My Favourite Things About Sarah Brightman
This Is a Review of Sarahs' "One Night In Eden Concert" Sarah Brightman
San Jose CPA, Tues. Sept. 14, 1999
Sarah Brightman is a vocal prodigy. Coming to fame early in the 1980s as the new find, and love, of theater genius Andrew Lloyd Webber, Sarah took off on her own wings and has carved a very popular niche for herself. Sarah can certainly sing, and sing she does in many different styles. Her forté has been in musicals, such as Cats and Phantom Of The Opera, but she has also covered such rock classics as Brian May's (of Queen) "Who Wants To Live Forever" and Kansas' "Dust In The Wind." The song she is most known for, "Time To Say Goodbye" has sold more worldwide than any other song ever. Currently, Sarah has been touring for her One Night In Eden show which displayed her songs in very colorful and interestingly designed theater setting.
The show opened with several characters in Celtic monk cloaks walking out with candles burning. They parted the red velvety curtain which showed Sarah laying on an elegant chaise lounge as Cleopatra. During "Who Wants To Live Forever" the set was lit as waves of clouds floated about the stage. The orchestra went into an instrumental before Sarah changed costumes and returned to sing several Spanish and Italian influenced songs. One of these was "Nella Fantasia" which was inspired by an instrumental soundtrack for the film, "The Mission", which Sarah had begged the composer to allow her to put lyrics to. The final song of the first set was "Nessun Dorma."
After the 20 minute break, Sarah returned on a stage now lit as an underwater ocean fantasy with the hint of dolphins swimming in the background as she launched into her "oceanic" set of two numbers - "La Mer" and "Dive/Captain Nemo". During the first number, Sarah was flown into the air as though swimming angelically beneath the waves. Then, upon the end of the song, the backdrop lowered as though the oceans receded downwards and the railing of a ship appeared as Sarah went into her rendition of the theme to Titanic, in Italian. Sarah also performed some of the songs for which she is best known as she sang "Phantom Suite: Twisted Every Way - Overture - Little Lottie" and "Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again" from Phantom Of The Opera as well as "Music Of The Night", before ending the second set. An encore was, of course, expected as Sarah returned to the stage to perform her final and most classic number, the appropriately titled "Time To Say Goodbye", which she sang flawlessly. Her accompanying musicians, which included orchestra, along with her dancers are to be applauded for laying the musical foundation for Sarah to work off of. After a rather loud musical overpowering of Sarah's voice in the first number, the vocals and music went on to layer themselves nicely within each other.
Although, arguably, perhaps a bit self-indulgent by some standards, Sarah Brightman is truly a work of art to be seen. Her voice seems to attach itself to any range as she controls it with perfection. Her beauty is effervescent as she performs in her young, sprite-like demeanor. Aside from just her magical voice, Sarah moves with the grace and agility of a fairie while maintaining the dignity of a princess.
At the completion of this tour, she is planning to take a sabbatical for an extended time before beginning work on a new CD which will contain her own penned tunes. That will be the true definer that will lock her into place in music history.
This is a Picture of Sarah and myself at The Toronto Concert!
Chris Mikula, The Ottawa Citizen / British singer Sarah Brightman's highly theatrical performance at the Corel Centre Friday night featured a five-piece band, a 17-piece orchestra and a 12-voice choir. The orchestra and the choir were all performers from the Ottawa area.
Chris Mikula, The Ottawa Citizen / Sarah Brightman has a wide-ranging body of work, from Phantom of the Opera show tunes, to classical compositions, to pop songs.
But after the British singer's concert at the Corel Centre's WordPerfect Theatre on Friday, that description doesn't do her full justice. It needs a few more qualifiers to capture her flair for theatrics, the operatic depth of her voice and her Cirque de Soleil acrobatics.
For Brightman did body flips while suspended in the air. She performed in front of a sheet of fireworks that looked like 100,000 cascading sparklers. There was a smoke machine, a confetti machine and a wind machine that rippled the fabric laid across the stage. The lighting was intricate; the set almost made you forget you were in a hockey arena.
And the costume changes. Brightman started out in a gothic dominatrix get-up of slit-up-to-there black leather and spike-heeled, knee-high boots that Cher would die for. Then she became a Celtic fairy princess in a see-through sequined ballgown skirt. Later, she wore an elegant white gown and then a see-through spider-web dress over hot pants. The only constant was a waist-length mass of ringlets topped by a twinkling tiara.
Detractors would criticize the petite, curvy entertainer for dressing up the stage (and herself) to make the music seem more substantial. But that kind of trick belongs to such artists as Britney Spears or Christina Aguilera -- someone trying to make a little go a long way.
Brightman, on the other hand, has a wide-ranging body of work, from her Phantom of the Opera show tunes to serious classical compositions to carefully selected pop songs. Her career has spanned almost a decade as a solo artist, plus a few years as a musical theatre performer.
Perhaps most impressive, even to ears unused to classical music, was the care and attention with which she performed classically flavoured material such as Pie Jesu and Dvorak's La Luna. They were not, for the most part, pumped up with rock instruments or dance beats. Yet her performance was rich in theatrics: At one point Brightman performed on the top of a tower, yards of flowing red fabric surrounding her and a halo of stars framing her head -- it was a chapter taken from the most elaborate of operas.
To my surprise, the pieces I was looking forward to -- '60s pop songs Scarborough Fair and A Whiter Shade of Pale --seemed to pale in comparison, as if Brightman knew she didn't have to work as hard to sing them.
In general, Brightman's voice was full, well-rounded and carefully enunciated, but it had a slightly unnatural quality, perhaps a result of the amplification system, or maybe her sore throat. Whatever the reason, it stole some of the crystalline purity of her soprano.
However, from my vantage point, the sonic balance between the five-piece band, 17-piece string orchestra, 12-voice choir and the star herself, was nearly flawless, although there were complaints from some fans in the upper reaches of the arena that the band and strings overpowered Brightman's voice. The choir and orchestra, by the way, made up of area professionals, were a big part of the show and performed admirably.
Least appealing was the impression that Brightman was playing a role throughout the concert. There was no sense of her real personality as she gazed upward into the middle distance, smiled as if enraptured by the music and spread her arms.
The most insincere moment came during There For Me, a duet with a man who was not introduced, and who seemed stiff on stage. Brightman, however, gave the faceless tenor a radiant smile, as if filled with love, and a tender hug at the end of the song. How corny.
She made even less of an attempt to connect with the audience members, only speaking to welcome them and, two hours later, let them know the last song was coming (before she came back for a standing ovation and three encores).
Despite the empty seats in the third level, attendance was more than enough to count as a sellout for the WordPerfect Theatre (usually the third level is blocked off in the theatre configuration).
About 5,700 adult admirers, ranging from well-dressed urban professionals to well-dressed retirees -- with an occasional music student in the mix -- lapped up the first performance on Brightman's extensive North American tour to promote her new La Luna album.
To borrow a phrase from one of Brightman's signature Phantom of the Opera songs, they went for the power of the music of the night -- and came away amused by its sweeping special effects.
My Favourite Sarah Brightman Sites
Elden's Premier Sarah Brightman Page
The Official Unofficial
Intimate River's Enigmatic Sarah Site
Official SARAH BRIGHTMAN
Amlet's piece of the web
Jos van Geffen's Sarah Brightman page
The Temple of Sarah Brightman!
Tafkat's Sarah Brightman Shrine
Nick's Sarah Brightman page