Tina Arena.
Tina Arena. Contributed

Tina Arena to play Eva Peron on stage

POP star Tina Arena will play Eva Peron in the classical musical Evita.

Arena, who has already had a 40-year music career in Australia and overseas, will take on the main role of the Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber musical at the Sydney Opera House.

Arena has previously starred in Cabaret, Nine, Dynamite and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat. Her Aussie pop chart hits of the 1990s include singles Chains and Sorrento Moon.

Opera Australia artistic director Lyndon Terracini said he was thrilled to have Arena return to the Australian musical theatre stage for the production.

"Tina is an extraordinary artist with a commanding stage presence,” he said.

"She will leave an indelible impression with this demanding role, which has been played by Elaine Paige, Patti LuPone, Stephanie Lawrence, Elena Roger and, in the original Australian production, Jennifer Murphy.”

Broadway legend Hal Prince will direct the musical. He has won 21 Tony Awards, more than any person in history.

Featuring some of Rice's and Webber's best-loved songs, including Don't Cry For Me Argentina, Evita charts the story of Eva Peron, wife of former Argentine dictator Juan Peron, from her humble beginnings through to the extraordinary wealth, power and status that ultimately led to her being heralded as the spiritual leader of the nation.

This musical captured the attention of the public when it was first staged in 1978.

Tickets are on sale on August 31.