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Evita - 2006 London Cast Recording

Evita

Review by Lizzie Guilfoyle

I INVARIABLY find that people either love or hate Andrew Lloyd Webber’s music. As for myself, I unashamedly fall into the first category. Furthermore, I particularly like the sound of Evita.

Problem is, I grew up with David Essex’ interpretation of Oh What A Circus and later, fell in love with Antonio Banderas’ Che. So, the question is, can Elena Roger (as Eva), Philip Quast (as Peron) and Matt Rawle (as Che) emulate or even better their illustrious predecessors?

But first, a synopsis for those of you unfamiliar with the story.

Evita is based on the life and times of Eva Peron, the second wife of Argentine dictator Juan Peron, and chronicles her life as Argentina’s most complex and powerful figure against a backdrop of political unrest, until her tragic death in 1952.

And the whole is set to music – Andrew Lloyd Webber’s music – in what the media once dubbed ‘pop opera’. Which means, of course, you get the complete story in song. A definite bonus when listening to a soundtrack recording – particularly if you haven’t actually seen the show or film – and even if, like here, it’s only highlights you’re getting.

So to the cast – of course they’re excellent but would you really expect anything less of Lloyd Webber? Having watched him over the past weeks endeavouring to ‘solve a problem like Maria’, it’s obvious that for a man of his integrity, only the best is good enough.

And Roger is, for the most part, exactly that. Her interpretation of You Must Love Me, the Oscar-winning song from the 1996 film, will move you to tears. However, there are times, most notably in A New Argentina when there’s a discordancy in her voice that suggests she’s struggling to hit the high notes. A pity…

Rawle too, has a fine voice and although, by comparison, I found his rendition of Oh What A Circus inferior, I nevertheless warmed to him as the story progressed. His and Roger’s Waltz For Eva and Che made me want to get up and dance round the room.

Quast, in a less conspicuous role, aquits himself admirably but the real surprise is Lorna Want, whose haunting Another Suitcase in Another Hall is as good as, if not better than, anything produced by her leading lady.

So there you have it – an excellent album in spite of some very minor quibbles. Besides, listening and watching is vastly different from simply listening. My seat at the Adelphi is already booked…..

Track Listing:

1. Requiem For Evita
2. Oh What A Circus
3. On This Night Of A Thousand Stars
4. Eva Beware Of The City
5. Buenos Aires
6. Goodnight And Thank You
7. The Art Of The Possible
8. I’d Be Surprisingly Good For You
9. Another Suitcase In Another Hall
10. A New Argentina
11. Don’t Cry for Me Argentina
12. High Flying Adored
13. Rainbow High
14. Rainbow Tour
15. And The Money Kept Rolling In (And Out)
16. Waltz For Eva And Che
17. You Must Love Me
18. She Is A Diamond
19. Montage
20. Lament