Ute Lemper to inaugurate “La Belle Époque” at Bogotá’s Teatro Mayor.

German singer and songwriter Ute Lemper/FILE
German singer and songwriter Ute Lemper/FILE

German singer and songwriter Ute Lemper will open the VI International Classical Music Festival of Bogotá with her extensive repertoire of cabaret songs, immortalized by the leading ladies of chanson, Edith Piaf and Marlene Dietrich. The festival, which takes place in various concert venues in Bogotá is dedicated to La Belle Époque, era in music history defined by composers Erik Satie, Claude Debussy, Lili Boulanger, Jules Massenet, César Franck, Camille Saint-Saëns, Gabriel Fauré and his pupil, Maurice Ravel.

With the debut in Colombia of Ute Lemper, her performance at Teatro Mayor marks a major milestone for a cultural center known for hosting leading vocalists, soloists, guest conductors, and orchestras in the world. Lemper’s presence on the main stage at Teatro Mayor anticipates the release of a new autobiography and album, both titled Die Zeit Reisende (“The Time Traveler”) later this year.

In a recent profile in Town&Country magazine, the 59-year-old recording artist is described by Renée Fleming as embodying the essence of cabaret tradition and style. “In her performances, she can create the whole milieu of a Weimar cabaret or a Parisian nightclub with a look, a gesture, or a vocal inflection.”

Recently released picture of Ute Lemper by Guido Harari.

The American soprano Renée Fleming will also perform at Teatro Mayor on June 14. The four-time Grammy winner will interpret works by Mozart, Donizetti and Strauss.

From Lemper’s early years performing in small concert venues throughout Europe, to reaching global audiences in London’s West End and hit-musical “Chicago” on Broadway, the singer’s over forty-year career also includes title roles in the films L’Autrichienne by Pierre Granier-Deferre; Prospero’s Books by British director Peter Greenaway; Prêt-à-Porter by Robert Altman; and Bogus by Norman Jewison. She has appeared on television in Rage/Outrage; The Dreyfus Affair (Arte); Tales from the Crypt (HBO); Ute Lemper Sings Kurt Weill (Bravo); Illusions (Granada); Songbook (Volker Scholendorff); The Wall (Rogers Waters) and The Look of Love (Gillian Lynn).

The recording artist with more than 30 CDs to her name mainly dedicates her concert tours to the theatrical show “Rendezvous with Marlene”, which is her homage to Marlene Dietrich and tells her true story in word and music. This show is hugely popular and performances are scheduled all over the world. The landmark album  features 20 of the most beloved songs that Marlene sang, but reinvented by Ute, her musicians and the beautiful sounding Viennese Orchestra.

Rendezvous with Marlene is based on a 3-hour phone call and exchange between Marlene Dietrich and Ute Lemper in 1988 in Paris, more than 30 years ago. After receiving the French Molière Award for her performance in “Cabaret” in Paris, Ute had sent a postcard to Marlene, who had lived at 12 Avenue de Montaigne since 1979, essentially apologizing for all the media attention comparing her to Marlene Dietrich. Ute was just at the beginning of her career in theatre and music, whereas Marlene looked back on a long, fulfilled life of movies, music, incredible collaborations, love stories and stardom.

Every year at the Anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, Ute performs multiple concerts of her program “Songs For Eternity” that focuses uniquely on the songs written by Jewish prisoners during the Holocaust. Songs For Eternity is dedicated to the songs created in the ghettos and concentration camps between 1942 and 1944. Ute researched, together with Francesco Lotoro and Orly Beigel, an unbelievable collection of songs written in the darkest moments of imprisoned life, facing inhumane cruelties, torture and death.

In “Forever”, the singer tributes Chilean poet Pablo Neruda. In 2011 and 2012, Ute toured with Ultimo Tango, presenting a journey through the songs of Astor Piazzolla, the fabulous Argentinian composer of Tango Nuevo. Ute sings in the original Spanish, but also created adaptations of the songs in German, French and English. Ute was nominated for a Grammy for her CD “Paris Days/Berlin Nights”. This semi-classical recording features songs between love and war composed by Hans Eisler, Kurt Weill, Jacques Brel, Edith Piaf and Astor Piazzolla, as well as folksongs in Yiddish and  Russian.

Ute was born in Münster, Germany, and completed her studies at The Dance Academy in Cologne and the Max Reinhardt Seminary Drama School in Vienna. She is represented by the prestigious DECCA label and lives in New York City with her four children, Max, Stella, Julian and Jonas.

Lemper’s inaugural concert, within the concert series Bogotá Es Francia, takes place on April 5 (8:30 pm) at Teatro Mayor. Tickets are available at the theatre’s box office or online at tuboleta.com

Teatro Mayor Julio Mario Santo Domingo. Ave/Calle 170 No.67-51.