Candide, his secret love Cunegonde, their brother Maximilian and the chambermaid Paquette grow in tranquil Westphalia with the optimistic philosophy of their teacher Dr. Pangloss from the best of all worlds. But war destroys the local idyll and scatters the five to the wind. In the search for the "ideal world", earthquakes, inquisitions, shipwrecks and other catastrophes overshadow their travel impressions. Only with difficulty do they escape death and have to find out for themselves that the best of all possible worlds only exists in philosophy. In the end, everyone arrives back in Westphalia disaffected and realizes that gardening alone is what makes people happy.
Voltaire's novel CANDIDE - a garish mixture of adventure stories, fairy tales and satire - was published in 1759, four years after the devastating earthquake in Lisbon and in the middle of the Seven Years' War - at a time that provided ample occasion for Leibniz's beautiful theodicy of the divinely willed expediency of this To critically question the "best of all worlds". The novel was eventually banned, indexed, and publicly burned. The relentless attack on optimism inspired Bernstein to create his most dazzling composition for music theater. He himself named the music for CANDIDEa declaration of love to Europe. Dance forms such as gavotte, mazurka, polka or waltz appear in the score, and the conventions of European opera are corrupted in the most amiable way.