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Marlene Dietrich Performs in the Soviet Union

May 21, 1964 - Marlene Dietrich captivated her first Soviet audience tonight with a concert of songs that made her famous.

Nearly 1,500 persons were in Moscow’s Variety Theater, near the Kremlin, and gave the German-born international star a 15-minute standing ovation.

“I have loved you for a long time,” Miss Dietrich said in a curtain speech. “I have loved your writers, your composers, and your soul. I always say Russians have no lukewarm emotions; they are either very sad or very happy. I think I have a Russian soul myself.”

Although advance publicity to the Soviet press had referred to Miss Dietrich as “anti-fascist,” there was nothing overtly political about her program of 16 songs, which she performed in English, French, German, and Hebrew.

Several songs identified with her career aroused prolonged rhythmic clapping. This is the greatest sign of approval that a Soviet audience can bestow.

On stage with a Soviet band directed by her arranger and accompanist, Burt Bacharach, a New York songwriter, Miss Dietrich occupied only the second half of the evening, after the audience sat patiently through the first half featuring Soviet acrobats, tap dancers, and a male singer.

Although Miss Dietrich is known in the Soviet Union mainly through her role in the film “Witness for the Prosecution” and a few bootlegged records, she established instant rapport with her audience.

One of the hits of the evening was her poignant delivery of Pete Seeger’s antiwar song, “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” Mr. Seeger recently completed a successful tour of the Soviet Union as one of the first American folksingers to visit the country.



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