A few weeks ago with Buddha's birthday falling on a Monday it was a long weekend in Korea. At first I had the intention to make use of the opportunity and travel somewhere. Then, however, I saw some coming performances that I really wanted to see. Looking at my budget I decided it would be better if I choose either to travel, or to go to the performances. I decided on the latter. Last night I went to see the first performance I looked forward to.
I went to see the exquisite Ute Lemper -- a German artist, actress and cabaret / jazz vocalist -- perform her international-flavoured cabaret "Last Tango in Berlin". Lemper is a contralto, but let not this fool you to think that she cannot take on high notes. Her range is quite amazing.
"Last Tango in Berlin" is a cabaret style production about a chanteuse (female singer) named Jenny that travels the world (Germany, France and South America), spending her nights as an entertainer for sailors and soldiers. (Read a Huffington Post review here.) The production combines some of the great cabaret and jazz classics, from Kurt Weill, Jacques Brell, and Edith Piaf to numbers from musicals such as "Chicago". Lemper mixes English, German, French and Spanish sounds, into a multi-cultural musical extravaganza, yet the performance stays elegantly simple as there are only two accompaniments: Vana Gierig on piano and Tito Castro on bandoneón. The title "Last Tango in Berlin" is of course a play on the title of the controversial Bernardo Bertolucci film, "Last Tango in Paris".
While watching the performance I became aware of one recurring thought that visited my mind every so often: I was thinking how blessed I am to be able to experience a show of this calibre. Where I'm from I hardly ever had the opportunity to see international artists like Ute Lemper, but living here in Seoul I've seen some of extraordinary shows and attended amazing art exhibits -- things I would not have experienced in South Africa. I feel blessed to have this opportunity.