The Recordings

Cast Recordings
1956 Broadway Production
1974 Broadway Revival
1982 New York City Opera Production
1988 Scottish Opera Production
1989 Leonard Bernstein Recording
1997 Broadway Revival
1999 Royal National Theatre Production

Recordings of Selections

Which Recording?  A Personal Viewpoint

1956 Broadway Production

Candide - Original Broadway Cast

Recording produced by Goddard Lieberson
Engineers: Fred Plaut, Edward T. Graham, Murray Zimney
Orchestra conducted by Samuel Krachmalnick
Recorded on December 9, 1956

Synopsis and liner notes by George Dale

  • LP [mono], Dec 1956 [Columbia OL 5180]
  • LP [stereo], Mar 1963 [Columbia OS 2350]
  • LP reissue [stereo], 19?? [Columbia PST 2350]
  • Cassette, 19?? [Columbia PST 2350]
  • Triple LP, 1983 [Time-Life Records STL-AM15, includes the mono version of Candide, with the original cast recordings of Wonderful Town and West Side Story]
  • Triple Cassette, 1983 [Time-Life Records STL-AM15, same as the above LP boxset]
  • Compact Disc, 1987 [Columbia MK 38732]
  • Cassette, 1987 [Columbia MT 38732]

Digitally Remixed and Remastered Version
Produced by Thomas Z. Shepard
Remix engineer: Kevin Boutote
Liner notes by Didier C. Deutsch

  • Compact Disc, Nov 1991 [Sony Broadway SK 48017] (51:05 mins.)
  • Cassette, Nov 1991 [Sony Broadway ST 48017]

Digitally Remastered Version [Stereo, although CD is labeled as Mono]
Original recording produced by Goddard Lieberson & David Oppenheim
Original recording engineers: Fred Plaut, Edward T. Graham, Murray Zimney
Reissue produced by Didier C. Deutsch & Darcy M. Proper
Mastering engineer: Darcy M. Proper
Liner notes by Barbara Cook
Includes the bonus track: 1960 New York Philharmonic recording of the Overture to "Candide", conducted by Leonard Bernstein

  • Compact Disc, May 2003 [Sony Classical/Columbia/Legacy SK 86859] (55:16 mins.)

Production information


1974 Broadway Revival

Candide - Original Cast Recording of the Complete Production

Recording produced by Thomas Z. Shepard
Associate Producer: Jay David Saks
Engineering Control: Bud Graham
Editing and Mixing: Ray Moore
Orchestra conducted by John Mauceri

Liner notes by William.H. Evans
Includes pictorial synopsis

  • Double LP (stereo), 1974 [Columbia S2X 32923]
  • Double LP (quadraphonic), 1974 [Columbia Q2S 32923]

Production information

Note: Time length excludes most dialogue scenes

1982 New York City Opera Production

Candide - New York City Opera

Recording produced by Elizabeth Ostrow
Engineered by Paul Goodman
Orchestra conducted by John Mauceri
Digitally recorded at the Manhattan Center, NYC in May 1985

Liner notes by Theodore Chapin, John Mauceri, and Harold Prince
Synopsis by Hugh Wheeler
Includes lyrics, bibliography, and a Leonard Bernstein theater music discography

  • Double Compact Disc, 1986 [New World NW 340/341-2] (91:43 mins.)
  • Double LP, 1986 [New World NW 340/341]
  • Double Cassette, 1986 [New World NW 340/341]

Production information

Grammy Award for Best Opera Recording of the Year


1988 Scottish Opera Production

Candide - Scottish National Opera

Recording produced by John Yap
Engineered by John Kurlander
Orchestra conducted by Justin Brown
Digitally recorded at the Theatre Royale, Glasgow, Scotland on April 16 and 20 1988

Liner notes by John Mauceri

  • Compact Disc, 1988 [TER CDTER1156 (UK)] (52:45 mins.)
  • Cassette, 1988 [TER ZCTER1156 (UK)]
  • LP, 1988 [TER TER1156 (UK)]
  • Compact Disc, 1988 [Musical Heritage Society MHS 512494X (US)]
  • Cassette, 1988 [Musical Heritage Society MHC 312494A (US)]
Reissued with Extra Tracks
  • Compact Disc, Dec 1997 [TER CDTER 1156 (UK)]
  • Compact Disc, Dec 1997 [JAY CDJAY 1257 (US)] (68:39 mins.)

Production information

* Note: These selections appeared only on the 1997 reissue

1989 Leonard Bernstein Recording

Candide - Leonard Bernstein

Recording produced by Hans Weber
Balance Engineer: Gregor Zielinsky
Editing: Andrew Wedman
Orchestra conducted by Leonard Bernstein
Digitally recorded at Abbey Road Studio No.1, London on December 15-18, 1989

Liner notes by Andrew Porter and Leonard Bernstein
Synopsis by John Wells
Lyrics included

  • Double Compact Disc, 1991 [Deutsche Grammophon 429734-2] (111:32 mins.)
  • Double Cassette, 1991 [Deutsche Grammophon 429734-4]
  • Compact Disc [Highlights], 1992 [Deutsche Grammophon 437328-2]
  • Cassette [Highlights], 1992 [Deutsche Grammophon 437328-4]
  • Triple Compact Disc, 1995 [Deutsche Grammophon 447958-2]
    (with the studio cast recording of West Side Story)
  • Double Compact Disc reissue, Apr 1997 [Deutsche Grammophon 449656-2]
  • Double Compact Disc reissue [Europe], Jun 2003 [Deutsche Grammophon 474472-2]

Further information

Grammy Award for Best Classical Album of the Year

* Note: Only these selections appeared on the highlights release

1997 Broadway Revival

Candide - New Broadway Cast Recording

Recording produced by Jay David Saks
Engineered by James Nichols
Orchestra conducted by Eric Stern
Digitally recorded at The Hit Factory Studios, NYC on May 19 - 20, 1997

Synopsis by Hugh Wheeler
Lyrics included

  • Compact Disc, Jul 1997 [RCA Victor 09026-68835-2] (71:35 mins.)
  • Cassette, Jul 1997 [RCA Victor 09026-68835-4]

Production information


1999 Royal National Theatre Production

Candide - The 1999 Royal National Theatre Recording

Recording produced by Stewart Mackintosh
Engineered and mixed by Toby Allington
Orchestra conducted by Mark W. Dorrell
Recorded and mixed at Angel Studios, Islington in October 1999

Synopsis by John Caird

  • Compact Disc, 2000 [First Night (UK) CAST CD 75] (74:02 mins.)

Production information


Which Recording?
A Personal Viewpoint

With a multiplicity of choices, how can someone coming to Candide for the first time decide which recording to get?  Unquestionably, with no quibbles whatsoever, I would have to recommend the Original Broadway Cast recording.  Despite the truncated score, no other recording better reveals the wondrous beauty of Bernstein's music.  The performances by the four principals are alone worth every bar of music that was not recorded. 

Most of the other releases have merits as well — it just depends on what you're looking for.  For completeness, you'll need Bernstein's recording, but his urgent desire to "legitimize" the score does more harm than it's worth for the new material.  Jon Alan Conrad's review in the New York Times presents a fair assessment of the problems with this recording, as well as taking his turn at comparing the various recordings.  For the germination of Bernstein's version, check out the Scottish Opera recording, still woefully abridged despite being reissued with bonus cuts. 

If you really feel the need to hear the score sung by operatic voices, you can't go wrong with the New York City Opera recording.  I find it musically superior to Bernstein's operatic attempt — and it includes a very large portion of the score performed by a large orchestra.  And despite the praise heaped on the recording qualities of the Bernstein version, I think the NYCO release is amazingly well-recorded also. 

If you're interested in Hugh Wheeler's book, or want to get an idea of Harold Prince's production, you'll have to try and find a used copy of the out-of-print — and never released on compact disc — 1974 Broadway Revival recording.  Personally, I find it musically inferior to all other recordings, and after one listening of the dialogue, why would anyone want to hear it again?  (If you're into experiencing your own auto-da-fé, be my guest.) 

You would be better off with the 1997 Broadway Revival recording, which is basically the same production.  It is technically superior, has additional music and better performances — yet I still can't determine whether Lewis J. Stadlen or Jim Dale irritates me more. 

Having only recently obtained the National Theatre recording, I'm still trying to sort out my feelings towards it.  It is refreshing after all of the opera versions to hear it done by "musical theatre" voices again.  Some of the accents — principally of the male singers — do come off as somewhat affected.  Yet you'll probably want it for the new lyrics — and to scoff at Deutsche Grammophon's effrontery for declaring its recording as the "final revised version". 

As Cunegonde would say, "Ha ha ha ha ha ha!"


Compiled by Michael H. Hutchins