Publication: New Jersey Jazz Society
Reviewer: Joe Lang
Date:

When she received much acclaim for her 1988 performance in the Paris staging of Cabaret, including some comparisons to Marlene Dietrich, German actress/singer UTE LEMPER felt embarrassed by this, and wrote a note to Dietrich apologizing for the comparison.  She received a phone call from Dietrich in return, and during their lengthy conversation, Dietrich recalled much of what had occurred in her life.  It was an occasion of great significance for Lemper.  A few years ago, Lemper created Rendezvous With Marlene (Jazzhaus – 184). This show, originally done as a cabaret performance, provided an overview of Dietrich’s life and career, with Lemper performing 20 songs associated with Dietrich.  I saw the show at the York Theater last year and greatly enjoyed it.  Lemper does an effective job of capturing the Dietrich persona, but also brings much of her own performing personality to the production.  She is an accomplished actress and singer, who moves easily between being herself and channeling Dietrich.  The recording contains only the musical portion of the show, but stands nicely on its own.  (utelemper.com)

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Publication: Süddeutsche Zeitung
Date: 19 April, 2020

Dessau-Roßlau/New York (dpa) – In Gedenken an die Befreiung der deutschen Konzentrationslager vor 75 Jahren gibt die international bekannte Musicalsängerin Ute Lemper am Dienstag ein Online-Konzert aus ihrem New Yorker Wohnzimmer. Das teilte am Sonntag das Kurt Weill Fest mit, das das Konzert am Dienstag (20.00 Uhr) auf seiner Facebook-Seite überträgt. Lemper werde bei dem Auftritt “Lieder der Rebellion, der Hoffnung und des Widerstands, die alle während des Holocausts geschrieben wurden” singen.

Der Auftritt ist Teil einer Konzertreihe der Carnegie Hall in New York, die für die Übertragung nach Europa mit dem Kurt Weill Fest kooperiert. Das Kurt Weill Fest musste in diesem Jahr wegen der Corona-Krise abgebrochen werden. Im vorigen Jahr hatte Lemper an dem 1990 ins Leben gerufenen jährlichen Festival zu Ehren des berühmten Komponisten teilgenommen. Kurt Weills Leben ist untrennbar mit dem Holocaust und den beiden Städten Dessau und New York verbunden: Er wurde 1900 in Dessau als Sohn eines jüdischen Kantors geboren.

Nach Regierungsantritt der Nazis floh er über Berlin und Paris in die USA. Am New Yorker Broadway wurde Weill mit seiner Musik zum Star. Er starb 1950 in New York. Auch Lemper spielte an der weltbekannten Musical-Meile in New York.

Festival-Intendant Jan Henric Bogen dankte Lemper und der Carnegie Hall für die gemeinsame Veranstaltung. “Es ist wunderbar, dass wir in diesen unsicheren Zeiten unserem Publikum etwas Trost und Zerstreuung durch Musik spenden können”, sagte Bogen. “Und wir freuen uns umso mehr darauf, wenn Musik-Erleben auch wieder gemeinsam im Konzertsaal möglich sein wird.”

Click here to read the article at Süddeutsche Zeitung online


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: 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