perjantai 13. huhtikuuta 2012

Evita - Helsinki, Finland (2006) +movie

Maria Ylipää as Eva.
© Charlotte Estman-Wennström / HKT
I saw the Finnish production of Evita in Helsingin kaupunginteatteri in 2006, and it was one of the most boring musicals I have ever seen on stage. Halfway the first act my mind started to wander to planning what I'd put on my pizza after the show. The actors felt uninspired, the directing was non-existent and there was zero atmosphere and spirit in the production. I just didn't get anything out of the musical or any hold of the characters. They just were there and sang something, but it didn't tell me anything and I didn't see what was the motive for telling the story. I also didn't like the translation very much, it lacked style.

I liked some visual things in the staging, and Raili Ruutu (nowadays Raitala, the adorable Sarah in the Finnish Tanz der Vampire) was already back then awesome as the mistress, easily the best thing in the production. Last year I was happy to hear she'd be our Sarah, and I wasn't disappointed. Petja Lähde as Che was also good, and I remember liking Sami Hintsanen as Peron, though as I said, they weren't directed very well (like, at all). It was Evita, though, where I got traumatized of Maria Ylipää's voice because her shouted high notes nearly killed my eardrums and gave me quite a headache for the rest of the day. Later I saw her as Elphaba in Wicked and she sounded already much better, but I'm still not a fan of her singing.

After the production I thought for years that the musical itself is boring and didn't bother to get more familiar with it. Last weekend I had to watch the 1996 film with Madonna and Antonio Banderas for studying purposes, and to my surprise I suddenly realized why the musical is so popular. Gosh, it's actually good and has a point and all, it doesn't only show for two hours what a bitch Eva Peron was. It's nice to find new good musicals.

Sami Hintsanen, Maria Ylipää and Raili Raitala.
© Charlotte Estman-Wennström / HKT
I also have to praise Sir Tim Rice's lyrics. For years I have thought that English language in musicals doesn't have anything new and interesting to offer me anymore, but Rice appears to be an exception. His lyrics are clever, witty and deep, and I enjoyed listening to them. The "They need to adore me, so Christian Dior me from my head to my toes" and "I'm their savior! That's what they call me, so Lauren Bacall me" in Rainbow High probably lit a light in my eyes, I don't know why but I really like the way Rice has used the names. After that I watched Jesus Christ Superstar for the first time and took a closer look at the lyrics of Chess and was overjoyed to find a new writer gem (new for me, the rest of the musical world seems to have gotten this already in 1980's). Considering that even this blog's name is adapted from Rice's text, it was about time for me to start appreciating him more.

Now it just really confuses me why Don't Cry For Me, Argentina is always translated in a way that's connected to sadness and tears (Wein' nicht um mich, Kyyneleet pois, Et itkeä saa, Miért is síratsz etc.) when crying in the teary sense has absolutely no point in the song itself, only in the reprise when Eva is indeed dying. I've always wondered why Argentina would be sad for Eva when she has just become the first lady of the nation, but watching the balcony scene in the movie made me realize what the song really is about.

Petja Lähde as Che. © Charlotte Estman-Wennström / HKT
Now I'd like to see a good production of Evita. I could also dare to watch Jesus Christ Superstar with a good cast and directing, although I still feel a bit blah about the musical. The music is too 1970's for my taste, similarly to Hair and the other rock musicals of that era that I'm not very interested in.

Production homepage (Helsinki)
Photo gallery
Souvenir program online

4 kommenttia:

Elwingda kirjoitti...

I must admit I have never seen 'Evita' on stage or on film. I need to see it though, it definitely is one of those classic must-sees. I am curious to find out what it is that has made it so famous.

Rice is great, isn't he! 'Chess' is one of my favourite musicals. I really hope I'll get the chance to see it on stage one day.

ihmepensas kirjoitti...

I'm more into Central European musicals, but I've lately started to get more familiar with the classics and must-sees and - to my mild surprise - have noticed that I rather like many of them. I'd like to see some smaller Finnish theatre do Evita, because the material is good and I don't think the musical requires a huge cast and stage.

I'm badly hooked to Chess, it's one of my favourite musicals ever. I happened to be in the press conference of the Hungarian concert production in 2010, and already there, with the cast performing on an empty stage in t-shirts and accompanied by a piano, the musical got right under my skin.

Siiri kirjoitti...

Weird - I just bought Evita's OBC last week and watched the movie yesterday, falling a little bit in love with it... Good timing with this post. :D
Too bad the HKT production wasn't any better, though - I bet this could be an amazing live musical if done right!

ihmepensas kirjoitti...

Yeah, I noticed from you Tumbrl that we had quite a good timing. ;)

I'm sure that the cast in Helsinki could have done so much better, so it's a pity that the production was so lame. So far I haven't been very impressed by Kurt Nuotio's directing skills...