Thursday, February 08, 2007

Politics of Comedy

The Catholic University is very busy this semester:
The Benjamin T. Rome School of Music is proud to present the 2007 Catholic University President's Festival of the Arts, "The Politics of Comedy," featuring a fully-staged production of Leonard Bernstein's 1956 comic opera Candide, based on the 1759 novel by Voltaire. Produced by Dean Murry Sidlin and created by him in collaboration with musicologist and assistant professor Andrew H. Weaver, the Festival will run from Sunday, March 11 until Sunday, March 18.

Opening with a chamber music recital, "Voltaire's World, Bernstein's World," on Sunday afternoon, the Festival will feature a variety of lectures and films exploring Voltaire's and Bernstein's versions of Candide. By bringing together scholars from a variety of disciplines, including Elizabeth B. Crist, assistant professor of music at Princeton University, and Jennifer S. Tsien, assistant professor of French at the University of Virginia, the festival will explore how both Voltaire and Bernstein used the same basic story to provide very different kinds of social and political critique. Voltaire's novel, written during the French Enlightenment, satirizes and offers alternatives to the fashionable philosophies of the day, while Bernstein's opera draws parallels between the age of Voltaire and the McCarthy era. It is hoped that the festival will not only provide insights into the production of Bernstein's Candide with which the festival culminates, but that it will also shed light on the means by which comedy and the arts can be put into the service of the public good, not only in Voltaire's and Bernstein's specific contexts, but also in our own world. After all, comedy continues to be an effective vehicle for political and cultural critique to this day, as demonstrated by the enduring popularity of such television shows as "Saturday Night Live" and "The Daily Show."

Tickets for Candide are $20 and $15; all other events are free and open to the public. Most events take place on the campus of Catholic University in Washington, D.C. The calendar of events is as follows; for more detailed information on each event, please visit All events are subject to change.

Sunday, March 11

4:00 p.m., Chamber Music Recital: "Voltaire's World, Bernstein's World"

Monday, March 12

4:00 p.m., Lecture by Elizabeth B. Crist and Jennifer S. Tsien

7:30 p.m., Film Screening: "Forrest Gump"

Tuesday, March 13

10:30 a.m., Roundtable Discussion: "Candide as Cultural Critique"

7:30 p.m., Film Screening, TBA

Thursday, March 15

12:10 p.m., Lecture by Mark Eden Horowitz, senior music specialist at the Library of Congress: "Candide and the Leonard Bernstein Collection at the Library of Congress"

6:30 p.m., Open Dress Rehearsal and Lecture

Friday, March 16

7:00 p.m., Pre-Concert Event: "Reminiscences of Bernstein"

8:00 p.m., Leonard Bernstein's Candide

Saturday, March 17

7:00 p.m., Pre-Concert Lecture on Bernstein's Candide

8:00 p.m., Leonard Bernstein's Candide

Sunday, March 18

1:00 p.m., Pre-Concert Lecture on Bernstein's Candide

2:00 p.m., Leonard Bernstein's Candide

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