REVIEWED: Evita at Dubai Opera

Spoiler alert. We give you the lowdown on Andrew Lloyd Webber’s legendary show

ART & CULTURE, Theatre

Like her or loath her, Eva Peron is a woman who knows what she wants – and boy, does she have some lungs on her.

Evita kicked off at Dubai Opera this week – and we can confirm that it’s nothing short of a showstopper.

The classic Andrew Lloyd Webber production follows the story of Eva Peron, the first lady of Argentina, who dedicates her life to charity and becomes heralded as the spiritual leader of the country.

But that’s not to say you’ll like her. The Eva portrayed is a somewhat ruthless actress, ready to tread all over others to get what she wants, and shamelessly revelling in the adoration of the Argentinian people.

But however you feel about the leading lady’s personality, her performance is undeniably earth-shattering.

The dancing is flawless, the acting phenomenal and the vocals could probably shatter glass.

The rise from rags to riches is played out brilliantly, with lustrous dancing, massively impressive staging and tons of momentum.

But it is our heroine’s eventual demise that steals the show, and the heart-wrenching exchange with her husband before her subsequent death seeps tragedy in the most beautiful and powerful way.

Originally released in 1976, the show is famous for a number of massive songs, mainly Don’t Cry for Me Argentina – which sold more than ten million copies in the UK alone.

And as you might have guessed from the above praise, the performance more than does the original justice.

In fact we can’t find fault with any of the vocals, so brilliantly written by Tim Rice, and performed by the stellar cast with fervour and flair.

Mr Peron’s performance is nothing short of superb and the chemistry between he and Eva is palpable, while the stage presence of our military narrator is all-encapsulating.

A special mention has to go to nine-year-old Jasmine Veriga of Dubai Performing Arts academy, whose solo was breathtaking and left the audience completely choked up.

Jasmine, from London, was selected as a soloist by judges who scoured performing arts schools across Dubai looking for young local talent to take part in the legendary production.

The schoolgirl sang beautifully and received the biggest applause of the night.

Jasmine’s mum, Agnieszka Veriga, told Time Out, “Jasmine is thrilled to be part of the internationally acclaimed production, alongside professional cast and performing on the most prominent stages in Dubai.

“Since Monday morning, when the rehearsals started, Jasmine has been having a ball. She has been enjoying every second of it, and admiring professional cast delivering outstanding performance day and night.

“She has been to the opera on few occasions spectating Mary Poppins, Jingle Bell Gala, LA Dance Project and others, but now being able to share this stage with the experienced professionals and her Dubai peers - it's a dream come true.”

In short, if you were thinking about going to see the show, then don’t waste any time.

The production is running until Saturday February 3 and we think it’s safe to say it’s the best thing you’ll see this year.

From Dhs250. Mon Jan 22 to Sat Feb 3. Dubai Opera, Downtown Dubai, www.dubaiopera.com.

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