Margaritas and Madonnas

Evita began life in 1976 as a collection of songs, possibly inspired by Margarita from Bulgakov's The Master & Margarita. There is a chance that the key song back then was "Don't cry for me, Mother Russia," but Lloyd-Webber and Tim Rice backed off that and instead called it “It’s Only Your Lover Returning,” like Margarita creeping back to the Master's flat. However, after the first threatening visit by Fagot, they switched it to Argentina and it was easier to sing too.


For Lloyd-Webber and Rice, Margarita/Evita couldn't just be a witch-bitch. For the character to work, she also had to be a madonna figure, like in the icon above (the Theotokos of Vladimir). Evita means "Little Eve" - for the way she symbolized the sacrifice by a mother for her son, in this case the Christ, just as Eve sacrificed for Adam and Margarita sacrificed for her lover, the Master. They are Everyman, Everywoman.

This is also the sub-text of Madonna (the musician) and her tour of Russia, back when you could do such a thing, when she performed on a giant cross with a crown of thorns upon her head. There were angry protests from Orthodox Christians who accused her of being "under the influence of the devil" and the chairman of the Russian public committee for moral revival of the homeland described the concert as a "satanic orgy." Indeed it was.


Some of the protesters drove a stake through her picture and damned her as an "American Satanist." The head of the Union of Orthodox Brotherhoods even went so far as to say: "We declare a new Holy Inquisition that will fight against the sacrilege of crosses, icons, Russian Orthodox symbols."