Phantom of the Opera’s Canadian Phenomenon Eva Tavares

The role of Christine in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Phantom of the Opera” is one of the most challenging and demanding in live stage production. This is by design. The character goes through a major transformation and any actress portraying her must embody the range from insecure girl to that of a woman who navigates tremendous trials and emerges stronger. It’s a tale of self-discovery coupled with strength. For the past two years, Eva Tavares has been Christine in the Networks Touring production of this legendary tale. There’s something beyond the singing and acting ability Ms. Tavares brings to the role; an invisible undercurrent. That might have something to do with her own transformation. While she planned on pursuing a professional career as a dancer, a simple suggestion to pursue vocal training led her down a path of being propelled into the spotlight for other talents. In the same way Christine became the center of attention in this musical, Eva has appeared throughout Canada and US, luring fans with her amazing performances.

Those who seek the artist’s path are not followers. It takes a great deal of self-confidence and assertiveness to persevere in this atypical vocation. Bearing this in mind, Tavares concedes that she wasn’t inclined to study Christina Nilsson, the real life inspiration for Christine in “Phantom of the Opera.” The actress reveals, “I wanted to make Christine my own. The story is so complex and she is being torn in so many different directions. She has to grow up very quickly and find the strength to stand up for herself when her support network disappears. Through the show you can really see and feel that growth, which, as an actress, is an amazing gift to play with. Having lived in Christine’s skin for almost two years, my interpretation of her has grown and changed just as much as she does throughout the course of the show. I have realized things about her motivations or intention in the moment, onstage, in a scene, in rehearsal, and in life. She has taught me so much about myself and, in turn, she continues to show me things about her that I may not have realized previously.”

The demands for this role on a vocalist are quite substantial, requiring an impressive range. Andrew Lloyd Webber did this intentionally. As the character evolves from meek to strong and self-reliant, so does the vocal performance exhibited. Impressively, Tavares did not begin singing until her mid-teens, at the behest of her grandmother (an opera singer) and her high school music instructor. Eva has been universally praised for her singing, receiving both IRNE nominations and Ovation Awards. Broadway World- Nashville wrote about Tavares “Her second act performance of ‘Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again’ is exquisite. I could listen to her singing it and on a continuous loop for years to come.” while James Macdonald (actor and artistic director of Western Canada Theatre) proclaims “Eva’s singing talent is without compare among her generation in Canada.”

Tavares has travelled the US extensively in this lead role of “Phantom of the Opera” to nearly fifty cities. The adulation of the Boston audience (her first US performance as Christine) marked a very important step for her but it was the show in her hometown of Vancouver (BC) that is the most memorable. Standing onstage in a lead role, in the very theater where she had first seen a touring production of “Phantom of the Opera”, fifteen years prior, with family and friends in the audience; this was the moment she seemed most connected with the maturation she shares with Christine. Eva Tavares can be seen this summer on the Networks Touring production of “Phantom of the Opera.”

Author: Patrick Wilson

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