Photo Flash: Palm Beach Opera Presents Leonard Bernstein's Daughter Nina Bernstein Simmons at Candide Lunch & Learn

Palm Beach Opera presented its second Lunch & Learn series with special guest speaker Nina Bernstein Simmons, daughter of legendary composer Leonard Bernstein, for an insightful and intimate portrait of Candide, the company's upcoming production.

On Feb. 8, Palm Beach Opera hosted its Candide Lunch & Learn series at West Palm Beach's National Croquet Center, featuring a thoughtful and personal presentation by Simmons. Guiding guests through Candide's musical composition, with selections played by pianist and head coach of Palm Beach Opera's training programs Timothy Cheung, Simmons revealed unique characteristics hidden within the score and demonstrated her father's comedic spirit and intention through live arias performed by Palm Beach Opera Benenson Yong Artists.

"We were absolutely thrilled to have Nina Bernstein Simmons with us for a very special Lunch & Learn," said Managing Director David Walker. "To hear her unparalleled first-hand experience with Bernstein, and to be guided through his masterpiece with her deep understanding of his musical parody, is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity."

Simmons also provided historical context for the production, elaborating on how Bernstein's reactions to injustice and world cruelty can be found in Candide, and shared fond memories of her father. Simmons closed the Lunch & Learn with an open Q&A session with guests. Palm Beach Opera Chief Conductor Maestro David Stern was also in attendance, and shared his admiration for the composer.

"For Lenny, music was oxygen," said Maestro Stern.

Audience members were captivated by Simmons' wit and magnetism, resembling the presence and personality of Bernstein. "I feel like your father is here in this room with us," noted one audience member during the Q&A session.

Simmons will be the special guest of honor at Palm Beach Opera's Opening Night Dinner forCandide, sharing more about the production and her father, and meeting with patrons at the event. Simmons will also attend the opening night performance of Candide. Opening Night Dinner takes place at Kravis Center's Cohen Pavilion before the performance. Tickets are $145. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit pbopera.org or call 561-833-7888

Palm Beach Opera's Lunch & Learn series is designed to provide patrons with an inside look into upcoming productions over lunch and a glass of wine, featuring aligned programming presented by artistic staff and live arias performed by the company's Benenson Young Artists. The final Lunch & Learn on Mar. 15 will feature Le nozze di Figaro. Tickets are $89. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit pbopera.org or call 561-833-7888

Palm Beach Opera is dedicated to producing live opera at an international standard of excellence and to enriching the life of the communities it serves with a diverse offering of educational programs. Founded in 1961, the fully professional Palm Beach Opera presents mainstage performances at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts in West Palm Beach and is a proud member of OPERA America and the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County.

Photo credit: Coastal Click Photography

high res photos

Photo Flash: Palm Beach Opera Presents Leonard Bernstein's Daughter Nina Bernstein Simmons at Candide Lunch & Learn
David Walker and Peg Anderson

Photo Flash: Palm Beach Opera Presents Leonard Bernstein's Daughter Nina Bernstein Simmons at Candide Lunch & Learn
Marsha Laufer and William Brown

Photo Flash: Palm Beach Opera Presents Leonard Bernstein's Daughter Nina Bernstein Simmons at Candide Lunch & Learn
Daniel Biaggi, Nina Bernstein Simmons, Gladys Benenson

Photo Flash: Palm Beach Opera Presents Leonard Bernstein's Daughter Nina Bernstein Simmons at Candide Lunch & Learn
Barbara McDonald with Eunice & David Bigelow

Photo Flash: Palm Beach Opera Presents Leonard Bernstein's Daughter Nina Bernstein Simmons at Candide Lunch & Learn
Palm Beach Opera’s Lunch & Learn

Photo Flash: Palm Beach Opera Presents Leonard Bernstein's Daughter Nina Bernstein Simmons at Candide Lunch & Learn
Nina Bernstein Simmons

Photo Flash: Palm Beach Opera Presents Leonard Bernstein's Daughter Nina Bernstein Simmons at Candide Lunch & Learn
Timothy Cheung, Derrek Stark, Francesca Aquado, Nina Bernstein Simmons, Chelsea Bonagura, Joshua Conyers

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