Evita

Evita is a rock opera with a libretto by Tim Rice and music by Andrew Lloyd Webber. It is based on the life of Eva Peron, the infamous first lady of Argentina.

Originally presented as a concept album in 1976, the original production premiered in London in 1978. Directed by Harold Prince, with choreography by Larry Fuller, the production transferred to Broadway in 1979, running for 1567 performances. A film version directed by Alan Parker was produced in 1997.

Synopsis

At A CINEMA IN BUENOS AIRES (July 26 1952), the manager announces the death of the first lady of Argentina, Eva Peron. The country is thrown into mourning but one man, Ché, sees the Peron government as it really is (REQUIEM FOR EVITA /OH, WHAT A CIRCUS). We are transported back several years to Junin, the small town where Eva grew up. Here, she is far from the glamorous icon she will become, and yearns to leave for the big city. She clamps onto a tango singer, Agustin Magaldi (ON THIS NIGHT OF A THOUSAND STARS / EVA, BEWARE OF THE CITY), and uses him as a means to get to BUENOS AIRES.

Emma Kingston and Anton Luitingh as Eva and Magaldi in the 2017 South African production.

There she rises in stature, sleeping her way to success as she gets to know the créme of the famous and influential (GOOD NIGHT AND THANK YOU). Meanwhile, the political stability of Argentina is changing rapidly (THE ART OF THE POSSIBLE) and Eva manipulates herself into a meeting with Juan Peron (CHARITY CONCERT / I’D BE SURPRISINGLY GOOD FOR YOU). She goes home with Peron and moves in, licking his 16-year-old mistress out (HELLO AND GOODBYE / ANOTHER SUITCASE IN ANOTHER HALL). Her actions to not go unobserved, however, and she draws criticism from the wealthy aristocracy of Argentina as well as the army (PERON’S LATEST FLAME). Ignoring them, Eva pushes Peron towards taking over the supreme power in the country – he is soon elected the President of the country (A NEW ARGENTINA).

Eva (Emma Kingston) and Peron (Robert Finlayson) look forward to “A New Argentina.”

ON THE BALCONY OF THE CASA ROSADA, Peron gives his inaugural speech to the people of Argentina. But it is Eva who wins the decamisados over with her moving oration, DON’T CRY FOR ME, ARGENTINA. She establishes a place for herself in the hearts of the people (HIGH FLYING ADORED) and creates an image that she embodies to the full (RAINBOW HIGH). Eva then commences her RAINBOW TOUR to Europe. Although not entirely successful – the first signs of her illness appear, slowing her down somewhat – she returns in triumph to get the English out of Argentina (THE ACTRESS HASN’T LEARNED THE LINES YOU’D LIKE TO HEAR).

Emma Kingston, as Eva, sings “Don’t Cry For Me, Argentina.”

The myth of ‘Saint’ Eva Peron continues to grow, as she works to promote herself, her husband and the cockeyed kind of democracy she believes in, setting up a charitable Foundation which is more charitable to those who get from it than to those who are forced to contribute. She then proceeds to work with the underprivileged communities of the country, starting a national bankruptcy in the process (AND THE MONEY KEPT ROLLING IN AND OUT). Although the people adore her (SANTA EVITA), Ché is still cynical about her motivations and her actions (WALTZ FOR EVA AND CHE). She finally insists on recognition, on the post of Vice-President, not realizing that there are still barriers against her ambitions, (SHE IS A DIAMOND / DICE ARE ROLLING) but the more pragmatic Peron does not have to face her with a ‘no’, for her last illness is upon her. She collapses and her life flashes before her eyes (EVA’S FINAL BROADCAST / MONTAGE / YOU MUST LOVE ME – added for the film). She realises that this is the end for her, and considers her life in a final LAMENT. When Eva Peron died the people of Argentina were distraught, for like so many who have survived as popular icons to later ages, she did not grow old: she died at the height of her powers.

2 Responses to Evita

  1. Mary Lou says:

    Tonight, in Sacramento, California, Evita is playing at Wells Fargo Californa Music Circus. I love the musical. Andrew’s works are still the best!

  2. Alfred Balzan says:

    I am happy when I hear the song of Madonna, “Don’t Cry for me Argentina.” I wish to write in Engish to explain more.

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