On Stage: 'Evita' And 'Carmen'

Mar 11, 2019

The musical Evita, with lyrics and book by Tim Rice and music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, began life as a rock opera concept album released in 1976. 

Its warm reception led to productions first in London's West End, where it won the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Musical, then on Broadway, where it received eight Tony Awards, including one for Patti LuPone in the title role, in 1980. It was the first British musical to receive a Tony Award for Best Musical.

Evita tells the story of Eva Perón, second wife of Argentine president Juan Perón and political leader in her own right. Despite some historical inaccuracies, the musical traces the arc of the woman's life, including her rise to power, her philanthropic work, and her death from cancer. Andrew Lloyd Webber concocted a fusion of musical styles that incorporate everything from Latin rhythms to classical to jazz and rock. You can see Evita at Century II from March 18 to March 20.

And one of opera's original bad girls, Carmen, is coming to Century II on April 27 via Wichita Grand Opera. Fickle, fearless, and freedom-loving, Carmen represented a different kind of female character than those typically found at the time of its first production in Paris in 1875, and the opera scandalized its first audiences. The composer, Georges Bizet, died unexpectedly 33 performances into the run, and so never got to see the opera rise in popularity to become a standard among opera companies around the world.