It takes a certain type of voice to raise the roof and capture the soul of every audience member, even those sitting right at the back.
From my position in the back row of the Opera House first floor circle, I could not take my eyes off the remarkable Emma Hatton as she took Tim Rice’s lyrics and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s music and became the enigmatic Eva Peron. She simply owned it with her astonishing talent as the story unfolded.The production of Evita has taken an intense political tale and turned into a powerful tribute to a woman who rose from poverty to become an Argentinian icon, all before her untimely death at age just 33. Eva Peron was a flawed heroine, a woman of the people who used her status to help herself and her husband rise to power. On one hand a modern reformist – she helped woman get the vote and fought for the right of workers – on the other she amassed great fortunes and questionable tactics to ensure the Peron’s path to the top.Here Emma Hatton’s Eva is a captivating power behind the throne, she inspires and enthrals with her operatic voice flawlessly conveying each emotion and tone. Her rendition of ‘Don’t Cry for me Argentina’ barely leaves an eye dry, while she demonstrates her versatility as musical actor with ‘High flying adored’ and ‘Buenos Aires’.But she is not the only star of this barn-storming touring show, Pulling the entire story together is Gian Marco Schiaretti as Che, who brings remarkable warmth and power to the narration of what is a summation of a complex political tale. The displaced ‘Mistress’ Sarah O’Conner silences the house with her note-perfect ‘Another suitcase in another hall.’But this is an ensemble production (we can’t forget the talented youngsters of the Michael Hall Theatre School in Blackpool) and together they tell a powerful story with drama which packs an emotional punch. On until Saturday June 24.