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Evita (2006 Cast Recording)

Evita (2006 Cast Recording)

August 14, 2006
3.8 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Product Details

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Steven Valenti on September 12, 2006
Format: Audio CD
It dawned on me awhile ago that no matter what your opinion of Andrew Lloyd Webber, if he had only written three musicals: "Jesus Christ Superstar," "Evita", and "The Phantom of the Opera," he would still qualify as one of the greatest musical composers of the last forty years. The fact that he has been so prolific and adventurous in his material only elevates him in my mind. I can't help but appreciate his love of musicals, even when he doesn't quite hit the mark. Really-- besides Sondheim (obviously)-- who has been trying out new, even experimental, ideas to such a degree for so long?

Think about it for a second: while most composers take easy approaches (especially these days, when the norm is to adapt recent and well known films), Lloyd Webber has written shows about cats (based entirely on a book of poems, no less!), fading Hollywood movie stars, the Troubles in Ireland, racing trains, and even one about a girl in the bible belt who thinks the convict hiding in her barn is Jesus. Whatever you think of his musical style (Too bombastic! Too many recycled melodies!) or the shortcomings of his lyricists, he takes more chances than most composers and there are memorable tunes in virtually every show he has written. And though the three I mentioned as his best are all pretty early works, I don't think he's lost his touch: "The Woman in White," his latest, was way underrated. I mean, come on, it is SO much better than most scores we get from most ANY musical composer (and David Zippel's lyrics, unlike some of Lloyd Webber's other collaborators, are right there on the same melodramatic wavelength as the material and music).
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Format: Audio CD
... this is only a highlights recording. But before we get to this fact, one has to say a few words about the musical itself.

Over the years Andrew Lloyd Webber has made many musicals, some more successful and appealing to the public than the others. Most people will, however, agree that "Evita" remains one of his most satisfying works to this date. Numerous reasons confirm this statement. Just like in its predecessor "Jesus Christ Superstar", "Evita" is almost entirely sung-through; the lyrics are witty and appropriate; the subject matter is again a personality larger-than-life who rises from obscurity and dies at the peak of its fame, thus becoming a legend; the score is captivating and appealing to the listener, at home or in the theatre. The subject matter is quite well know, but let us repeat the essentials for the ones who are unacquainted with it: We follow the life story of Eva Duarte Peron, wife of post-World war two president of Argentina, Juan Peron. However, the musical is very loosely based on the actual life of the real Evita. The story follows Evita from the day of her death in July 1952, and then we have flashbacks until that moment, covering her coming to Buenos Aires, alleged love affairs, meeting Peron, being the first lady and dying of cancer at 33.

This CD is the cast recording of the newly directed 2006 London production that opened in June in London's Adelphi Theatre. This is the first production that did not use Hal Prince's renowned direction, but instead it has Michael Grandage, one of the best contemporary British theatrical directors. The cast who delivers the glorious score is for the most part, well picked.
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Format: Audio CD
I've always believed "Evita" was ALW's most intelligent and most important work-- a fully realized (if not arguably biased) exploration of the life of Eva Peron. I know the "Phantom" phans out there will disagree, but I don't think anything else ALW did was as significant or musically brilliant. Add Tim Rice's lyrics, and what you have is a bona fide diamond in the musical theater pantheon. Only Mama Rose is a more coveted female role-- maybe.

First there was Julie Covington in the experimental stage, then Elaine Paige in the original London cast, who seemed to play it with a nudge and wink. Somewhat more recently, Marti Webb-- another ALW alumnus-- did a largely forgettable studio album of songs from the show. As for the movie, I think Madonna did a very respectable job and was largely overlooked. The CD largely holds up as a document of the film, with Madonna's singing effective, and Antononio Banderas a complete surprise as a competent, if not always attached, Che. Such is the problem with soundtracks, the lack of interaction among cast members that is vital to stage.

But this has always been Patti's show, and always will be.

Patti Lupone was uniquely qualified to play Evita when it opened on Broadway in 1978. She had the attitude, the talent, the brass, and those pipes. She will always be the quintissential Evita. Mandy Patinkin was an admirable Che, well before he descended into the manic Broadway hyper-belter that Sondheim undountedly had a hand in creating. The Lupone Evita, on 2 CDs, with most of the inceidental music and an incredible record of star-making performance, will forever be the most important recording of this show.

Now, nearly 30 years later, Evita is being revived on the London stage, at the Adelphi Theatre, and garnering rave revues.
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