Monday, May 31, 2010

Requiem Aeternum Dona Evita

I recently had a glorious dream.  It's probably because I have been revisiting the Evita soundtracks, and because of a memory I recently recalled of taking Trish, my high school girlfriend, to see it in Century City; the idea of sharing the Evita experience.  You see, Evita was and still is my favorite theatrical production.

My dream was very short.  I was entering into a very large stage theater in LA from from under an easement, such as from under one wing of the stage, like you might enter a baseball stadium.  It was evening, everything, the stage, the theater, was painted black like some heavy metal venue.

I was corralling all of these people I knew; ex-girlfriends, family and friends to our seats.  We were about to see Evita live with Patti Lupone.  How that all would work out at her current age didn't come into question in the dream.  But it was going to be a very special; a powerful performance with great amplification* and a larger than usual orchestra.

I was excited because were about to experience the actual Broadway Evita with the cast that I never actually able to see in my early adulthood (I originally saw it with Loni Ackerman and John Cypher at the Shubert 9 times).

*Just a note about the great amplification mention above. I had listened to the soundtrack many times before even seeing Evita the first time, and because it's so powerful in a home stereo, the sound amplification always seemed a little weak in the theater as a result of that contrast.  So the idea of the show being extremely high fidelity and amplified well in my dream I'm sure was compensating for this past experience.

I have been listening to the Broadway and London versions in my Jeep for the past few days.  I've been finding that the London version is much thinner in it's arrangements, not as "in character," as well as many songs being missed.  I'm thinking that they just made a simple soundtrack when starting out in London, then when they knew it was a success, they did a much bigger and much more heavily layered in orchestration and arrangements version for NY.

I also have been finding that the Broadway recording is much grittier; both in the way Patti used her voice, and in how they pianist is throwing in Latin-jazzy accents here and there, especially in "Eva, Beware of the City" and in "Buenos Aires."

A perfect example of this grit is during "Eva Beware of the City," when a young musician who has been using Eva advises her not to be carried away with her dreams, and Eva replies,

...Monotony past, suburbia departed
Who could ever get kicks in the back of the sticks...

I can just hear the Latin-jazz piano in my head; so good!. The whole NY album in my opinion is a much richer, textured and emotional experience.  And I've been consciously trying to avoid being biased toward the NY recording simply because I am used to it.  But the Broadway recording truly a much better presentation.

View Patti Lupone Singing Her Heart Out As Evita at the Tony Awards