Evita is a musical with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Tim Rice. It concentrates on the life of Argentine political leader Eva Perón, the second wife of Argentine president Juan Perón. The story follows Evita’s early life, rise to power, charity work, and eventual death.
One of his shows was described as ‘Andrew Lloyd Weber’s latest re-arrangements of Mendelssohn’s greatest hits’. If correct, it means that Mendelssohn didn’t have that many hits. In fact there are many themes and melody’s that re-occur throughout this musical. Most of the songs are not that memorable. Everyone knows ‘Don’t cry for me’, but I have always preferred ‘Another Suitcase in Another Hall’.
And it’s not until this song comes along that the music really picks up. Near the eand I’m sure I heard a few bars of John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ at the start of the song.
In retrospect, the story has some problems. Firstly it starts with Eva’s death, why I’m not sure as it robs the play of any dramatic narrative. But the main problem is the character of Eva. The play portrays her as an ambitious woman sleeping her way to the top of Argentine society, becoming aloof and a bit power mad before dying at 33. The play does not explain to my satisfaction why she was so loved by her people.
Wikipedia explains her better:
Eva Perón became powerful within the pro-Peronist trade unions, primarily for speaking on behalf of labor rights. She also ran the Ministries of Labor and Health, founded and ran the charitable Eva Perón Foundation, championed women’s suffrage in Argentina, and founded and ran the nation’s first large-scale female political party, the Female Peronist Party.
In 1951, Eva Perón announced her candidacy for the Peronist nomination for the office of Vice President of Argentina, receiving great support from the Peronist political base, low-income and working-class Argentines who were referred to as descamisados or “shirtless ones”. However, opposition from the nation’s military and bourgeoisie, coupled with her declining health, ultimately forced her to withdraw her candidacy. In 1952, shortly before her death from cancer at 33, Eva Perón was given the title of “Spiritual Leader of the Nation” by the Argentine Congress.
Most of this is skipped over in favour of emphasing her affairs prior to the marriage to Juan Peron.
As for the performance, it’s up the the exellent standards of Showbiz Christchurch. The sets were impressive, with large pieces moved around to great effect. The Cast and chorus delivered with gusto and style. Sound was well done, unlike a previous performance where the sound was so loud there was audible clipping.
Sometimes the tempo and number of voices could overwhelm clarity of the lyrics. So overall, just average.