Evita, which premiered in 1978 in London, was a huge success for Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, falling in the center of their "golden period," as it were, where nearly every musical they released drew huge crowds. Hated by many Argentineans who felt it belittled their heroine, Evita is the tale of Eva Peron, wife of Juan Peron -- president of Argentina beginning in 1946. Born Eva Duarte, Evita (as she is often referred to as) was highly ambitious -- a spirited fighter who lacked a meaningful relationship with her father and who sought power and importance through any means she could. Likened at different times to both Princess Diana (for her humanitarian efforts) and to the woman who portrayed her on film, Madonna (for her headstrong relentlessness), Peron was a legendary figure and the musical does the best job it can capturing her essence. The highlights disc accomplishes its goal -- to offer an inexpensive recording of the major hits from the Evita score. The recording loses its narrative structure, but for a quick listen to "Don't Cry for Me Argentina" and others, it's a worthy investment.
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AllMusic Review by Sarah Erlewine