Ute Lemper - Blood & Feathers: Live from the Café Carlyle [DVD]

Ute Lemper - Blood & Feathers: Live from the Café Carlyle [DVD]
Genre: Vocal
Recording Date: February 24, 2005 & February 25, 2005
Artist: Ute Lemper
Album: Blood & Feathers: Live from the Café Carlyle [DVD]
Release Date: November 8, 2005
Recording Location: Cafe Carlyle
Styles: Cabaret

On her albums and in stage appearances in such musicals as Cabaret and Chicago, Ute Lemper comes across as a throwback to Weimar Germany, able to re-create the sound and feel of Marlene Dietrich, Lotte Lenya, and Edith Piaf (not to mention such fictional characters as Cabaret's Sally Bowles and Chicago's Velma Kelly) for modern audiences. In her cabaret act, which is captured on this video, that effect is accentuated all the more.

Lemper will switch from English to German as she goes from one verse of a song to another, that is, when she isn't singing the whole song in French. And she will mix up her influences freely, for example introducing a medley of songs from Cabaret and, in the middle of it, veering off into a rendition of "Mack the Knife." What keeps all this from seeming schizophrenic, of course, is that all of this material is similar. In particular, John Kander and Fred Ebb, the songwriters of Cabaret (and of Chicago, for that matter), write in a style distinctly reminiscent of Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht, authors of "Mack the Knife" and the rest of The Threepenny Opera, and Cabaret is set in the same Weimar Germany that produced Weill and Brecht. So, it's all in the family, in a sense, and Piaf's style is not far removed, either. It's only when Lemper strays from this mood of decadent interwar Europe that she seems on less firm ground, notably in an over the top reading of Stephen Sondheim's "The Ladies Who Lunch," which she is not, perhaps, ready to tackle quite yet. She is a highly visual performer, mugging furiously and interacting with the tiny audience at the tony Café Carlyle on Manhattan's Upper East Side. But she is done no favors by director Curt Faudon's questionable decision to intercut two different performances, one in color and the other in black-and-white. It's obvious that the audio track was taken from the black-and-white show, because whenever Lemper is in color, she appears to be lip-syncing, her facial movements not quite matching the vocal.

This is distinctly distracting and takes away from what is otherwise a powerful act.

Title/ComposerPerformerTime
Pirate Jenny / Kurt WeillUte Lemper
Milord / Georges MoustakiUte Lemper
Blood and Feathers / Ute LemperUte Lemper
The Ladies Who Lunch / Stephen SondheimUte Lemper
Moon Medley: Bilbao Song/Moon Dance/Moon Over Bourbon Street/Moon ... / Harold Arlen / E.Y. "Yip" Harburg / Joni Mitchell / Van Morrison / Kurt WeillUte Lemper
Lili Marlene / Martin David / Norbert SchultzeUte Lemper
Muenchhausen/The Baron of the Lies / Friedrich HollaenderUte Lemper
Accordeoniste / Michel EmerUte Lemper
Cabaret Medley / Fred Ebb / John KanderUte Lemper
Surabaya Johnny / Kurt WeillUte Lemper
September Song / Maxwell Anderson / Kurt WeillUte Lemper

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