Ute Lemper and Gavin Friday

Publication: Hot Press
Date: 18 September 2019
By: Colm Kelly

Gavin Friday, Camille O’Sullivan, Ute Lemper, Meow Meow, Blixa Bargeld, Cathal Coughlan and more re-imagined Bertolt Brecht’s songs and poems in a magical night at The National Concert Hall.

Click here to view the whole gallery of fabulous live pics.

Publication: Le Temps
Date: August 7, 2019
By : Stéphane Gobbo

La chanteuse allemande sera samedi soir au Gstaad Menuhin Festival pour un programme «Cabaret & Chansons» qui la verra traverser plus de quarante ans de carrière. Qu’elle chante Serge Gainsbourg, Marlene Dietrich ou des poèmes de Pablo Neruda, Ute Lemper a toujours ce sens de la théâtralité qui fait d’elle une interprète hors norme Musiques…

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Publication: iWorld Travel, so should you!
Date: September 12, 2019
By: Michael Reubens

Mention the name Ute Lemper to some people and you may get a shrug of shoulders but to the discerning followers of worldwide talent the same reaction will definitely not occur.

After one sees her one-woman show coming soon to a theatre near you, I, for one am happy to set the record straight that henceforth Ms. Lemper will be on everyone’s radar. Her Bio includes award-winning roles in Chicago, Cats and Cabaret and her love of the more intimate global cabaret circuit in which she is truly more comfortable.

Rendezvous with Marlene, written and performed by Ms. Lemper and described as “a personal homage to Marlene Dietrich” on a recent telephone conversation in which all was revealed about the legendary actress including some fascinating secrets and anecdotes.

Ute Lemper initially got the revelatory idea to document and therefore stage this show when both U.L. and M. D. lived in Paris . The year was 1988 and U.L. spent three hours on the phone with M D., exploring her career and revealing some of her most intimate secrets. What U.L. got from that call was amazing comparisons between both women: M.D. was 87 at the time and U.L. a mere 24 which left a profound and everlasting emotional impact to this day. Channeling M.D. but certainly not imitating her.

U.L. is also quick to point out that the show chronicles the glamorous star without doing a complete impression. More a retrospect as seen through the eyes and vision of U.L. focusing on highlights from her cabaret days, Hollywood movies, her relationships with composer and mentor Burt Bacharach, chanteuse Edith Piaf, Bio Doc with Actor/Director Maximilian Schell and so on.

M.D. loved her native Germany however she was saddened by the fact that she felt punished to the end of her life mostly due to negative rumours that she was a traitor. She had a love affair with France, the UK and USA and love affairs with both men and women. Ahead of her time she wore men’s apparel, had an open marriage, was abandoned by her daughter who wrote a damming biography filled with negativity yet adored by her fans through films and stage appearances worldwide.

Ute Lemper comes to New York for 5 performances from 18 September only following a sold out run in London . She will then reprise her show throughout Europe and hopes to mount the production with a fresher perspective sometime in the near future.

* The York Theatre Company, New York.

Click here to read on the iWorld Travel blog.

Ute Lemper has several produced several albums of Brecht/Weill songs and is regarded as the duo’s best interpreter

Publication: Irish Times
Date: September 7, 2019
By: Tony Clayton-Lea

Gig of the week: Line-up includes Camille O’Sullivan, Meow Meow and Gavin Friday

Born in Bavaria in 1898, playwright Bertolt Brecht worked principally in what is known as epic theatre, which favours provocative narratives interspersed by debate and analysis. This new dramatic form, essentially a forum for his political beliefs, also included songs/poems that would match the unfolding storylines.

Through works such as 1927’s The Little Mahagonny, 1928’s The Threepenny Opera, 1930’s The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny (all three of which were co-written with Kurt Weill), 1939’s Mother Courage and her Children, and 1941’s The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, Brecht left an indelible mark not only on theatre but also on what musical theatre could achieve. Songs co-written with Weill, Hans Eisler and Paul Dessau that formed a productive connection between the decades include the ballad of Mack the Knife, Pirate Jenny (both from The Threepenny Opera), The Alabama Song, and Surabaya Johnny.

Beloved by musicians that can handle such sharp-edged, politically and emotionally turbulent material, Brecht songs have been covered by Nina Simone, David Bowie, Tom Waits, PJ Harvey, Lou Reed, Divine Comedy, Nick Cave, Elvis Costello and Mary Margaret O’Hara. It makes sense, therefore, that the man who once enquired, semi-rhetorically, “in the dark times will there also be singing? Yes, there will also be singing. About the dark times”, should have an evening devoted to his work. Certainly, the line-up for Change the World: Bertolt Brecht Songs and Poems for 2019 is such that the man’s output will be delivered with equal amounts authenticity and invention.

The linchpin of the two concerts (Saturday, September 14th, Sunday, September 15th) is Ute Lemper, the German-born, NYC resident singer and actor whose back catalogue includes several albums of Brecht/Weill songs, and who is regarded as the duo’s best interpreter. Of her continued work to unravel the songs of Brecht/Weill, she has said it is more a mission than anything else. “I feel responsibility about it,” she told the Guardian some years ago, “to bring it back to the new generations, revive the music and take the stigma off the German language.”

Lemper isn’t the only lauded interpreter of the Brecht/Weill canon, of course. Dublin-based Camille O’Sullivan could easily lay claim to being in the same league. Singer and actor O’Sullivan has been a much-vaunted admirer of the Brecht/Weill catalogue for nigh on 20 years, performing their songs when it was neither fashionable nor profitable (initially under the mentorship of Dublin-based German singer Agnes Bernelle, who with her 1977 debut album, Bernelle on Brecht And…, introduced Brecht/Weill to Ireland’s punk rock community).

Two of the very same native punk contingent that were listening were imaginative Dublin-based troublemaker Gavin Friday and Co Cork dissenter Cathal Coughlan. It is no surprise to see both of these musicians on the line-up. Between them, they have the Brecht/Weill aesthetic down to a tee. From Friday’s mid-’80s Blue Jaysus Cabaret on the Dublin docks and his 2001 Tivoli Theatre tribute show, Ich Liebe Dich (staged later in that decade as part of the Dublin Theatre Festival) to Coughlan’s insider knowledge of inventive dark arts, one can only imagine the layered quality of homage we have here.

Also featuring Meow Meow (aka Melissa Madden Gray) and German singer/actor Blixa Bargeld, the show’s musical director is Terry Edwards, and is produced by National Concert Hall’s head of programme planning Gary Sheehan.

Change the World: Bertolt Brecht Songs and Poems for 2019, National Concert Hall, Dublin, Saturday, September 14th and Sunday, September 15th. nch.ie

Click here to read the article online.

Publication: theaterlife.com
Date: August 22, 2019
By: Paulanne Simmons

Preview: Ute Lemper’s Rendezvous with Marlene

August 22, 2019: This September, internationally renowned singer and actress Ute Lemper will perform her solo show, Rendezvous with Marlene, five nights at The York Theatre. But the beginnings of that show go back thirty years. The story includes Lemper’s fascination with the music of the Weimar Republic and her admiration for one of its greatest composers, Kurt Weill.

In 1987, Lemper’s portrayal of Sally Bowles in the original Paris production of Cabaret had already earned her the Molière Award (the French equivalent of the Tony Awards) for Best Newcomer. But after her album Ute Lemper Sings Kurt Weill became a huge success, her career took a dramatic turn.

“This was during the Cold War and two years before the fall of the Berlin wall,” Lemper says. “Thoughts of World War II were still alive, but at the same time Germans were looking toward the future. They needed and wanted to look back and see a more progressive time.”

Soon, Lemper was spending much more of her time on tour. One of her most “unbelievable moments” on tour came when she appeared in Tel-Aviv, before an appreciative and enthusiastic audience that included Holocaust survivors, many of whom were German speakers who remembered Kurt Weill and the Weimer Republic.

Eventually, thanks to the album, people began calling Lemper “the new Marlene Dietrich.” Lemper found this so embarrassing she wrote Dietrich a letter of apology. After receiving the letter, Dietrich, who at the time was living in Paris as a recluse, called her by phone. Their conversation lasted three hours.

It took thirty years for Lemper to have the maturity to “truly empathize” with Dietrich. But eventually, that “long, intense phone call” (plus a bit of research) became the basis for her Rendezvous with Marlene, which Lemper calls a play with music.

Lemper found Dietrich somewhat “sad and bitter.” During World War II, Dietrich, who had refused to make films for the Third Reich, became an American citizen, sold war bonds and entertained American troops. In 1960, when she returned to Germany on a concert tour many people called her “traitor.”

According to Lemper, Dietrich not only talked about the “complicated story” of her life; she also revealed a few secrets. Thus, Lemper was able to “go into Marlene’s brain” exploring not only her career but also her personal life, through both dialogue and Dietrich’s iconic songs, from Berlin cabaret to Bacharach collaborations.

But Rendezvous with Marlene is, in many ways, as much Lemper’s story as it is Dietrich’s. Lemper regards bringing back the music of Berlin cabaret as her personal mission. She considers this effort even more important these days as right-wing populist governments threaten democracy in the United States and abroad.

Lemper believes the seeds the Nazis sewed in the last century are sprouting today in these governments. But she also hopes Dietrich can provide us with a role model of moral courage.

“Marlene Dietrich is not only contemporary,” Lemper says. “She’s a woman of the future. She was bisexual and gender challenging. She had an open marriage. She took a moral stand.”

Click here for the full article online, including a video promo.