TWO years before his death, the great American conductor, composer and pianist Leonard Bernstein flew into Glasgow to take part in preparations for Scottish Opera’s world premiere of his revised comic opera, Candide.

It was mid-May, 1988. The rehearsals for this production of Candide began at the Theatre Royal with Scottish Opera’s music director, John Mauceri, and the opera’s director, Jonathan Miller (pictured here with Bernstein). Bernstein, 69, arrived at the airport somewhat bleary-eyed; he said he had been travelling for 36 hours non-stop and was desperate for a good night’s sleep.

Students at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, “excited by Bernstein fever”, implored the owners of a nearby pub, Intermezzo, to dispense with its usual muzak for the duration of Bernstein’s stay and replace it with some of his own compositions. The owners complied, and collected no fewer than 17 tapes of his work.

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Herald Diary

Bernstein’s prodigious output included symphonies, ballets, the score to the Oscar-laden film On the Waterfront, and notable scores to such stage musical successes as On the Town, Wonderful Town and West Side Story.

The Glasgow Herald’s critic, Michael Tumelty, praised Candide as “a splendid night of music theatre which will appeal right across boundaries of taste”. Getting Bernstein’s Candide to succeed as a production, he noted, “will probably always be a precarious balancing act. There is so much humour – from the satirical to the farcical – and, particularly within the music itself, much that is moving and, perhaps just one or twice, profound.”

A full-length BBC broadcast of the Glasgow Candide can be watched on YouTube,