Thursday, August 2, 2012

An Argentina Eva (Album Review: Evita 2012 Cast Recording)

I did like the current production of EVITA playing at The Marquis so I was looking forward to the New Cast Recoding released a month or so ago. I loved the Orchestrations, and thought it sounded alive. There's a lot more tango in the music here, and it gives the music (my favorite Andrew Lloyd Weber score, for what it's worth) a more authentic flavour. But first, let's get to the business of Eva. While I had second thoughts about her on stage (she ultimately won me over) in this recording, she got me from the start. Yes, this is not the Lupone Eva, it's not the Paige Eva, it's not even the Madonna Eva. Roger gives the role a whole emotional level that touches you like no other Eva. It may be more screechy, but she more than makes up for it in how she sings the songs, how she phrases. This is acting by way of singing - much more expressive, much more layered. I dare say her "Don't Cry For Me Argentina" brought tears, and that is normally a song I do not have much patience for. I bet if this recording was released before the production started, people would appreciate her more seeing her after hearing her. I love accented singing, and this is probably the most Argentine Eva I have ever heard, and that is a wonderful thing. And while Ricky Martin has magnetic stage presence, without his shaking bon bons, his singing here is a bit colorless, and a lot of people have commented about his vowels when he is singing. He enunciates a little too much. I suspect he went to a bit of singing lessons for this role, and it kind of shows. It's more technique than feelings, sadly. Michael Cerveris sings a most soulful Juan, and Max Von Essen is just perfection as Magaldi. (I can't help but playing "On This Night Of A Thousand Stars" over and over) As an aural experience, this satisfies.

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