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Leonard Bernstein:
Operettas in English

Leonard Bernstein's "Candide" is an operetta. An operetta is like an opera, with one big difference. In opera, everything is sung, but in operetta, there are spoken lines between the singing. Composers who wrote operettas in English include Sir Arthur Sullivan (who can't be separated from William S. Gilbert, who wrote the words for Gilbert and Sullivan operettas), Victor Herbert, Sigmund Romberg, and Rudolf Friml.

Music heard in this episode:
Offenbach: Orpheus in the Underworld: Can-Can
Sullivan: Pirates of Penzance: With Cat Like Tread
Sullivan: Mikado: Duet (Katisha and Ko-Ko)
Sullivan: Pirates of Penzance: I am the Very Model of a Modern Major General
Herbert: Babes in Toyland: March
Romberg: The Student Prince: Drink! Drink! Drink!
Friml: Rose Marie: Indian Love Call
DeKoven: Oh, Promise Me
Sousa: The Irish Dragoon: Circus Galop
Bernstein: Candide: Overture

Other shows about Leonard Bernstein:
About Leonard Bernstein
Bernstein and Musical Theater
American Composers with a Boston Connection

Download this month's activity sheet

About Leonard Bernstein
8/25/1918 - 10/14/1990
Born in America

Leonard Bernstein was born in Lawrence, Massachusetts, and grew up in the Boston area. His father sold wigs and beauty supplies, and wanted his oldest son to take over the business. But after Leonard -- or Lenny, as all his friends called him -- composed the class song for his high school graduation, he went on to Harvard and majored in music.

Leonard Bernstein got his big break when he was the 25-year-old assistant conductor of the New York Philharmonic. At the last minute, he stepped in to conduct a concert in Carnegie Hall that was broadcast live over the radio all across America. The audience loved him, and the event made front page headlines in the newspaper.

When Bernstein was eventually named music director of the New York Philharmonic, he was the first American to become permanent conductor of a major American orchestra. Leonard Bernstein used television, which was brand new at the time, to bring classical music to a very wide audience through his "Young People's Concerts."

Bernstein also loved to compose musical theater. His musicals include "On The Town," "Wonderful Town," and "West Side Story."

See other composers born in America


This Week's Quiz:

1. How is operetta different from opera?

It is sung in English.

There is dancing.

There are no costumes.

There is no orchestra.

There are spoken lines between the singing.

2.Which American composer of marches also wrote operettas?

Aaron Copland

John Philip Sousa

George Gershwin

Charles Ives

Amy Beach

3. In England and America, operetta developed into what form?




Musical Theatre



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