Kristin Chenoweth to Play Cunegonde in ENO Candide

Classic Arts News   Kristin Chenoweth to Play Cunegonde in ENO Candide
Kristin Chenoweth, the Tony-winning actress who can be seen on the new ABC series Pushing Daisies, will make her English National Opera debut in Leonard Bernstein's Candide in June 2008.

The Broadway and television star — who is trained as a coloratura soprano and has a master's degree in opera performance — will play Cunegonde, a role she sang to considerable acclaim in concert performances with the New York Philharmonic under conductor Marin Alsop in 2004.

British "golden boy" tenor Toby Spence will sing the title role, and Rumon Gamba will conduct; additional casting will be announced later.

The updated staging, by prominent Canadian director Robert Carsen, attracted worldwide media attention at this time last year when it was running at the Th_ê¢tre du Chê¢telet in Paris.

The scene that proved irresistible to editors and headline writers was Carsen's adaptation of "The Kings' Barcarolle," in which the five exiled kings were depicted as then-heads of state George W. Bush, Tony Blair, Jacques Chirac, Vladimir Putin and Silvio Berlusconi, all cavorting on an oil-slicked beach in swimming trunks (erroneously described in many reports as underwear) and neckties resembling their respective national flags. (See photo below.)

A minor scandal erupted when St_phane Lissner, artistic and general director at La Scala (which co-produced the staging with the Chê¢telet and ENO), saw the production in Paris and promptly cancelled its run in Milan, pronouncing it "not in line with La Scala's artistic program." Lissner reversed himself the following day, and the staging (somewhat revised) opened in Milan last summer without major incident.

The ENO run of this Candide opens June 23 at the Coliseum in London, with a total of 13 performances through July 12. Information and tickets are available at

Chenoweth will make her Metropolitan Opera debut in the revival of John Corigliano's Ghosts of Versailles, scheduled to open in March 2010. Corigliano is re-writing the role of Samira (originally composed as a showcase for Marilyn Horne) to fit Chenoweth's voice.

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