Leading lady Lucy on why Evita songs mean so much

Lucy O'Byrne in the iconic balcony scene from Evita with Mike Sterling as Juan Peron.
Lucy O'Byrne in the iconic balcony scene from Evita with Mike Sterling as Juan Peron.

Her one and only performance to date in Belfast is one of singer Lucy O’Byrne’s musical highlights, so she is understandably excited about returning to the city to play the lead role in Evita, which opens in the Grand Opera House on July 31.

Dublin-born Lucy sang at the BBC’s Proms in the Park in 2015 on the Titanic slipway and said: “That still remains one of my favourite memories ever so I am really excited to be coming back to Belfast.”

Lucy O'Byrne in the iconic balcony scene from Evita with Mike Sterling as Juan Peron.

Lucy O'Byrne in the iconic balcony scene from Evita with Mike Sterling as Juan Peron.

The former Voice UK finalist and musical theatre star is fresh from incredible success in the role of Maria in the Sound of Music - a performance which earned her the review “quite possibly the best Maria since Julie Andrews herself”.

Lucy joked: “I am loving the fabulous costumes in Evita because I’ve spent the last few years wearing a habit!

“But seriously, everything in this production of Evita looks just fabulous. It’s such a wonderful show and that’s why Evita has been so successful for the last 40 years.”

Lucy plays the role of Eva Duarte, the illegitimate daughter of an Argentinian farmer, who went on to marry Colonel Juan Peron and eventually become the idolised ‘first lady’ of Argentina.

“It’s because it’s about a real-life human being, whether you view her as a saint or a sinner, and many people in Argentina still see her as a saint, but the story is about a very young woman who had nothing, was a ‘nobody’ and who attachd herself to whoever she could to chase her dreams and become a ‘somebody’.

“I want to make sure though that I portray her as a human being and not a monster or just a gold digger so I have been preparing for months and researching and reading not just her autobiography (and whatever government editors were involved) but biographies about her.

“The show also happens to contain four of my favourite musical theatre songs - I’d Be Surprisingly Good for You; You Must Love Me; The Lament and High Flying Adored which my father used to sing when I was little. It’s incredible that all four of those amazing songs are in this one show.”

Evita runs at the Grand Opera House in Belfast from July 31 - August 11 and tickets are already selling quickly.

Log onto www.goh.co.uk for booking.