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Ute Lemper/John Mauceri/RIAS Berlin Orchestra

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Biography

Ute Lemper (born July 4, 1963) is a German chanteuse and actress. Born in Münster, she graduated from the Dance Academy in Cologne and the Max Reinhardt Seminary Drama School in Vienna. At age 16, she joined the punk music group the Panama Drive Band.

Her diverse credits include musicals, such as her breakthrough role in the original Viennese cast of the Cats, the title role in Peter Pan, a recreation of the Marlene Dietrich-created Lola in The Blue Angel, the original European Sally Bowles in a Paris production of Cabaret, and the original London revival Velma Kelly in Chicago. She also dubbed the voice of Ariel in Disney’s The Little Mermaid for German audiences.

Lemper, named Billboard’s Crossover Artist of the Year for 1993/1994, is a prolific recording artist, appearing on numerous cast recordings and compilation concerts, including Roger Waters’ The Wall concert in 1990. As a solo artist, her extensive discography includes ubiquitously well-reviewed interpretations of Kurt Weill’s compositions from the late 1980s, in addition to German cabaret songs, which were very political songs sung in underground locations in 1930s Berlin and elsewhere. One disc of Lemper’s, Illusions from 1992, is devoted to the songs of Marlene Dietrich and Édith Piaf, an interpretive effort that would be widely panned if most artists were to pursue it but for which Lemper received rave reviews. She has numerous pop albums, variously in English, French, and German, and 2000’s lauded modern Punishing Kiss. Punishing Kiss featured songs written especially for her by the likes of Scott Walker, Elvis Costello, Philip Glass, and Neil Hannon, the latter of whom performed with her on two of the disc’s tracks.

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