Candide, Spring Opera at Marylhurst University

Candide at Marylhurst University. Photo credit: Angela Hughey

Voltaire’s tale of the optimist updated with music by Leonard Bernstein, June 11 & 12

Alastair Donkin of England makes his annual trip to Marylhurst University to direct the spring opera, Leonard Bernstein’s Candide. Two performances, fully staged with orchestra, will be held in St. Anne’s Chapel on the Marylhurst campus: Saturday, June 11, at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, June 12, at 4:00 p.m.

“All is for the best in this best of all possible worlds,” is the refrain of optimist Candide. In Voltaire’s classic story, the protagonist collides with the harsh realities of life, threatening to shake his faith. “Candide is extremely entertaining,” said Dr. Justin Smith, director of choral activities at Marylhurst and musical director for Candide. “It’s a brilliantly funny comedic romp and at the same time, a scathing indictment of political oppression and moral hypocrisy.”

Tickets are $25 general, $15 students/seniors. 

About Alastair Donkin

Topsy Turvy may be the title of Mike Leigh’s film of the partnership of Gilbert & Sullivan, but it could equally apply to Alistair Donkin’s career. Having practiced as a solicitor, specializing in child care cases, for Shropshire County Council, and dabbled in local politics, being at one time Mayor of Market Drayton, he made a complete career change to pursue his love of the theatre, joining the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company in 1979.

As a performer, he has appeared with the London Savoyards and the Magic of Gilbert & Sullivan. He has sung with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, the Bournemouth Sinfonietta, the BBC Concert Orchestra (broadcast on BBC Radio 2) and the English Philharmonic Orchestra, appearing at all the major concert venues, including the Barbican Hall, the Royal Festival Hall, the Royal Albert Hall and the new Birmingham Symphony Hall.

As a director, he works throughout the United Kingdom for National Operatic and Dramatic Association-affiliated Societies, specializing in the presentation of the Savoy Operas. Since 1994, Alistair has directed the Gilbert & Sullivan workshop at the NODA South West Regional Conference in Exmouth.

His directing skills have earned him three trophies for Best Director at the International Gilbert & Sullivan Festival in Buxton and his production of The Mikado for the Gilbert & Sullivan Society of Houston earned them the title of International Champions; the NODA South West Regional Award of Excellence for both The Gondoliers with Penzance Amateur Operatic Society and Iolanthe with Taunton Amateur Operatic Society.

Since 1994, Alistair has been heavily involved with the International Festival of Gilbert & Sullivan, both in this country and the USA. He directed the professional production of Iolanthe as well as appearing in productions of HMS Pinafore, Trial By Jury and The Sorcerer. He regularly directs the Festival production each year – a show staged in six days with a cast of enthusiastic amateurs.

About Marylhurst University

Marylhurst University, a private liberal arts university 10 miles south of Portland, Oregon on Highway 43, is regionally accredited and nationally recognized for innovation and academic excellence in serving adult learners. Founded in 1893, Oregon’s oldest Catholic university serves 1,000 multigenerational students of all faiths and backgrounds. Marylhurst offers 40+ undergraduate and graduate degrees and professional certificate programs on campus and online, all of which integrate liberal arts with professional studies and prepare graduates to be ethical leaders who think critically and creatively.

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Media contact: Karen Pederson, Communications & Content Mgr, 503.699.6247,  kpederson@marylhurst.edu