Ute Lemper is touring Europe with her cabaret programme which includes material by that most political of theatre writers, Bertolt Brecht.
Lemper herself has always been outspoken about her views, upsetting much of the German establishment along the way. The mix of her native German tongue, with almost perfect English and French, might have made her the European par excellence, yet she has chosen to make her home in New York.
She talked to Italy's Corriere della Sera about how she views Europe from the other side of the pond.
I was always for the creation of a single political body capable of helping Europe go forward, but I think it's extremely difficult for nations with such diverse values and culture to live together under the same roof.
So what about Angela Merkel – does she like her?
No. Behind that housewifey appearance is a woman closely linked with bureaucracy and a conservative vision of the world, as was her mentor Helmut Kohl, who I liked even less.
So, living in New York, does she miss Europe?
Yes, in fact I return often to the old continent. But I am a free spirit and so New York is the perfect city for me.
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano') about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman's Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia' column for Dancing Times magazine.