14.02.2020,Zagreb,KD Lisinski – Koncert kabaret dive Ute Lemper i zagrebackog filharmonijskog orkestra pod dirigentom Robertom Farkasem.
Photo: Jurica Galoic/PIXSELL

Publication: Glazbeni.info
Date: February 14, 2020

Svakom svojom gestom, svakom izvedbom, jedinstvenim načinom na koji je, ovoga petka 14.2. u Off ciklusu Zagrebačke filharmonije, vodila publiku kroz svoje uzbudljive i privlačne, bogate i raznolike umjetničke svjetove, Ute Lemper opravdala je naslov koncerta i potvrdila da je umjetnica svjetskoga sjaja.

Bila je jednostavno – diva!

14.02.2020,Zagreb,KD Lisinski – Koncert kabaret dive Ute Lemper i zagrebackog filharmonijskog orkestra pod dirigentom Robertom Farkasem.
Photo: Jurica Galoic/PIXSELL

Osvojila je pozornicu i pomela sve pred sobom, svojom pojavom, scenskim nastupom, savršenom dikcijom, bijelom i crvenom toaletom koje je zamijenila na polovici koncerta, svojim prvorazrednim umijećem glume, pjeva i pokreta kojim je prelazila s pjesme na pjesmu, iz žanra u žanr, stvarajući čaroliju glazbenog teatra, onakvu kakvu mogu stvoriti samo najveći.

A Ute Lemper jedna je od njih!

Izborom programa, kao i konferansom između pojedinih brojeva, provela je publiku Off ciklusaglazbenim centrima svijeta, od newyorškoga Broadwaya do berlinskog kabareta i od londonskoga West Enda do pariškog Montmartrea. Bilo je to putovanje kroz njezinu vlastitu karijeru i prošlost, ali i kroz karijere velikih umjetnika s kojima su je dovodili u vezu, s kojima je bila u kontaktu ili im se i sama divila.

Večer s daškom glamura nije prošla bez Marlene Dietrich, dive s kojom su je često uspoređivali, ali ni bez Edith Piaf, Jacquesa Brela, Boba Dylana, Kurta Weilla i mnogih drugih. Na ukusno osvijetljenoj sceni, uz Zagrebačku filharmoniju pod vodstvom maestra Roberta Farkasa, bila je to mala škola scenske umjetnosti i velika predstava života, koju nam je na dan zaljubljenih darovala Ute Lemper – jednostavno diva!

Putovanje s Ute zaključeno je dugim pljeskom i s čak dva dodatka, a ovosezonsko putovanje Off ciklusa nastavlja se uskoro, već 6.3. kada će u dvorani Lisinski nastupiti umjetnik kojega u Zagrebu ne treba posebno predstavljati, veliki slovenski kantautor Zoran Predin.

Koncert najavljuje kao jedan od vrhunaca svoje karijere, nazvao ga je, prigodno, “Počasni krug”, s nestrpljenjem ga iščekuje, stoga: Isključite probleme i 6.3. ponovno uključite glazbu.

Ne propustite Zorana Predina i Zagrebačku filharmoniju – samo u Off ciklusu!

Click here to read this review in the original publication

Photo: David Andrako

Publication: Southside Advertiser
Date: 8 February, 2020
By: Tom King

Ute Lemper with “Rendezvous with Marlene” at The Queen’s Hall Edinburgh tonight was one of those shows that when leaving you said to yourself, “I’m glad I was in the audience for this one”.  To be clear to anyone planning to see this show at one of its tour dates, this is not a standard Ute Lemper in concert show, but a very theatrical story celebrating in words, music and song the life of the legendary Marlene Dietrich.

This production is based on a 3-hour phone call between Dietrich and Ute Lemper in 1988 just after the papers announced that Ute Lemper was “The New Dietrich” and Ute had written a letter to Marlene.   Here we have a very powerful story of one legend, Marlene, in the solitary twilight years of her career and life touching the life of another artiste just beginning her own journey to international stardom.  The way that people and events over the years begin to interweave into each other between Marlene and Ute is a story in itself and one that continues long after Marlene Dietrich’s own death.  As Ute tells us at one point, it has taken her 33 years to feel that this is the right time to make this production and let Marlene speak again on stage, and as a one woman work of theatre, this is an outstanding performance from Ute.  This show was a rare chance to see an intimate, powerful and dramatic performer at her very best, one who can captivate an audience that is silently awaiting her next word or song.  Ute Lemper is not only a performer who understands the power of theatre, but the very power of the cabaret of the Weimar Republic that Marlene Dietrich emerged from.

I have to admit to having missed much of Marlene Dietrich as a live performance artist as I was always more aware of Marlene the film star, and my main memory of her is in one of her very late and very dramatic Hollywood movie roles – A Touch of Evil (1958 co-starring Orson Welles).  This show from Ute Lemper is really not concentrating on either the cabaret star or the film star, but the woman that was Marlene, and here we get a small glimpse of someone always prepared to stand up and be heard whenever she felt her voice was needed to speak out about injustice and intolerance anywhere that she saw it.  That voice made her at times hugely unpopular with many people, and during the years of Nazi rule in Germany, put her in a potentially very dangerous personal position.

“Rendezvous with Marlene” is a story that makes no attempt to gloss over or ignore the rise to power of Hitler and the German Nazi Party, or the forever infamous events that followed, including concentration camps and “The Final Solution”.  Here, it is clear that Ute is both following in Marlene’s footsteps, and the very traditions of German cabaret itself, to constantly challenge those in authority and hold them accountable for their actions.

What about the music though, how does that work in this production?  Well, as always, anything that Ute Lemper sings is going to be unique and full of power and passion, and that was obvious from the opening song – “Falling In Love Again”.  I am deliberately only going to mention a few of the songs in this show, and the reason for that is that so much of the power of these songs is in exactly where and in what context Ute has used them; here dialogue and song should not be viewed as separate things.  I’m giving no secrets away though in telling you that classic Ute Lemper performances of “Lili Marlene” and “Where Have All The Flowers Gone” are here.

For me though, the outstanding performance of the evening from Ute Lemper was a song that I know Marlene Dietrich performed, but one  that I always associate with Jacues Brel – his wonderful, “Ne me quitte pas”.  Here, when Ute sings this song, and when it is used in the show, is for me as good an example of any that the re-written, and for me far lighter,  story in the English language version of “If You Go Away” simply would not have had the power or emotional resonance needed for this moment.

If you missed “Rendezvous with Marlene”, try and catch up with the show somewhere on its tour and discover not only the presence of Ute Lemper as a performer, but what genuine cabaret, and not what we too often accept as modern cabaret, is capable of giving an audience, and how forcing us to look not only at our past, but our own actions can maybe prevent us making the same mistakes again.  Sadly though, nearly 100 years on now from the cabaret world of Marlene Dietrich, every intolerance of one person to another that Marlene was speaking out against seems not only to still be with us, but in danger of raising its head once more and building new walls.  The people in uniforms have just become people in smart suits, and their words of “divide and conquer” are all too still the same.  We still need people like Ute Lemper who are not prepared to look the other way and willing to stand up, be counted, and to speak out loudly against all injustice wherever she encounters it.

Click here to read on Southside Advertiser

Photo: David Andrako

Publication: ReviewSphere
Date: 9 February, 2020
By: Peter Callaghan

When an artist instructs her drummer to “pull the plug” you’d be forgiven for thinking that their gig is going south faster than Ruth Davidson’s taxi to the House of Lords. But Ute Lemper’s cry from the stage was in reference to an errant smoke machine which brought a blast of Storm Ciara in from the cold to fill The Queen’s Hall with a Hound of the Baskervilles mist.

Plug duly pulled (not to mention technicians duly eyeballed) it was back to business: the exceptional Lemper’s spellbinding homage to Marlene Dietrich inspired by a late-night phone call, over thirty years ago, between the rising star Lemper whose Moliere Award-winning performance as Sally Bowles earned her the title of “the new Marlene” and “a woman of the future” in the shape of the enigmatic Dietrich who had been holed up in her Paris apartment for over a decade.

The call itself prompted by Lemper’s letter to apologise for the comparison and thank her for being an inspiration.

Based on the titular “rendezvous”, which is given added spice by recollections from one of Dietrich’s legions of lovers (of both persuasions) film director Billy Wilder, and shaped by the reclusive star’s preference for asking rather than answering provocative questions, the show isn’t so much a conversation, more a one-way purging of the soul in which Dietrich not only reflects upon her life and career, but more importantly invites Lemper and the audience to never forget the horrors of war.

Pete Seeger’s Where Have All The Flowers Gone? and Bob Dylan’s The Answer, My Friend, Is Blowin’ In The Wind bookmarking the concert to perfection.

Having publicly renounced her German citizenship in revulsion at the rise of Nazism, Dietrich parked thoughts of killing Hitler with a poisoned hair needle in favour of supporting the Allied forces by “serving” under many a General. Not to mention politician, writer and movie star. Though Judy Garland proved true to her torch song in being The Man That Got Away.

The real (and perhaps only) love of her life to merit such a description, however, was the French actor Jean Gabin whose absence left her “nursing an empty space in my heart that I cannot fill.” As did her strained relationship with her daughter Maria Riva who later penned an unflattering memoir. Hence Lemper’s initial description of Dietrich as being “sad and bitter”.

Such personal and political strands intertwine to form the golden thread which runs through Lemper’s commanding performance as she owns the stage, the material and her instrument. Proving that her star qualities have not diminished since she shot to fame in the early 80s as a “young and stretchable” Grizabella in the original Vienna production of Cats.

Her performance, together with that of the band (Vana Gierig on piano, Cyril Garac on violin, Matthias Daneck on drums and Romain Lécuyer – when he emerged from the toilet – on bass), drew a standing ovation and many of the songs generated prolonged applause. However, Rendezvous With Marlene is not a typical biographical concert with a formulaic intro and number structure; more a series of dramatic monologues spliced with shards of songs which are so seamlessly bonded to the text that their passing often goes without acknowledgement.

Unlike Dietrich’s whose funeral was tarnished with stink bombs and civic memorials for whom were curtailed by death threats! In stark contrast to her current iconic status which like Lemper’s performance can best be described by the closing lyric of Friedrich Hollaender’s Black Market – “Enjoy my goods, for boy my goods are hot!”

Click here to read the article on ReviewSphere

Photo: Brigitte Dummer

Publication: Notes From The Field
Date: 5 February, 2020
By: Shane Morgan

Rendezvous with Marlene started with a letter. A young Ute Lemper exploded onto the French stage playing Sally Bowles in Cabaret – and the next day the French press proclaimed her “La nouvelle Marlene!”.

Filled with deference and more than a sprinkling of modesty, Lemper wrote a letter to the ailing and reclusive Dietrich to apologise for the renewed attention and, to Lemper’s humble mind, the unfair comparisons. A month later, Dietrich phoned an unsuspecting Lemper and from there, a three-hour conversation unfolded into a lifetime of respect, mirroring careers with a backdrop of political unrest and an unflinching passion for performance.

This beautiful tribute from one performer to another features that joyous style that will be recognised by fans of Ute’s work – with the added bonus of a beautifully constructed narrative based around this landmark phone call, chronicling Dietrich’s own story.

Photo by: Brigitte Dummer

Ute Lemper’s ‘Rendezvous with Marlene’ chronicles Marlene Dietrich’s colourful career – and the performer’s own friendship with the stage and screen icon. All pics: Brigitte Dummer

Opening to the strains of Falling in Love Again and navigating through the Dietrich canon (plus added material from Jacques Brel, Burt Bacharach and, most poignantly, Bob Dylan), Lemper peppers the piece with anecdotes as Marlene. Jean Cocteau once said of Dietrich that her name “starts with a caress and ends with a horse whip.” With this in mind, a rollercoaster ride is guaranteed.

Never domestic or throwaway, Dietrich’s conversations are always high stakes. From a telephone call to Mikhail (Gorbachev) to chew the fat over perestroika and his relationship with Ronald (Reagan) through to a bold return to her home country after being shunned for supporting the Americans during World War Two, Marlene Dietrich’s life story could add up to several full-length shows. Here, Lemper chooses the landmark events of Dietrich’s life, from leaving her homeland to joining the Americans on the front line through to living a reclusive life in Paris.

This isn’t simply an evening about an incredible woman. It isn’t, either, just an evening of beautiful songs performed by a world-class performer. This is a history lesson. A tale of division followed by unification. Opening on the eve of the United Kingdom leaving Europe, there is something bittersweet and powerful about hearing Lemper sing Dylan’s classic Blowin’ in the Wind.

Photo by: Brigitte Dummer

The director Billy Wilder called Marlene Dietrich “a heck of a guy to hang out with.” The dynamic pairing of Dietrich and Lemper make Rendezvous with Marlene an unforgettable evening: stylish, graceful, heart-warming and powerful. Beautifully complemented by Vana Gierig (piano), Romain Lecuyer (bass), Cyril Garac (violin) and Matthais Daneck (drums), this is an event not to be missed.

Rendezvous with Marlene was at St. George’s on January 30, and continues touring. For further tour dates, visit www.utelemper.com/shows

Originally published in Bristol 24/7

Alternative ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ 5 Star version published on Broadway World

Click here to read the article on Notes From The Field