Sunday, November 29, 2020

Video: Hear Lea Salonga Sing, Evita’s “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina,” in a Live Performance

Re-posted by Nicholas Stix

I have heard many different renditions of this song, but Salonga leaves them all in the dust. And this isn’t even a good upload! Just imagine with top sound quality. It’s not just that she has a great set of pipes. It’s also her dramatic delivery. She avoids the song’s treacliness. She transcends the song, through restraint, to make it almost as moving as its source, and alone brings tears to my eyes.

To anyone who knows this song’s inspiration, or even who has seen the show whose climax it is, this song is weird, at best. The show humorously depicts Evita as a social-climbing slut in search of wealth, fame, and power. And the song is an exercise in narcissism. But its inspiration was the diametric opposite: When the poor peasants, the “descamisados,” “the shirtless ones,” heard that their beloved Evita had been diagnosed with cancer (it was always a death sentence then), and would speak to them, possibly for the last time, on the Day of the Descamisados, on October 16, 1951, they flocked over one million strong, to the capital city of Buenos Aires, to hear their lady speak.

“Nothing I have, nothing I am, nothing I think is mine: it’s Perón’s. I will not tell you the usual lies: I won’t tell you that I don’t deserve this. Yes, I deserve this, my general. I deserve it for one thing alone, which is worth more than all the gold in the world: I deserve it for all I’ve done for the love of this people. I’m not important because of what I’ve done; I’m not important because of what I’ve renounced; I'm not important because of what I am or have. I have only one thing that matters, and I have it in my heart. It sets my soul aflame, it wounds my flesh and burns in my sinews: it’s love for this people and for Perón. I gave you thanks, my general, for having taught me to know and love them. If this people asked me for my life I would joyfully give it, for the happiness of one descamisado is worth more than my entire life.”

Artist: Lea Salonga
Song: “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina”
Album: Broadway Concert DVD
Year: 2002
From: Evita Broadway Musical
Other Info: Concert was held at The Philippine International Convention Center [N.S.: With the singer’s brother conducting.]

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