Press : ‘It’s my mission to sing songs written during Holocaust’

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Publication: Evening Standard
Tuesday 1 May 2018

Former West End star Ute Lemper is returning to London to perform songs written in concentration camps.

The star, 54, who won an Olivier award in 1998 for her role as Velma Kelly in Chicago, will sing songs in Yiddish written by people persecuted during the Holocaust.

Lemper, who was born in Germany to a Catholic family, made her name singing cabaret songs from the permissive Weimar Republic era, including some by Jewish composers who later fled the Nazis or became their victims.

She said: “I felt it was my mission to tell the story of those who were on the other side of the barbed wire. Thirty years ago I started singing the music that was banned by the Nazis.

“Those composers had to emigrate in the Thirties and there is the other side of the story — those who didn’t get out. It’s a personal mission to close the circle. It’s a very different concert. It’s a memorial concert reminding us of a difficult and complicated past.”

She feels the concert in West Hampstead, Songs For Eternity, is timely amid concerns that anti-Semitism is growing. “It’s everywhere — in Germany too there is an uprising in anti-semitism and we see it in France,” she said.

“It grows stronger and I find it absolutely appalling. People are still looking for the black sheep. It is certainly a good time to bring this concert to people.”

Songs For Eternity is at JW3 Finchley Road on May 22 at 7:30pm. Tickets are £28.

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