Teatro San Carlo, ''Candide''


The scenography by Nicola Rubertelli is inspired by the paintings of Larry Rivers, pop artist of the New York School and friend of Bernstein.The direction of Lorenzo Mariani sets the story in a television studio in the 1950s, the era in which Bernstein « the midst of McCarthyism, set to music and staged Voltaire's masterpiece, biting satire of the optimism of those who believe they live in the best of all possible worlds, lashing out at the hypocrisy of political power ...»
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«... and manifesto of that anticlericalism born in the century of enlightenment.»Sandro Compagnone, from L'opera, No. 213, page. 32.One of the portraits that Rivers made of Bernstein is projected here onto the large white ASC - Sceno muslin backdrop which forms the backgrounds to the overture and which will be raised at its end, showing the public the television studio, a hemicyclic Closed set conceived in a functional way ...
... for the staging: the background that envelops the public stands is made of white panels that recall in a stylized way the neoclassical architecture contemporary to Voltaire and, at the same time, act as a screen for the projections that evoke the multiplicity of the places where the action actually takes place.High up, behind the hemicycle, a large RNV - Nevada Rear-illuminated backdrop spreads bright colors borrowed from Pop Art and creates a syncretism of styles and eras, the 18th century ...
... and the 1950s, of notable symbolic value.Another combination of the phantasmagoric plays of lights and colours that followed the twenty-seven scenes of Bernstein's musical, «... a very intricate story, whose protagonist crosses four continents, around twenty nations and dozens of cities, a brilliant pastiche in which Richard Strauss and Broadway, symphonic momentum and operetta seem to combine..»Sandro Compagnone, ibidem.
The large white BGO - Gobelin tulle backdrop that veils the entire portal has been transformed here, thanks to the projections, into the gigantic monitor of a 1950s American television, which transmits the redundant image of Candide twirling in the air, in fade on the studio left in semi-darkness.To reinforce the projection onto the tulle backdrop in the foreground ...
... Nicola Rubertelli placed an identical backdrop made of black BGO - Gobelin tulle behind it, a short distance away.The apparent lightness of the irony with which the protagonist's events are narrated hides a bitter commentary on the hypocrisy of society, a hypocrisy that has easily overcome the evolution of the times, from those of Voltaire to those in which Bernstein conceived this musical, to today's ones, in which nothing seems to have changed.
The roulette is projected onto the black BGO - Gobelin tulle backdrop, while another small tulle backdrop stretched on a frame crowned with lights in the manner often used in musical sets is suspended above and replaces a larger square PBO - Bianco Ottico Frontal projection screen similarly suspended in previous scenes.The libretto of Candide was developed by Bernstein together with various co-authors ...
... among which the writer Lillian Wellman excelled.His debut, which preceded the triumph of West Side Story by a year, was a fiasco, but Bernstein reworked his work until he presented a second version in New York in 1973 and a third in Glasgow in 1989.Today it is considered one of the greatest heights reached by art in the United States.
Musical in two acts and twenty-seven scenes
Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990)
First night
Boston, Colonial Theatre, 29/10/1956

technical direction
Costume design
Giusi Giustino
Video projections
Massimo Iaquone
Light design
Franco Angelo Ferrari
Stage direction


Materials used in this production

ASC - Sceno

Muslin and canvas

BGO - Gobelin

Scrim and bobbinet fabrics

Frontal projection screens

Frontal projection screens

PBO - Bianco Ottico

Frontal projection films

Rear-illuminated backdrops

Vinyl backdrops: typologies

RNV - Nevada

Rear-projection films

Information on data processing