2016 is the 60th anniversary of Leonard Bernstein's operetta Candide, based on the 1759 satire by French philosopher Voltaire. We pay homage to this momentous achievement in American music with our color Glitter & Be Gay, a showstopping powerhouse of a song about taking the broken pieces of life and making them work to your advantage.
To the uninitiated, Candide may seem a little off-putting. This is not a happy story, not in the least. The satire was meant to skewer the notion that things happen for a reason and that we live "in the best of all possible worlds". Voltaire, and centuries later, Bernstein offered a darkly humorous work that helps us examine foolish optimism masking the realities of our lives. Injustices, natural disasters, and violence can be viewed through a lens of justification; this text illustrated that wide-eyed pragmatism is a much more reasonable way to navigate life and avoid abject disappointment.
The song Glitter and Be Gay is sung by Cunegonde, the youthful love of the titular character and a woman born into nobility who finds herself far from her envisioned future. Cunegonde is a teen beset with fantasies of passionate love affairs, elegant environs, and splendid costume balls that come with adulthood. Little does she know at the beginning of the tale that those reveries will not come to fruition. When Glitter and Be Gay is sung Cunegonde has found herself in Paris, far from her home in Westphalia, which had been destroyed by war, as well as her family and friends being murdered. Cunegonde is now a courtesan in Paris, reconciling her loss of maidenly virtue and the prospect of true love. Her song is of realization that one must make the best of the worst situations: "Perhaps it is ignoble to complain/Enough, enough/Of being basely tearful!/I'll show my noble stuff/By being bright and cheerful!"
Our color Glitter & Be Gay is comprised of jagged shards of gold glitter, much like Cunegonde's shattered dreams. The formula is extra strong, clings to the nail with tenacity, and glitters brightly with fragmented, irregular shine, like our beleaguered heroine. Take a note from Cunegonde's playbook and "show my noble stuff/By being gay and reckless!"