> The Thousand and One Lives of Ute Temper - A Trilingual Portrait [GPJ]: Classical CD Reviews- June2002 MusicWeb(UK)

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The Thousand and One Lives of Ute Lemper – A Trilingual Portrait (DVD)
Alles Schwindel
Ich bin ein Vamp
Mein Herr
Lili Marlene
Je ne t’aime pas
Oh Moon of Alabama
Mackie Messer
I want to buy some illusion
Parlez d’amour

Ute Lemper with various artists
Archive material recorded at various times and places


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I have to confess that I have never seen and heard Ute Lemper ‘live’, but have long admired her recordings of Weill and others. This DVD is the next best thing to experiencing her ‘in the flesh’ (so to speak), and makes for fascinating viewing and listening.

It opens with her rehearsing the musical ‘Chicago’, going through her song-and-dance routines, and talking about her career. The songs that follow show her range; Weill as you would expect, but also Michael Nyman and other contemporaries, as well as a great version of Lili Marlene. Her vocal style is, of course, highly personal, and, I find, can pall. There are tricks, or gimmicks if you want to be unkind, that can get a bit repetitive if you hear her sing a number of songs on the trot, as I found with her recent CD Illusions. But she is essentially a cabaret artist, a singer for whom movement, facial expression, the whole business of presentation is a vital part of the whole, and she is very watchable, with her sinuous figure and beautifully languid features.

There are also, between the music items, fairly lengthy interviews where she talks of her experiences of life, and her views on various contemporary trends, in the arts and elsewhere. This could be tedious, but it isn’t, because she is a genuinely interesting and thoughtful person. And I hadn’t realised that she is also a painter, one of some considerable ability as can be seen from the examples we are shown.

For admirers of this talented and intelligent ‘cross-over’ artist, this DVD will be informative as well as hugely enjoyable.

Gwyn Parry-Jones

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