The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Bradley Cooper will join the Philadelphia Orchestra at the Kimmel Center to perform Leonard Bernstein’s opera Candide. The performances are set to take place on June 20, 21, and 22, and will be led by conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin.
The A Star is Born actor is reportedly joining the performances in preparation for a biopic of the legendary composer, Bernstein, that he will both star in and direct.
“He’s been spending time with Yannick to learn more about classical music,” said Kevin Newbury, who is set to direct the Philadelphia production of Candide.
“Certainly it’s a win for everybody. It’s exciting that he wants to learn more about staging Bernstein with an orchestra first-hand and to learn more about Bernstein in general.”
But the Bernstein biopic didn’t come easy. The Hollywood Reporter reports that Cooper had to fight for the music rights to Bernstein’s compositions, as Jake Gyllenhaal was set to play Bernstein in The American — another biopic about the conductor that Cary Fukunaga is directing. But Cooper won the rights from Bernstein’s estate, which means that Gyllenhaal’s movie won’t be able to use music from the legendary composer’s works, including West Side Story.
Along with Cooper, Bernstein is being produced by Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, and other Hollywood names.
— Peter Dobrin (@InquirerPeter) May 20, 2019
Jamie, Alexander, and Nina Bernstein spoke about the project in a Paramount and Amblin press release last year.
“In our father’s centennial year celebration, we are delighted to form an exclusive and unprecedented partnership with Paramount Pictures, Amblin and this extraordinary group of filmmakers to create a Leonard Bernstein biographical film. They understand our father and are passionate about telling his story.”
Cooper’s three Candide performances are not planned to be released in recorded form, but WRTI-FM (90.1) plans to air the June 22 performance on July 21.
Along with Cooper, the cast includes Alek Shrader as Candide, Erin Morley as Cunegonde, Denyce Graves as the Old Lady, and Kevin Vortmann as Dr. Pangloss.
The Candide operetta is based on Voltaire’s novella of the same name. It originally opened on Broadway in 1956 to poor reception, but since has become very popular amongst both critics and fans. The upcoming operetta will be set in the 1990s, which is the decade in which Newbury, Cooper, and Nézet-Séguin came of age.
As The Inquisitr reported, Cooper revealed on The Ellen DeGeneres Show that he would like to reunite with A Star Is Born co-star Lady Gaga for a script reading. He also said he would like to sing songs from the show at a Hollywood venue.