Ute Lemper. Steffen Thalemann photo.
One of the special events at this year’s inaugural Vancouver Opera Festival is a performance by Ute Lemper.
The 53-year-old singer, who lives in New York with her family, will perform her show Last Tango in Berlin May 4 at the Orpheum Theatre. With a bar stool, microphone, and trio (piano, bandonen, and bass), the multilingual song stylist delves into cabaret ballads by Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht, chansons by Jacques Brel and Edith Piaf, tangos by Argentine composer Astor Piazzolla, and other songs cherry-picked from her other current repertoires.
Reviewing the show in the New York Times, Stephen Holden described a 2013 performance as “a stream of consciousness in several languages, mostly German, French and English, in which Ms. Lemper interweaves songs, song fragments, personal reminiscences and social commentary into an impressionistic historical tapestry. Wearing a gleaming black cocktail dress, her eyes narrowed to slits, her sleek blonde head thrown back, she embodies the Marlene Dietrich archetype of a forbidding continental temptress who has seen it all.”
Here’s a partial transcription of our interview with the divine Ms. L.
Ute Lemper brings Last Tango in Berlin to the Vancouver Opera Festival