Articles and news related to live appearances

Publication: Broadway World
By: Sharon Ellman
Date: February 11, 2024

As if a troubadour of old, Ute Lemper takes us on a historical journey through song

Stepping into Carnegie Hall’s presentation of Ute Lemper, WEIMAR BERLIN AND AFTER THE EXODUS on February 9, 2024 was as if leaping into the distant past. The show, part of a festival of Fall of The Weimar Republic: Dancing on the Precipice, delves into the arts and culture of this short yet important period in the world of innovative art and culture. As if a troubadour of old, the star of the show, Ute Lemper took the filled audience on a journey through song.  Theatergoers voyaged through the story of German post World War I economic hardship, coming into the sunshine of freedom, democracy, capitalistic decadence and finally devoured by the darkness of Hitler’s Nazi regime.

Lemper narrates as she moves musically from the economic poverty of the uncontrolled inflation of the German economy in post World War I. Along with her band, Vana Gierig (piano), Matthew Parrish (Bass), Todd Turkisher (Drums) and Cyrus Beroukhim (violin) she enters the stage, immersed within the center of the audience, dressed as impoverished street musicians to begin the story of the poverty and out of control hyperinflation which overwhelmed German lives in 1923.

The audience is then joyfully carried into 1924 when the creation of the Reichsmark stabilizes the inflation and Germans begin a life of fun.  “Divine decadence”, as Sally Bowles declared in Cabaret, was merely the icing on the Weimar cake.  Fun, frolic and morality all vied for the spotlight now. Lemper’s intense and emotionally powerful vocals brought us from the self indulgence of the decade onward with her renditions of “The Ballad of Mack The Knife” and “Life’s a Swindle” to “Pirate Jenny.” Channeling Marlene Dietrich, the songstress oozed the famed seductive screen siren’s androgynous sex appeal that marked a revolution during the Weimar period.  Lemper’s low and sultry English as well German language performances of “Just a Gigolo”, “Sex Appeal” and “Ich bin die fesche Lola” displayed the overtly sexual culture that had evolved in the freedom of society that was the late 20’s and early 30’s in Germany.  She aptly referred to this time as “dancing on the edge of the volcano.”

But by 1933 onward, all civilian rights and the independence of individuals to live their lives as they wished was slowly but surely curtailed by Hitler and the Nazi Party.  Ute Lemper  portrayed the music of those that ran into exile, like composer Hanns Eisler as well as the other composers, artists, singers, poets and writers who despite remaining hopeful were doomed to the ghettos and concentration camps that foretold death.

Throughout the performance, the fair-haired chanteuse changed costume from drab street musician attire, to black gown, jumpsuit, sexy red evening attire and ending with a long black somber covering jacket all while remaining on the stage – unbelievably peeling off one outfit after another.   Her physical transformation was like that of a chameleon adapting to its environment – each time clad in clothing that represented the ensuing change of political and hence cultural attitude.   From her appearance, we saw the Weimar Republic begin its rise from the ashes of the horrors of World War I, peak in cultural and societal openness and then just as swiftly crumbled due to the destruction of the country’s democratic government.

This reviewer was overwhelmed by the emotionally intense performance that was Ute Lemper, WEIMAR BERLIN AND AFTER THE EXODUS.  Using the music of the time as the conduit, Ute Lemperweaved a tale that began in darkness, became a  pinnacle of creative light and then succumbed to the murky depths of destruction nearly a century ago.  This very unusual cabaret production was much an homage to what could have been and what should have been if it had not been destroyed by the Nazis. Ute Lemper, WEIMAR BERLIN AND AFTER THE EXODUS featured the renowned singer Ute Lemper, with her band consisting of Vana Gierig (piano), Matthew Parrish (Bass), Todd Turkisher (Drums) and Cyrus Beroukhim (violin).

Find great shows to see on the Carnegie Hall website HERE.

Excuse Us, Ms. Lemper… Your Weimar Is Showing

Publication: Broadway World Cabaret
by: Bobby Patrick
Date: Mar. 29, 2023

Ute Lemper at 54Below in NYC, photo by Bobby Patrick
Ute Lemper at 54Below in NYC, photo by Bobby Patrick

Heigh-Ho, My Merry Rainbow Tribe! Bobby Patrick your RAINBOW Reviewer here. Grabbing that silent T in cabareT to bring you all the Tea!

Last Saturday’s 7 PM show at 54 Below finally had your favorite cabaret reviewer in the same room with the legendary Lemper… Ute Lemper brought her LILI MARLEEN – FROM WEIMAR TO THERESIENSTADT to where it truly belongs – Under the street. The culture of Weimar that grew in Germany between 1918 & 1933 was truly an underground revolution that was key to how and why the ’20s roared in that part of Europe. All good things must come to an end, especially when Nazis crash the party, and the all-too-short decade and a half that was the halcyon days of that era of freedom gave way to the ultimate oppressors. These days we have a few creative souls dedicated to keeping Weimar alive in small pockets of performing venues in NYC and a few other large cities. Young Kim David Smith and even younger Artemisia LeFay are shining examples of Gen Z’ers who embrace, rather than ignore or even repudiate, our creative pasts. The expressionism of Weimar also lives on in Ute Lemper, whose Kabarett performance Saturday night was painted in the stark shades of bright white, sharply punctuated with shafts of black throughout. Her Haunting opening mashup of Philip Glass’s STREETS OF BERLIN with Weill & Brecht’s ALABAMA SONG & BILBAO SONG perfectly evoked the Weimar dames like Marlene Dietrich and Lotte Lenya. Oh, those growled R’s and her eyes that see only what she needs to see, all the while mining diamonds and hot coals from her voice box, an instrument that yields a belting mezzo with a solid alto crossover. The audience is essential to her, as is the drama of a ’20s that really roared.

Recalling the dark times of then and now, Lemper’s voice is a wail for society, with A-tonal disturbances that cry out for free speech and expression, then, suddenly, some major chords and “pretty” intervals are dropped in, quite unexpectedly. Ute goes from pretty to thrilling and back again, as she tells stories that walk through the days before and during WWII. Telling the gut-wrenching story of Ilsa Weber, and then giving an equally moving rendition of the lady’s song about the concentration camp THERESIENSTADT (the camp for artists and musicians, before being sent to Auschwitz) left all open-mouthed with a mixture of loss and admiration for Weber and her words. With perfect support from Vana Gierig on piano, and Cyrus Beroukhim on violin, Ute was able to ride their waves of music, which were always filling but never overfilling the space, allowing their star to dominate. One comes to an understanding, at Lemper’s hands, that the realities of German society before… you know who… was that of a culture in flux from what it had been, under a harsh nobility, through a time of unprecedented freedom of expression and speech. It was a joyous time… until it wasn’t, and what the Lady Lemper creates with her show is THEATRE, my lambs.

Ute Lemper at 54Below in NYC, photo by Bobby Patrick
Ute Lemper at 54Below in NYC, photo by Bobby Patrick

Another highlight of Lemper’s show was her title song LILI MARLEEN, a tune Herman Göring called “Kitsch with the smell of corpses.” In her talkie bits around the number, Ute told of how the song became Marlene Detrich’s theme and that she went on to sing it in public and on several albums. In 1939, Marlene became a devoted American citizen with such a distaste for Adolf that she even entertained thoughts of getting close enough to him to kill him during an invited visit to Germany, a plan she later thought better of. Marlene’s patriotism for her adopted country meant she was barred from Germany’s shores for years. Brilliantly recreating the moment of Dietrich’s triumphant return for a UNICEF GALA in the ’60s La Lemper touched every heart in the house with Pete Seger’s WHERE HAVE ALL THE FLOWERS GONE as her finale for the night and, despite the rousing standing ovation and calls for MORE, there was no encore, leaving us all wanting that more.

Embracing, as she does, the stark expressionism of Weimar and the darker stories of Jewish oppression, Lemper’s show is one of the most uplifting pieces of theatre we have seen in a while. Her performance of each song and of her spontaneously spoken script took the room back, gave us a modern perspective on songs that were never silenced, no matter the highs and lows of life, and rang out with the catchphrase of the Kabarett In Exile formed briefly by Brecht and Eisler, “We’re Not afraid to be queer and different.”

In the end, through her sense of drama and the music of Holleander, Spoliansky, Brecht, and, yes, even Seger, Ute Lember built a smokey, dimly lit, and incredibly exciting Kabarett room under 54th Street. She let light shine in controlled measures and painted in the shadows as she sang, and, for all of that, we give LILI MARLEEN – FROM WEIMAR TO THERESIENSTADT At 54 Below a resounding…5 Out Of 5 Rainbows

Ute Lemper at 54Below in NYC, photo by Bobby Patrick
Ute Lemper at 54Below in NYC, photo by Bobby Patrick

We Could Only Wish That The Lady Had More NYC Performances Scheduled This Month, But Do Keep Up With Her Calendar: HERE

Read, My Boss, Stephen Mosher’s Review Of The Lady’s RENDEZVOUS WITH MARLENE: HERE

All Photos By Yours Truly, Bobby Patrick

Click HERE to read see review along with more fabulous photos from the performance by Bobby, on the Broadway World site.


Publication: Westfälische Nachrichten
Date: Dienstag, 5.10.2021

Foto: Steffen Thalemann

Deutschlandpremiere von „Songs for Eternity“

Ute Lemper gastiert im Theater Münster mit ihrem Programm „Songs for Eternity“

2015 trat Ute Lemper bei einer Gedenkveranstaltung anlässlich des 70. Jahrestages der Befreiung des Vernichtungslagers Auschwitz auf. Im selbem Jahr lernte die in New York lebende Sängerin den Pianisten, Komponisten und Musikwissenschaftler Francesco Lotoro kennen. Der Italiener forscht zu Musik, die in Konzentrationslagern und Ghettos entstand. Einige tausend Musikstücke und Lieder hat er wiederentdeckt, archiviert und eingespielt.

Lieder und Schicksale nicht vergessen

So entstand für Ute Lemper die Dringlichkeit, aus dem gesammelten Liedgut ein Programm zu erstellen. „Für mich als Nachkriegsdeutsche ist es wichtiges Anliegen – ich fühle mich in der Verantwortung, das Material dem Publikum zugänglich zu machen, so dass die Lieder und die damit verbundenen Schicksale nicht in Vergessenheit geraten.“ Ute Lemper singt auf Deutsch und Jiddisch.

Die Deutschlandpremiere des Programms „Songs for Eternity“ im Rahmen der 30. Jüdischen Kulturtage enthält Stücke, die zwischen 1941 und 1944 von jüdischen Gefangenen in den Konzentrationslagern und Ghettos entstanden. Unter ihnen befanden sich renommierte Komponisten wie Viktor Ullman und Willy Rosen.

Wiegen- und Kinderlieder sollten Trost spenden

Ilse Weber hingegen war eine bekannte Autorin, die in Theresienstadt als Kinderkrankenschwester arbeitete und ihre eigenen Gedichte vertonte. Bei einem Großteil der Songs handelt es sich um Wiegen- und Kinderlieder, die Trost spenden sollten. „Einige Stücke wurden gesungen, während die Häftlinge ewig in der Schlange bei der Essensausgabe warteten oder in den Zügen, wenn die Menschen erneut deportiert wurden“, erklärt Ute Lemper den Hintergrund. „Andere hielten traumatische Erlebnisse fest, beispielsweise den systematischen Mord an Kindern in den Ghettos.“ Die Grausamkeit und alltägliche Präsenz der Gewalt in einem vermeintlich zivilisierten Land ist für Lemper ein Gräuel.

„Es ist unbegreiflich, wie eine komplette Nation die Barbarei unterstützte. Die Rechtfertigung, man habe nichts mitbekommen, ist für mich nicht akzeptabel.“ Umso wichtiger erscheint es Ute Lemper, Menschen zu sensibilisieren, ihre Empathiefähigkeit zu stärken. Dies könne und müsse Kunst leisten, gerade vor dem Wiedererstarken von reaktionärem und völkischem Gedankengut.

Tickets gibt an der Theaterkasse oder online.

View this article online here.

Publication: Berliner Morgenpost – Bühnen
Date: September 2021
By: Ronald Klein

Ute Lemper rekonstruiert im Wintergarten ihr Telefonat mit Marlene Dietrich.

Es gibt Momente im Leben, die man nicht vergisst. Für Ute Lemper handelt es sich um ein Telefonat aus dem Jahr 1987. „Ich war noch nicht lange in Paris, wo ich die Sally Bowles in ,Cabaret‘ spielte“, erinnert sich die Sängerin, Schauspielerin und Autorin. „Eines Abends kam ich nach der Vorstellung an die Rezeption meines Hotels. Mir wurde eine Notiz übergeben, dass eine gewisse Marlene Dietrich angerufen hätte und sie es in zehn Minuten noch einmal probieren würde.“ Ute Lemper hastete in ihr Zimmer, pünktlich klingelte das Telefon – diese Anekdote markiert den Auftakt des gleichermaßen eindrucksvollen und berührenden Stücks „Rendezvous mit Marlene“, das Ute Lemper für drei Tage in den Wintergarten führt. Der Abend basiert auf dem realen Gespräch der beiden…

Click here to read the full pdf article.