Candide at the Evergreen Cultural Centre

Seeing as I sailed out of the port of Vancouver on a tramp steamer on Friday, August 23rd, I was unable to attend the Evergreen Cultural Centre’s performance of Candide. In my place, Rae Ross, art and theatre aficionado, attended. The following are her thoughts and observations of Candide, the operetta. 


I must begin my guest review by thanking Stacey for presenting me with this fantastic opportunity to partake in observing a local theatre performance.

I had no prior knowledge of the content guiding the operetta “Candide”, nor had I attended an operatic performance preceding Friday night’s production. As a result, I had little to go on, other than the fact that the act is an adaptation of Voltaire’s work, written by “West Side Story” composer, Leonard Bernstein.

Aesthetically, the Evergreen Cultural Centre is beautifully constructed. This Coquitlam venue makes for a pleasant local experience; in many ways more rewarding than travelling into Downtown Vancouver for an arts performance. The theatre itself boasts a lovely, intimate setting, and the seating is undeniably comfortable (I can safely proclaim my adoration for the seating, as I am an individual who tends to shift frequently during performances, but did little of this during the course of the evening).

As for the operetta, “Candide” was sensational! The casting was fantastically assembled. The script, though lengthy, was extremely humorous; my attention did not wane once. It should be noted that Robin Eder-Warren’s “Cunegonde”, a central figure throughout, is a talent beyond words. On many occasions, listening to her voice made the hair on my arms stand on end. The remainder of the cast is an exceptional group of artists. Mark Pepe, otherwise known as “Maximilian” and “Issachar” provided magnificent stage presence, and courageously portrayed both his male and female characters with unabashed comedic representation. I admire the performers for additionally taking on the duty of changing set arrangements to perfection.

A short intermission provided passage between Act One and Act Two. As I mentioned earlier, the entire performance was lengthy, running from just after 8:00pm-10:45pm. Was “Candide” worth the wait? Absolutely! Though many of the themes are rather “saucy”; highlighting bawdy interactions, and even murder, the operetta attracted a diverse audience, including children.

Following the performance, a delicious assortment of desserts were provided for audience members. This gave me opportunity to discuss the goings on of the evening with my friend as we indulged in sinfully exquisite confections.

Bottom line, is “Candide” something I would recommend? Without a doubt. It was a fantastic show, put on by Dragondiva Operatic Theatre, and they are to be commended for an incredible theatre-going experience. What a magnificent example of local opera theatre performance.

Hopefully when the Dragondiva Operatic Theatre Company and Evergreen Cultural Centre put on their next performance I will be in town and available to attend. Thanks to Rae Ross for attending this theatre performance and writing such a fine description of the evening. Stacey.