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