MENTION the show Evita to anybody and there’s a good chance the name Elaine Paige will find its way into the conversation, because she made this great role her own on the West End stage.

But all that is about to change, after word gets out as to just how utterly brilliant Madalena Alberto is as the girl from the back streets who becomes wife to a president.

I can’t for the life of me remember a singing voice so pure and the hairs on the back of my neck stood up when she performed one of the show’s most famous numbers, Don’t Cry For Me Argentina.

Alberto’s acting is equally impressive and watching Eva slowly die on stage was a painful and moving experience.

Probably many who packed The Lowry on Tuesday were there to see if Wet Wet Wet singer Marti Pellow could pull off the role of Che, the only dissenting voice in a country quick to elevate Eva Peron to the status of a saint. While Pellow’s ability to reach the score’s highest notes is awe inspiring, he fails to completely capture the comedy element of the part.

For me, this is the greatest of the Lloyd Webber/Rice collaborations and it still sounds as fresh and vibrant as it did when it premiered in the 70s. It also has a score to die for.

* Until August 10. The box office is on 0843 208 6000. Star rating - ****