Expectations were high for the Huntington Theatre's 30th season opener, Mary Zimmerman's production of Bernstein's Candide. This is just a quick note to let you know that those expectations were met, actually more than met, tonight; I'm still on a post-show high, in fact. Zimmerman's Candide may not be a transformative production, but it's a classic one - maybe even a definitive one for this eternally shape-shifting musical. The score - one of the best of the past century, and the reason people keep trying to work out the kinks in the surrounding book - is handled well here (in a reduced version), and the leading trio - Geoff Packard, Lauren Molina, and Larry Yando - are each absolutely perfect for their roles; meanwhile the supporting musical ensemble is one of the strongest we've seen in Boston since the Huntington's own She Loves Me a few years back. The design is consistently striking, and Zimmerman's action, often studded with memorable tableaux, is always imaginative - and melds seamlessly with Daniel Pelzig's clever choreography. Even more importantly, the director brings the musical to a more moving close than I would have thought possible. I think I can promise you that you will never see a stronger version of this brilliant show, and it will loom over the coming season, and maybe even the coming years. I'll have caveats and the fine print in a later review, but don't wait for the reviews to come out, get the good seats while you can.