Musical star Ute Lemper turns 50 | Music | DW | 05.07.2013
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Musical star Ute Lemper turns 50

The singer and actress is regarded as one of the best-known German artists in international show business. On July 4, 2013, the likeable diva celebrated her 50th birthday.

When Ute Lemper performs at a major venue in New York or Berlin, the glam factor is definitely at work. That's because the singer has that extra something: unique charm, flirtatious flair and a light, yet passionate style - combined with a sensual voice and an appearance that reminds some of the diva of all divas, Marlene Dietrich.

Around the world

Dancing and acting were always her passion - even if that didn't always suit her parents. But, reflects Lemper, who was born on July 4, 1963, in the city of Münster in western Germany, "I am not to be tamed, and I was really difficult as a teenager. When it comes to authority, I still have a pretty anarchic mentality."

She ended up turning her passion into her occupation, studying at the Institute for Stage Dancing in Cologne - now a part of the Cologne University of Music and Dance - and at the Max Reinhardt Seminar in Vienna.

Ute Lemper in Hamburg Photo: Carsten Rehder +++(c) dpa - Report+++

On stage in Hamburg, early in Lemper's career

Ute Lemper first became involved with film in 1985. One year later, she recorded her first album, featuring Lieder by Kurt Weill. She has since broadened her repertoire to include chansons and songs by Jacques Brel, Edith Piaf and Bertolt Brecht. "There's a real link between all of these worlds, and all of these worlds have also influenced my own life."

Passionate about musicals

Lemper is particularly interested in composers and lyricists of the great cabaret period - between 1920 and 1940. She also composes her own music and writes lyrics.

The artist hasn't just received rave reviews for singing on concert stages, but also for performing in musicals such as "Cats," "Starlight Express," "Peter Pan" and "Cabaret." Along the way, she has garnered fans of all ages.

"There are those who still know me from the early days - so they're the somewhat older generation," she says with a laugh. "And then it goes through the spectrum - even to the younger generation, people who are curious about who I might be."

Hollywood calling

Lemper performs on stage in a red boa Copyright: imago/UPI Photo

Cabaret songs are one of Lemper's specialities

But music isn’t her only passion. Her acting talents have taken her both to the stage, and to film. She played a hysterical femme fatale in the 1997 French thriller "Combat des fauves" (Wild Games), acted with Richard Chamberlain in "A River Made to Drown In" and played an ageing porno star in George Milton's 1998 thriller "Appetite."

Her latest film, "Deauville," a love story set at the end of World War II in the seaside resort town of the same name on France's Normandy coast, is due out in theaters at the beginning of 2014.

Recharging her batteries

Ute Lemper has received numerous awards for her performances on stage and in films, including America's Theater World Award. New York has long been her city of choice when it comes to work, though she performs in concerts and film productions and records albums around the world.

The stage artist loves her occupation, but she also loves taking a break.

"The great thing is coming home and leading a completely normal life, without all the back-and-forth and travel," says the busy performer, who is a mother of four. "It's nice to find peace and quiet at home. I can sit down at the piano and come up with new program ideas."

It's with her family that she celebrated her 50th birthday on July 4, 2013. Happy birthday, Ute!

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