Bernstein daily: The French take back Candide

February 24, 2018 by norman lebrecht


The amazing Patricia Petibon:

Comments (17)

  1. Bobby V says:

    Splendid sound – but is she singing in English or French? I can hardly tell.

  2. Olassus says:

    I can’t stand her.

  3. Daniel says:

    whats so great about her and this? I paused this at 1:15 and stopped because she sounds like a whaling cow.

    in my humble opinion, which no one will care about, Natalie Dessay is unmatched in this song.

  4. Daniel says:

    whats so great about her and this? I paused this at 1:15 and stopped because she sounds like a whaling cow.

    in my humble opinion, which no one will care about, Natalie Dessay is unmatched in this song.

    1. Tiredofitall says:

      And all of them light years behind Barbara Cook’s original interpretation from 56 years ago. The context of the song has somehow been lost.

      1. steven holloway says:


      2. Adam Stern says:

        A resounding “Yes!” to the Barbara Cook acknowledgement. Also, many years ago I saw the lovely Mary Costa onstage in the role of Cunégonde; my memory is that she was splendid, too.

  5. Melisande says:

    Please be considerate and less harsh, because Patricia Petibon’s husband, Didier Lockwood, a respected jazz violinist, just passed away a week ago.
    I wonder why this YouTube from Candide of her was today’s subject.
    Her recent role of Blanche in Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmelites was spectecular and deeply moving.

  6. Marc says:

    I agree with all of the above. I kept looking at that trembling tongue and forgot about what she was singing. And yes, her enunciation was horrid. But let’s cut her some slack — she just lost her husband, Didier Lockwood, a marvelous jazz violinist, who died a few days ago at 62. Barbara Cook, of course, set the standard. Personally, I got a kick out of Kristin Chenoweth’s zany performance in that televised “Candide.”

  7. Melisande says:

    May be not well-known by many people, but for sure a striking performance by the Dutch soprano Lenneke Ruiten who has a wonderful international career in opera and song repertoire.

    1. Anthony Martin says:


  8. Avi says:

    I will use the play’s score itself ‘its wrong , oh so wrong, that you just have to pass it ‘

  9. Reece Jennings says:

    Should whaling be wailing…?

  10. KRO says:

    She sounds great and of course Barbara Cook made the role but I LOVE Kristen Chenowith lol

  11. Steve Bauman says:

    I listened to Petibone doing this aria. One of the reasons her diction sounds so bad is that the recording is totally over reverberant. This to me is a major flaw with nearly all new classical vocal recordings today. They distort the voice and make it sound much bigger than it is. And most of the “re-mastering” of older recordings have added excessive reverb (what the recording industry calls “improved” or “enhanced”). Recordings should be as accurate as possible without a lot of electronic ‘gimmicks” added. Most concert halls have some natural reverb (which can change with the size of the audience or no audience), but rarely as over reverberant as the final recording.

    I have done several live concert recordings which have been praised and appreciated by the performing artists. WITHOUT BEING OVER REVERBERANT. (Except where I could not get my mics in close enough – as in some echoey churches).

    Toscanini set the standard for absolutely no reverberance at all in the infamous Studio 8H built to his specifications. This is totally in the opposite direction and I believe is just as wrong as no reverb at all.

    Who is to say just how much reverb is enough or too much? My feeling is to have just enough to still make the artist(s) and recording sound as natural and as accurate as possible – obtaining all of the artist’s values and what makes them so excellent in the first place.

    Yes, Barbara Cook, I believe, still sets the standard with many fine artists following.

  12. Frimfram says:


  13. Emil says:

    Sure, let’s judge a soprano on one badly filmed and recorded, reverberating youtube video. I have heard her live, and can confirm that she is an excellent soprano in the hall (or on good recordings). Now, her extravagant acting may not be to everyone’s taste, and I can understand that. But saying she is “whaling” based on one low-quality Youtube is quite a bit too much.

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