Alexander Lewis as Candide Caroline OConnor as The Old Lady and Annie Aitken As Cunegonde in Candide 2018 photo by Grant LeslieFor the first time in more than a decade, State Opera South Australia and State Theatre Company South Australia will come together to present a spectacular concert version of Leonard Bernstein’s beloved comic operetta and existential vaudeville, Candide, at Her Majesty’s Theatre from 23 May 2024.

This beloved Broadway hit tells the story of naïve young Candide who falls in love with the beautiful Cunegonde. Along with their misfit band of friends, they embark on an adventure of a lifetime learning about life, love and themselves along the way.

State Opera’s Head of Music and Chorus Master Anthony Hunt says he is looking forward to working with the talented Adelaide Symphony Orchestra after getting a taste of Candide’s magnificent overture in a recent performance, and he’s eager for the chance to conduct the whole show and to lead a cast of incredible performers.

Candide is a treat from start to finish. Bernstein’s music is funny, memorable and sometimes outrageously over the-top. The outstanding cast will deliver a virtuoso mix of vocal styles and some of the cleverest lyrics this side of Sondheim,” he said.

Mitchell Butel, State Theatre Company South Australia’s Artistic Director, shares directing duties for this performance with choreographer Amy Campbell, and doubles down treading the boards himself, in the role of Candide’s teacher and mentor Pangloss.

“I directed an earlier version of the ingenious Candide in Sydney in 2018 with Alex Lewis as Candide, Annie Aitken as Cunegonde and the iconic Caroline O’Connor as The Old Lady and we and the audiences had an absolute ball,” said Mitchell.

“I’m thrilled that Adelaide will finally get to see them strut their stuff too. I’m also delighted to be now joining them onstage, along with some wonderful new performers, including South Australia’s pin-up superstar Hans,” he said.

This hilarious operetta is about love, life and finding yourself, and there are not many who can say they’ve found themselves with more personality and sparkle than Hans, who plays the role of Cunegonde’s brother, Maximilian.

“I’ve spent the last two decades playing trashy pop songs on a piano accordion, and what better training for my first opera!” said Hans.

I’m so thrilled to be working with State Opera and State Theatre Company South Australia, and I’m even more excited to be wearing our costume designer Brendan de la Hay’s fabulous outfits that are truly like nothing you’ve ever seen before!”

John Longmuir returns to Adelaide after his star role in Pirates of Penzance last year and Taylah Johns makes her professional debut as flirty Paquette. Alongside the principal cast, ensemble local favourites including Michaela Burger, Rosie Hosking, Ezra Juanta and Rod Schultz will accompany Candide’s adventures around the world.

The 30-member strong State Opera South Australia chorus will be supplemented by students from the Elder Conservatorium as part of their work integrated learning partnership program with State Opera.

With music by Leonard Bernstein (West Side Story, On The Town), book by Hugh Wheeler (after Voltaire), and lyrics from some of the greatest writers of the 20th century including Lillian Hellman, Dorothy Parker and Stephen Sondheim, the score sparkles with classic songs including The Best of All Possible Worlds, Glitter and Be Gay, Eldorado and Make Our Garden Grow.

Candide is a whimsical golden age musical full of adventure, love and glitter. But behind this rich façade lies a world of hard truths which our heroes must face if they are to make the world a better place.

Her Majesty’s Theatre, Grote Street, Adelaide
Season: 23 – 25 May 2024

For more information, visit: or for details.

Image: Alexander Lewis as Candide, Caroline O’Connor as The Old Lady and Annie Aitken as Cunegonde in Candide 2018 – photo by Grant Leslie