Monday 6 May 2019

Evita 100

Today marks 100 years since the birth of one of the most controversial people of the 20th Century.

Like a lot of people from my generation, my first introduction to Eva Peron came through the song Don't Cry For Me Argentina - specifically the version sung by Elaine Paige.

This iconic song, from the play Evita by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber, brought many questions to my mind at the time but it was only many years later when I was finally inspired to investigate the life of Eva Peron in great detail.

The pivotal moment came when I saw the play for the first time, at the Grand Opera House in York. Reading the programme notes gave me a mere glimpse of her remarkable story. By the time I had travelled home on the train I had already ordered myself a number of books on the subject, which sparked my deep desire to research Evita's life and work in great detail - a task that is still very much ongoing.

I have now seen the play 10 times and in five different cities (York, Leeds, London, Newcastle and Hull) featuring several different Evitas and am planning on going to see a brand new production in the summer.

Ironically, the play is by no means pro-Evita. The audience is fed a contrary stance by the character of Che (Guevara, of course - although the two never met in real life.) However, the magnificence of Evita shines through regardless.

The story of Eva Peron is remarkable from the cradle to the grave and, bizarrely, even beyond. An early death - aged just 33 - didn't prevent her from creating her own unforgettable legacy, despite the best efforts from some quarters.

I intend returning to the fascinating subject of Eva Peron in the very near future and to explain why I find her story so inspirational.

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