Evita (Highlights from the Motion Picture)

Various Artists
Evita (Highlights from the Motion Picture)

A woman of modest origins who used her talent and relentless ambition to reinvent herself as revered national figure and pop cultural icon, Argentina’s Eva Peron seems the woman Madonna was born to play. Director Alan Parker’s belated 1996 film adaptation of the Webber/Rice ‘80s stage triumph yields a strong, remarkably mature performance from Madonna. This 19-track collection is quite literally the film’s soundtrack, an elaborately executed, neo-operatic recording where Madonna challenged herself by infusing her vocal performances with a sense of dramatic accomplishment that can’t be denied. (“Don’t Cry for Me Argentina is, of course, the album’s monster hit.) Yet despite the inclusion of “You Must Love Me,” a strong new ballad written especially to augment the film, there remains a nagging sense that overall it’s a performance preserved like a butterfly under glass. Perhaps that’s due to the absence of Parker’s riveting visuals, or simply because it often seems like a project a decade removed from its theatrical inspiration.

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