A feature-length cinéma vérité documentary portrait of one of the world’s greatest stage directors at work, shot over the course of a year. From his first sketches in pencil until opening night, we witness Carsen’s creative processes as he adapts Leonard Bernstein’s CANDIDE. Bernstein wrote CANDIDE right before “West Side Story”. In 1956, he and writer Lillian Helman, among others, based their musical comedy on the classic18th century book by Voltaire, using it as a vehicle to satirize the infamous Senator McCarthy and his anti-Communist witch hunt “trials”.
While his primary focus is bringing an audacious, contemporary visual style to classical operas, Carsen’s work ranges from The Beggars Opera (1728), to Singing in the Rain to Buffalo Bill’s West Show for Disneyland Paris, which has been running for 25 years. His recent and upcoming works schedule can be seen here. See also New York Times May 2019 interview with Carsen. When the fashion giant Karl Lagerfeld died in early 2019, the luminaries of the fashion and art worlds turned to Robert Carsen to design and direct a star-studded tribute at the Grand Palais in Paris featuring the actors Tilda Swindon and Helen Mirren, the pianist Lang Lang, the singer Pharrell Williams, among many others.