Berlin / Berlin

Berlin / Berlin – A Journey through Time and the Stories in between

“This German artist brings a depth of intelligence, a sense of history, a political and social awareness,
a knowing irony to her material few can match. She is the benchmark for singers.”

—West Australian Review

When Ute Lemper takes the stage, we are instantly transported to the fleeting moment of wild experimentation born of the short-lived progressive culture that bloomed in pre-war Germany. Songs by Weill, Brecht, Holländer, Spoliansky, and others, receive the passionate and acerbic interpretation that is Ms. Lemper’s signature style.

“I am very excited to take you to Berlin on this musical journey through time and history”, says Ute.

“Berlin has had so many faces and chapters through the years. This program leads you through the turbulent years of the Weimar Republic, its music, cabaret and political satire, from the ‘Three Penny Opera’ of Brecht/Weill, to the wild ‘Berlin Cabaret Songs’ by Holländer, Schwabach and Spoliansky.

After 1933 Eisler and Brecht had created a ‘Cabaret in the Exile’, that existed only in the not Nazi occupied territories and only for a very brief time. After 1938 everything was shut down and most of the artists were in exile or had been incarcerated in the ghettos and camps. The ‘Cabaret in the Exile’ presented a collection of highly political songs, including ‘The Water Wheel’ and ‘The Ballad of Marie Sanders’.

Following the timeline of history, I include some songs written in the Ghettos, especially Theresienstadt where the Jewish composers and poets were incarcerated.

The next chapter is equally haunting as it brings us to the utterly destroyed Berlin of 1946, with songs written for the movie ‘A Foreign Affair’. It was filmed in the ruins of Berlin. Marlene Dietrich sang these songs written by Friedrich Holländer in this movie directed by Billy Wilder.

I often thought that if the Nazis had not shattered the Culture of Weimar after 1933, the 60’s would already have happened in the 40’s, right there in Berlin!”

The program was presented in this format at the Metropolitan Museum in New York city on December 14, 2019.

“Ute Lemper : Weimar Holiday” –  OperaWire, January 2020