An Austrian chanteuse with a sparkle of her own will bring four divas to life in a Sunday afternoon performance that features signature music made famous by Judy Garland, Marlene Dietrich, Edith Piaf and Lotte Lenya.
Ute Gfrerer, a soprano who sings with one of the two major opera houses in Vienna, created the program about these four divas, both because they share both celebrity but also because these women also faced great pain and disappointment.
The songs primarily will be sung in English, but also will include some French and German because of the international nature of the divas who are subjects of the works
The cabaret type show will feature a band of seven musicians, including those accordion, violin, string bass, piano drums, trumpet, saxophone and clarinet.
And when the soprano speaks, her voice is filled with good cheer and laughter.
"The concert is about these four women who have been very famous in their time but who have personal struggles in their time and I want to present a picture of them for the audience so they know these women a little bit better," Gfrerer said in an interview this week. "There are things I want to convey about these women and I will use the songs to do this, and a little bit of talk. It will be a fun concert."
In preparation for her costume changes for each singer, Gfrerer has been foraging through vintage and consignment shops for her attire, including one with some sequins.
"That one is for Marlene Dietrich, she has a sparkly personality," said Gfrerer. "I've been hunting for costumes and accessories for weeks now."
Although she was born and raised in Austria, she received her education in the United States — in Los Angeles, where she lived five years while studying music.
She polished her skills in the opera houses in Germany and Austria before venturing out as a freelance performer. Gfrerer sings everything from opera to American standards. She has toured as a soloist through the USA, Japan, Russia, the Ukraine, Mexico and Guatemala.
She has had a singing career for 23 years, most recently performing for three months in Vienna, singing at the Volksoper in a production of "Die Blume von Hawaii," an operetta by Paul Abraham.
In July, she will sing at a Music Festival in Marseilles and next season she will be the Artist-in-Residence at the Kurt Weill Festival in Dessau, Germany. She has become one of the leading interpreters of the music of Kurt Weill (1900-1950).
In 2010, she dedicated part of her time to Polish Jewish composers who had thriving careers before World War II and who either did not survive the Holocaust or could not continue with their success afterwards.
Simon Laks was one of them, and she sang the part of the L'Hirondelle in a concert version of his opera "L'Hirondelle inattendue" at a concert in his honor in June 2010 in Warsaw, Poland.
The concert was broadcast on the radio and a CD production will follow. She recently recorded the role of Jenny in the "Threepenny Opera" with the BBC Orchestra.
Brian De Lorenzo, a Boston-based tenor, said he plans to attend the show.
When he first heard the Austrian singer at a soiree of vocal students, he thought to himself that he hoped she would perform in public so he could hear a full performance.
"She was really wonderful and I don't want to miss an opportunity to see her in concert," said De Lorenzo, whose name may be familiar to locals because he played the role of Bob Cratchit last year at North Shore Music Theater's "A Christmas Carol."
The soprano did a recent radio interview on the arts and entertainment program "Curtain Up" on North Shore 104.9 FM that will air on Sunday, May 15, at 9 a.m.
Some of the songs featured in the concert are "La vie en rose" and "Mon Dieu" by Piaf, and "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" and "For Me and My Gal" sung by Garland, as well as "Falling in Love Again" and "Nimm dich in acht vor blonden Fraun" sung by Dietrich. The costume changes will be accompanied by a instrumental Gershwin interlude.
She will close with songs sung by Lotte Lenya, who was married to Weill, including "Stranger here Myself," "My Ship" and "Saga of Jenny."
Gail McCarthy can be reached at 978-283-7000 x3445, or at gmccarthy@gloucestertimes com.
If you go
Who: Austrian soprano Ute Gfrerer and a seven-piece band perform a program "Lives in the Limelight" featuring music made famous by Judy Garland, Marlene Dietrich, Edith Piaf and Lotte Lenya.
When: Sunday, 5 p.m.
Where: Shalin Liu Performance Center, 37 Main St. in Rockport.
How much: Tickets are $18, $24, $32, and are available at www.rockportmusic.org or call 978-546-7391.