamara, The Elixir of Love (New Orleans Opera)

Andrew Stenson

Don Ottavio, Don Giovanni

Hometown: Rochester, MN
Madison Opera Debut: Opera in the Park 2021

Recently: Pong, Turandot (Metropolitan Opera); Bill, Flight; The Steersman, The Flying Dutchman (Dallas Opera);
Pang, Turandot (Houston Grand Opera); Don Ottavio, Don Giovanni (Seattle Opera);
Nemorino, The Elixir of Love (Seattle Opera, Minnesota Opera, Florentine Opera);
Count Almaviva, The Barber of Seville (Opera Colorado, Garsington Opera);
Nikolaus Sprink, Silent Night; Tamino, The Magic Flute (Utah Opera);
Fadinard, The Italian Straw Hat (Minnesota Opera); Danny Chen, An American Soldier (Opera Theatre of St. Louis)

Headshot of Hailey Cohen
Hailey Cohen

Berta, The Barber of Seville

Hometown: Edgemont, NY
Madison Opera Debut: Dorothée, The Anonymous Lover (2024)
Also with MO: Paquette, Candide
Madison Opera Studio Artist

Recently: Zita, Gianni Schicchi (Finger Lakes Opera); Hattie, American Gothical (Cedar Rapids Opera);
Sally, The Boy Who Wanted to be a Robot; K., Would You Eat Me? (Thompson Street Opera)

Lifan Deng

Fiorello, The Barber of Seville
Masetto, Don Giovanni

Hometown: Shenzen, China
Madison Opera Debut
Madison Opera Studio Artist

Recently: Voce 2, Il Nostro Posto nel Mondo (Thompson Street Opera Company);
The Police Agent / Mr. Kofner, The Consul (Third Eye Ensemble);
Don Alfonso, Così fan tutte; Kaiser Overall, Der Kaiser von Atlantis (Northwestern Opera Theater);
Old Adam Goodheart, Ruddigore; Carpenter's Mate, H.M.S. Pinafore (The Gilbert & Sullivan Opera Company);
Olin Brett, The Music Man (Metropolis Performing Arts Centre)

Upcoming: Papageno, The Magic Flute (Opera for the Young)

Laureano Quant

El Payador, María de Buenos Aires

Hometown: Barranquilla, Colombia
Madison Opera Debut

Recently: Schaunard, La Bohème (Wolf Trap Opera); Foreman, Jenufa; Dancaïre, Carmen;
Count of Lerma, Don Carlo (Lyric Opera of Chicago); Escamillo, Le tragedie de Carmen;
Guglielmo, Così fan tutte (The Opera Next Door); Betto, Gianni Schicchi (Ópera de Colombia);
Demetrius, A Midsummer Night's Dream; Captain / Ragotsky, Candide (Orquestra Filarmónica de Bogotà)

Upcoming: Belcore, The Elixir of Love (New Orleans Opera);
Bill, Aufsteig und Fall der Stadt Mahgonny (Staatsoper Stuttgart)

Kelly Guerra

María, María de Buenos Aires

Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
Madison Opera Debut

Recently: María, María de Buenos Aires (Kentucky Opera); Lupita, Cruzar la Cara de la Luna;
Carlotta de Obragón, Zorro (Opera Santa Barbara); Renata, Cruzar la Cara de la Luna (West Edge Opera);
Rosina, The Barber of Seville (Princeton Festival); Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Scalia/Ginsburg (Chautauqua Opera);
Luisa Fernanda, Luisa Fernanda (Opera Hispánica, Opera Williamsburg)

Upcoming: Una Niña, Ainadamar (Metropolitan Opera); Jo, Little Women (Fort Worth Opera);
Isabella, L'Italiana in Algeri (Opera in the Heights); Mrs. Fox, Fantastic Mr. Fox (Opera Omaha)

Alex Taylor

Don Basilio, The Barber of Seville

Hometown: Beloit, WI
Madison Opera Debut: Mother, The Seven Deadly Sins (2023)

Recently: Green Shirt Guy, Mel Rides the Bus Alone (Pittsburgh Opera);
Sarastro, The Magic Flute; Dr. Bartolo, The Marriage of Figaro (Carnegie Mellon University)

Levi Hernandez

Dr. Bartolo, The Barber of Seville

Hometown: El Paso, TX
Madison Opera Debut: Papageno, The Magic Flute (2006)
Recent at MO: Alvaro, Florencia en el Amazonas; Opera in the Park 2018

Recently: Diego Rivera, El Último Sueño de Frida y Diego (Opera Omaha);
Tonio, Pagliacci (Hawaii Opera Theatre); Dandini, La Cenerentola (Boston Lyric Opera);
Peter, Hansel and Gretel (Opera San Antonio); Lescaut, Manon Lescaut (North Carolina Opera)

Upcoming: Benoit/Alcindoro, La Bohème (Lyric Opera of Chicago);
Alvaro, Florencia en el Amazonas (North Carolina Opera)

Benjamin Taylor

Figaro, The Barber of Seville

Madison Opera Debut: Silvio, Pagliacci (2018)

Recently: Bello, La Fanciulla del West (Bayerische Staatsoper); Moralès, Carmen (Metropolitan Opera);
Guglielmo, Così fan tutte (Princeton Symphony); Jan Nyman, Breaking the Waves (Detroit Opera);
Silvio, Pagliacci (Austin Opera)

Upcoming: Marcello, La Bohème (Arizona Opera); Jake, Porgy and Bess (Washington National Opera);
Schaunard, La Bohème (Charleston Opera Theatre)

Katerina Burton

Soprano, Opera in the Park
Donna Anna, Don Giovanni

Hometown: Ocean City, MD
Madison Opera Debut

Recently: Mimì, La Bohème (Opera Theatre of Saint Louis); JFK: The Last Speech
(National Symphony Orchestra); Britten’s War Requiem (Strathmore Music Center);
Russian Chamber Art Society; Postclassical Ensemble Concert (The Kennedy Center); Girlfriend 2, Blue;
Micaëla, Carmen (Washington National Opera); Alice Ford, Falstaff (Aspen Music Festival);
Verna/Young Lovely/Evelyn, Fire Shut Up in My Bones (Opera Theatre of Saint Louis)