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School of Music

  • The cast of Candide

Opera at USC opens with Bernstein classic “Candide”

What happens as a young lad searches for true love through the best of all possible worlds? Love stings in this satirical comic opera in two acts adapted from Voltaire’s novella and joined with high-spirited music by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by Richard Wilbur, Stephen Sondheim, John Latouche, Lillian Hellman, Dorothy Parker and Bernstein.

Led by Ellen Douglas Schlaefer, director of Opera Studies at the University of South Carolina, a huge cast of 30 students representing 50 roles presents the much-loved musical as its first production of the academic year. Conductor Neil Casey directs the Opera at USC Orchestra.

“Candide” follows its title character on a journey of discovery, through anguish, happiness, loss and love in a whirlwind adventure that seeks to prove "life is happiness indeed."

Three performances take place at USC’s Drayton Hall Theatre:
November 8 and 9 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 3:00 p.m.

The cast includes doctoral candidate Joshua R. Wentz, baritone, as Pangloss; Dustin Ousley, doctoral candidate in choral conducting, as Candide, Stephanie Beinlich, doctoral candidate in vocal performance as Cunegonde; Kate McKinney, senior vocal performance major, as Paquette; Maximilian is played by Ian Prichard, senior in music education, and Brenton O'Hara, first year masters in opera theatre; Cera Finney, first year masters in opera theatre, and Kelsey Kish, doctoral candidate in voice, as The Old Lady. Junior vocal performance major, tenor Jonathan Cawley and bass/baritone Shaquile Hester, junior vocal performance major, join the ensemble.

Also included in the cast of “Candide” are Megan Francis, Jolie Fraser-Madge and Luke Melnyk, campers from the Carolina Opera Experience, a summer camp for 5th through 10th graders in which students learn the art of props, make-up, costumes, scenery and musical preparation.


Individual tickets: adults: $25; seniors, USC faculty and staff, and military $20; students with ID: $7 
Season tickets: 
adult: $45; seniors, USC faculty and staff, and military: $30 
Tickets can be purchased:

  • In person at the Koger Box Office corner of Greene and Park Streets, Columbia, SC 29201 (Monday–Friday from 9 a.m.–5 p.m)
  • By phone: (803) 251-2222 (Monday–Friday from 9 a.m.–5 p.m.)
  • Online at 
Please note that added fees apply.
  • At the venue one hour prior to the 

See season details

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