Something for the weekend. A New Argentina from Evita. From his earliest boyhood the songs from Evita were always a favorite of my son Larry. He inherited that liking from his parents, my bride and I both enjoying Evita and playing the songs frequently.
A lovely musical, although the reality of Juan and Eva Peron was a disaster for Argentina and continues to be due to their political successors some six decades since Eva Peron departed this vale of tears and almost four decades since Juan Peron joined her. The Perons mixed populism, corruption, dictatorial methods and a fair amount of style into a heady brew that kept Peron in power from 1944-1955 until he picked a fight with the Catholic Church by attempting to legalize divorce and prostitution. When he attempted to take over the Catholic schools Pius XII excommunicated him. Peron was sent packing into exile by a military coup. His ruinous economic policies had sent Argentina into an economic tailspin and at the time his removal was largely popular.
However, in his absence the style and glamor of his regime helped sustain the Peronist political movement in Argentina and led to his eventual recall and a second attempt to destroy Argentina with a Presidency from 1973-1974 ending with his death at 79. His third wife, Isabel, 36 years his junior, a former cabaret dancer, succeeded him as President. The Peronists attempted to bill her as a second Evita, but she lacked the essential ingredient of style, and she was toppled by a military coup in 1976. Since that time the history of Argentina has been largely a tale of misrule by the military and by the Peronists, an amorphous political group usually, although not always, noted for their unicorn and fairy dust make believe fiscal and economic policies that bear some resemblance to the policies of the current government in this country.
What John Randolph of Roanoke immortally said about Edward Livingston fits Juan and Eva Peron to a T:
He is a man of splendid abilities, but utterly corrupt. He shines and stinks like rotten mackerel by moonlight.
The video at the beginning of this post is from the current broadway revival. Here is A New Argentina from the original London cast in 1978:
And here is Madonna’ s take on it in 1996 (Mirabile Dictu Madonna was not terrible in her filmed version of Evita):