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Evita (1978 Original Broadway Cast) Cast Recording

4.2 out of 5 stars 163 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Cast Recording, May 20, 1985
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber's Evita, which began as a concept album in 1976 and had its first stage incarnation in London in 1978, finally came to the U.S. in 1979 with a production that opened in Los Angeles and moved to San Francisco for multi-week engagements before landing on Broadway on September 25 to begin a Tony-winning, 1,568-performance run. The London production had been represented by a one-disc highlights album, but this one became the second full-length treatment, running, like the concept album, 100 minutes. As such, the revisions made for the stage were more apparent, especially because there were more of them than there had been in London, sometimes to Americanize the language. ("The back of beyond" in "Eva and Magaldi" became "the sticks," while "Get stuffed!" in "Goodnight and Thank You" was now "Up yours!") "The Lady's Got Potential" had been deleted, and there was a new song, "The Art of the Possible," which, with its musical-chairs staging, was more effective in the theater than on record. And "Dangerous Jade" had been revised to become "Peron's Latest Flame." Many of the changes built up the role of Evita's critic, Che. As played by Mandy Patinkin, who achieved Broadway stardom in the role, Che now rivaled Evita as a musical presence, the actor's elastic tenor and bravura manner drawing more attention to him. But Patti Lu Pone also became a star here, fearlessly bringing out Evita's strident self-interest without attempting to gain the audience's sympathy. (You couldn't say that about London's Elaine Paige.) Lu Pone was at her best when Evita was at her worst, such as in the songs "A New Argentina" and "Rainbow High." The rest of the cast was unexceptional, though Bob Gunton's Juan Peron inspired curiosity as the only actor to use a Spanish accent. ~ William Ruhlmann Music and words written by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice 2 CD Set. Broadway Cast Original cast includes: Patti LuPone, Bob Gunton, Mandy Patinkin.

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Evita was Andrew Lloyd Webber's last show with Tim Rice before he went on to projects with less interesting collaborators, so it's no surprise that it remains his most consistently involving and rewarding work. Loosely based on the life of Eva Peron, the charismatic wife of post-World War II Argentine president Juan Peron, Rice's compelling story of one woman's rise from poverty to power is complemented by Lloyd Webber's colorful music as propelled by vigorous Latin rhythms. The showstopper, of course, is "Don't Cry for Me, Argentina," but the score is full of gems, including "On This Night of a Thousand Stars," "Oh, What a Circus," and "Another Suitcase in Another Hall." Headlining the 1978 Broadway cast, Patti LuPone is fabulous in the title role, showcasing her big voice and brash egotism in the role she was born to play. Mandy Patinkin is Che, the Greek-chorus character commenting on and criticizing the Perons, and his tenor is sweet on the ballads and powerful on the driving numbers. LuPone and Patinkin made their names with Evita (and took home well-deserved Tonys), but it's the third principal, Bob Gunton, who elevates this cast to the stratosphere. As Peron--a role often filled by a nonsinger--Gunton inflects his strong voice with both menace and sensitivity. Forget the movie; this is the definitive version of this score, and an essential cast recording. --David Horiuchi
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 20, 1985)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Cast Recording
  • Label: Verve
  • ASIN: B000002ORP
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (163 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,687 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Michael J. Mazza HALL OF FAME on July 22, 2001
Format: Audio CD
The United States version of "Evita" was actually the first rendition of this great Tim Rice / Andrew Lloyd Webber musical which I had ever heard. Since then, I've seen a live touring production and listened to 5 other versions (including the awesome German-language version!) on CD. And you know what? I still think that the U.S. cast, while not necessarily definitive, is superb.
"Evita" tells the tragic story of Eva Peron, the real-life Argentine first lady who died of cancer in 1952. Patti LuPone is excellent in the title role. Her voice is big and bold on her first big number ("Buenos Aires), and as the CD continues she uses her vocal talents to fully flesh out this compelling character.
At first, Mandy Patinkin seems vocally miscast as Che. Patinkin is an absolutely first-rate singer, but his voice simply seems too sweet and innocent for the role of the darkly ironic commentator (especially on his first big song, "Oh What a Circus"). But by the second disc, Patinkin seems to have found the character; he is especially effective on "And the Money Kept Rolling In (And Out)." The rest of the cast is very good. Jane Ohringer in particular gives a beautiful performance as Juan Peron's mistress. Bob Gunton is a solid Peron. And Mark Syers brings a slightly campy sweetness to his role as the singer Magaldi.
"Evita" is one of the truly great musicals, and this version is definitely worth owning. I recommend that fans of "Evita" the musical also do a little research into the life of the historical Evita in order to better appreciate this piece of theater.
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Format: Audio CD
More than just a modern-day Cinderella story, EVITA is a powerful musical about ambition, politics, class, greed, obsession and an overwhelming need for acceptance and love. This is Lloyd Webber's best score; none of his later subjects seemed to challenge him as much.
Some of the other reviews posted here complain about Patti LuPone's "strident" voice vs. Madonna's more gentle voice. Putting aside that Patti has one of the finest and most thrilling voices in the theatre today, anyone who has heard recordings of Eva Peron's speeches will know that the real Evita's voice was far from soothing. Lloyd Webber was able to capture the harangue in her voice in his score, which Patti delivered with a fiery, powerful vocal (and acting) performance that captures an essence of Eva Peron that Madonna couldn't manage.
Now, I liked the movie. It was visually stunning, the orchestrations were lush, and it attempted to be a more balanced portrayal than the original stage productions. Antonio Banderas gives a passionate performance, and Jonathan Price really brings depth to a sketchily written role. Madonna looks great (once she gets past the scenes wear she has to play a fifteen-year-old), and I have to say she sang better than she ever has. BUT, the fire and passion I expected from her was not evident. Also, sections of the score were lowered for her, and some tempos were slowed down, which I think worked against her performance.
The Broadway recording does have its problems: some of the orchestrations, which sounded fresh and exciting in the late seventies, have not aged well. Also, the sound quality, while not bad, is slightly muffled. Of course, it was recorded over twenty years ago, before the advances of digital recording.
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Format: 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.
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