Customer Review

34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect rendition of an imperfect but excellent score, April 7, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Evita (1978 Original Broadway Cast) (Audio CD)
Yes, Andrew Lloyd Webber has an irritating tendency to write a few wonderful pieces of music, then fill up the remainder of the show with reprises. Yes, Tim Rice's lyrics can be more than a little inane.
However, those few wonderful pieces of music are truly superb. And while the lyrics *can* be ridiculous, there are plenty of moments in which they shine -- and then linger in your mind long after those moments have passed.
I heard this recording after that of the movie and found the difference to be striking. Not only are the voices clearer and more vibrant, but some of the sharpest lyrics were cut from the movie because they cast a very negative light on Eva Peron. Plus, "Another Suitcase in Another Hall" was done by the *right* character in this recording. It works out so much better that way.
I've never heard Julie Covington sing (at least not that I can recall), and Madonna doesn't quite have the range or the sheer force required for the part, but Patti LuPone was such a perfect Evita that one can hardly ask for more. Her sharp soprano voice isn't the type that everyone will like, and to some it's probably an acquired taste. Yet it is perfect for the title part of this musical. She has easily the highest non-operatic voice I've ever heard, and she skillfully employs it with amazing forcefulness.
Antonio Banderas acts a great Che, but he simply is not a singer, with a voice not far above merely 'decent.' I did like Colm Wilkinson's singing in Les Miserables, but my guess is that as Che he wouldn't master the flawless, matchless vocal subtlety of Mandy Patinkin's Che. Patinkin's voice may be light and even effeminate (though the latter only when he sings falsetto, in my opinion), but what some listeners seem to miss is that Che is not *supposed* to be "rough and tough" -- he's supposed to be bitterly cynical and angry. Patinkin's emotional range is as wide as his vocal one, making him wonderful in the part. I've seen his Che described as "chilling," and that's the right word. Patinkin does indeed produce a chilling, even jarring fusion of lilting tenor song (and here he has a *beautiful* voice) and harsh diatribe of Evita that lends a wonderfully surreal note to the show.
Is this recording perfect? No, but only because _Evita_ itself, like any musical, cannot be absolutely without flaws. But there's no question that it's worth buying and listening to again and again.
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Tracked by 1 customer

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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 7, 2012 3:53:45 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 7, 2012 3:57:00 PM PST
hazeleyes says:
I adored Patinkin as Che (and in other roles), though Che was a little boy during Evita's heyday. Artistic license, or writers assumed because both persons were from South America that they shared time and space? It worked but I prefer fact to fiction. Putting that annoyance aside, no other than Patinkin could have done the job, in my opinion, though I liked Banderas' sinuousness in the movie. Lupone's performance and voice are head and shoulders above Madonna's reedy rendition in the movie. The movie was pretty to watch but the music was weak. The music will always belong to Lupone and she's who I want to hear singing the songs time after time. Bravo, again and again.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 1, 2012 6:58:05 AM PST
H. Duong says:
First, the "Che" character isn't literally Che Guevara. Only in the 1979 Bway version that director Hal Prince insisted that Patinkin get the *inspiration* from Guevara, but the role wasn't necessarily written that way. In other versions, including the movie, Che is just an ordinary citizen representing dissent. And even if it were Guevara, the musical is presented as a flashback, and the Che we see is one in retrospect commenting/narrating on past events. So Che doesn't have to be as young as when Eva Peron were alive.

Posted on Mar 20, 2014 9:02:37 AM PDT
Enslowe says:
I like how this review discusses the lyrics in a balanced way, saying there are good ones and also ridiculous ones. To me a clunker one in this show is the line "I want to be in Buenos Aires, Big Apple." I know that Tim Rice was having some fun here - the "Big Apple" is obviously New York, where many people saw the show, but it's perfectly clear what the lyric is saying... I want to be where the action is, and be at the center of attention, which in the case of Argentina is Buenos Aires. And indeed, "Big Apple" has the correct number of syllables to fit into the music... however, the problem is one of phrasing. As sung, the emphasis falls on the second syllable of "apple" rather than the first, which is jarring and painful. Nobody ever says "apPUL", they say "APple," and for this reason, it simply doesn't work. This is a minor quibble in an otherwise enjoyable show, I know, so thank you for letting me get this off my chest here.
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