Leonard Bernstein: What’s the Use?

Written by Michael Barrett

Associate Artistic Director, NYFOS

In category: Song of the Day

Published June 25, 2018

Oh It’s Summer! And time for all of our many summer music festivals! I’m in Santa Fe where they are offering up Candide, Madama Butterfly, Ariadne auf Naxos, and Dr. Atomic, among other goodies. Their production of Candide is closer to Voltaire than the Americanized jokey versions I’ve seen in our country lately. It is stylish, and the production is aesthetically very beautiful and creative (thank God). It opens this weekend, so here we go. Lots off us saw this conductor on youtube a few years ago acting out the music of “What’s The Use?” from Candide. It’s over the top, but what’s amazing is how he stays in the piece, actually giving lots of stylish information to his orchestra while being entertaining. I can only imagine what he did with the “Auto da Fe”. So here it is, thanks to these performers, lyricist Richard Wilbur, and birthday boy approaching his 100th, Leonard Bernstein. If you haven’t read Jamie Bernstein’s book yet, go grab a copy.

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Michael Barrett is the co-founder and associate artistic director of New York Festival of Song, as well as the co-founder and music director of the Moab Music Festival in Utah. A conductor and a pianist, Michael was a protégé of Leonard Bernstein and serves as music advisor to the Leonard Bernstein Estate.


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