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Sarah Brightman


Country of origin:

England

Type of music generally:

Pop with rock/eastern/folk/country influences, show tunes

Status:

Most recent release, Rarities, Volumes 1-3 (digital compilation, 2015); most recent album of new material, Dreamchaser (2013)

See also:

The Official Website

Comparisons:

Judie Tzuke, Harriet Wheeler (from The Sundays)

Covers/own material:

Covers

General comments:

Sarah Brightman has a high, very precise voice. (jbr@casetech.dk)

Sarah Brightman was more than Lloyd Weber's protegée, she was his wife for many years—thus the reason she landed the role of Christine in Phantom of the Opera. And despite not having "a powerful enough voice", she led Phantom to be one of Weber's biggest success. She does not have the powerful voice that many Broadway singers have, but she does have a beautiful voice. A friend of mine saw her on her last U.S. tour and was blown away by it—it was quite the production—á la Madonna or Cher—with multiple costume changes, dancers, multi-level platforms, and lots of theatrics.
     Despite the production, my friend was equally blown away by her voice.
     If you want to hear Sarah at her most Kate Bush-like, check out her first non-Broadway album—Dive. But my favorite performance of hers is probably the duet with opera singer Jose Cura "There for Me"—I was disappointed that it didn't catch on as well as her duet with Andrea Bocelli from the same album, because I think it's a much better song and Cura has a much better voice (though I like Bocelli too—and it's appropriate they teamed together because Bocelli is often criticized as not being a great opera tenor—just as Brightman is being criticized as not being a Broadway star, even though the two of them are probably leading CD sales in their respective genres). (jjhanson@att.net)

When Sarah does less operatic material, like the Dive album or the song "Hijo De La Luna" on the new album, I think she sounds a lot like Kate Bush. (stuart@sph.emory.edu)

Comments about live performance:

I saw her a couple of weeks ago here in Atlanta. Over-the-top is the best description of the concert. Lots of costume changes, sets, dancers, and Sarah at one point flying over the stage. Sarah's voice was great. She belted out opera and then seamlessly switched to singing pop. Most of the new album was performed, along with all of her most popular back catalogue and the obligatory Phantom interlude. Some people might be put off by all the spectacle, but I was just entertained. (10/00, stuart@sph.emory.edu)

Recommended first album:

Dive, La Luna

Her many recordings include:

  • As I Came Of Age (1990)
  • Dive (1993)
  • Fly (1996)
  • Time to Say Goodbye (1997)
  • Eden (1999)
  • La Luna (2000)
  • Harem (2003)
  • Live From Las Vegas (live, 2004)
  • Love Changes (2005)
  • Diva: Singles Collection (compilation, 2006)
  • Symphony (2007)
  • A Winter Symphony (2008)
  • Symphony Live In Vienna (2009)
  • Dreamchaser (2013)
  • Rarities, Volumes 1-3 (digital compilation, 2015)

As I Came Of Age

Release info:

1990—Polydor (U.K.)—841-563-2

Ecto priority:

Low priority, worth checking though

Group members:

Sarah Brightman—vocals, backing vocals

Guest artists:

Peter Asher—tambourine, clave
Berton Averre—guitars, backing vocals
Robbie Buchanan—keyboards
Paul Buckmaster—string arranger
Rosemary Butler—backing vocals
David Cambell—string arranger
Dermot Crehan—concert master
David Cullen—string arranger
Arnold McCuller—backing vocals
Stuart Elliot—additional drums
Pavel Farkas—concert master
Mike Fisher—percussion
Val Garay—finger cymbals, tambourine
Bob Getter—bass, string bass
John Giblin—bass
Bob Glau—bass
Andrew Gold—acoustic guitar, electric guitar, electric 12 string guitars
Steve Goldstein—programmer, keyboards, percussion, special effects, grand piano, organ
Jimmy Haskell—string arranger
Russ Kunkel—drums
Michael Landau—electric guitars
Phil Palmer—acoustic guitars, electric guitars
Sid Sharp—concert master
Leland Sklar—bass
Carlos Vega—drums
Waddy Wachtel—acoustic guitar, electric guitar
Gavin Wright—concert master

Comments:

Very uneven album, some awful pop (the lyrics to "Good Morning Sunshine" takes the prize) but also some fairly interesting songs. (jbr@casetech.dk)

Aimee Mann wrote a song for Brightman called "Yesterdays" on As I Came of Age. The combination didn't work as well as Mann-performing-Mann, but quite interesting. (4dm@qlink.queensu.ca)


Dive

Release info:

1993—A&M—7502 834

Availability:

wide

Group members:

Sarah Brightman—vocals, backing vocals, keyboards

Guest artists:

Frank Peterson—keyboards, backing vocals
Matthais Meissner—keyboards
Michael Wehr—keyboards
Peter Weihe—guitars
Tom Leonhardt—additional guitars
Thomas Schwarz—additional guitars, backing vocals
Gunther Laudahn—additional guitars
Ben Huellenkremer—bass
Udo Dahmen—drums and percussion
Frank Peterson—drums and percussion
Gunther Laudahn—backing vocals
The Sisters of Oz—backing vocals
The London Community Gospel Choir—backing vocals
The A.L.W. Tour Ensemble—backing vocals

Produced by:

Frank Peterson with Sarah Brightman

Comments:

I realize a lot of people think Sarah is completely over-rated and I would have to agree, at least logically. But this album just sounds great, excellent production and I find it has rarely left my CD changer. Best however as background. If I listen too closely I realizer how poor most of the lyrics are, but I still love her voice, even though technically it could be better. (jjhanson@att.net)

You can't help but feel her power and beauty in her music. She is very poppy but unusual sounding. The ocean/sailor theme is a nice catch. Her music is powerful, seductive and very produced. (72064.3606@compuserve.com)

for my part i like Sarah Brightman's Dive quite a bit, especially a lot of the lyrics. especially all the verbal and aural n-way entendre in "Once In A Lifetime", and "The Second Element" always leaves me crying, although...this may have more to do with who gave me the album and when. yeah, i have to admit intense personal bias here. :) but the album *is* very watery, it's probably got a purer elemental feeling than any other album i own. after all, water is the second element, right? a little fire did sneak in there...i don't love the whole thing though...there are a couple songs on there i can't stand. (winona@mildh.pair.com)

Dive is, in my opinion, a mediocre album with a couple of great songs which is nearly ruined by the absolutely *wretched* "Johnny Wanna Live." The fact that Brightman chose to cover this piece of crap was bad enough, but when she tries to emote, one is hard pressed not to keel over from laughing. I'd also have to say that Brightman has a terribly weak voice and she's really straining to sing a number of the songs on Dive. Still, I do pull the album out occasionally, and enjoy a bunch of songs like "Captain Nemo," "When it Rains in America," and the diptych of "Cape Horn" and "A Salty Dog." At least I think those are the ones I really dig. And I really *do* burst out laughing when I hear "Johnny Wanna Live." (burka@jeffrey.net)


Fly

Release info:

1996 (Europe)

Availability:

Europe only—some U.S. stores carry it as an import

Ecto priority:

Recommended for fans of Sarah Brightman

Comments:

I totally missed this when it was released. It's sort of a pop theme album—akin to Dive. Has much less a classical flair than Time To Say Goodbye or Eden.
     However, I thought it would be of interest that she covers a song by Stina Nordenstam—"Murder in Mairyland Park". I haven't heard Stina's original version, but I imagine it to be fairly similar (perhaps minus the wankerish guitar solo). Her vocals sound quite similar to Stina's.
     I can't help but like Sarah Brightman's voice, and I find this more techno collection of music much more interesting than Eden.
     Anyway, it's a pretty interesting album. If you're into Sarah Brightman at all, it's worth checking out. It's got more bite than Dive did, but still tends to run to the overproduced sound you'd expect—still, it's quite catchy. (jjhanson@att.net)

Time to Say Goodbye

Release info:

1997—Angel—7243 5 56511 2 9

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Recommended for fans of more classical-styled music

Group members:

Sarah Brightman—vocals
The London Symphony Orchestra

Guest artists:

Michael Soltau—additional keyboards and programming
Peter Weihe—guitars
Andrea Bocelli—vocals
Jose Cura—vocals

Produced by:

Frank Peterson

Comments:

Definitely a departure from Dive, and from her Broadway work. This album will most likely be found in the classical section, and is recorded with The London Symphony. It is most similar to her duet with Jose Carerras for the 1992 Barcelona Games, "Amigos Para Sempre", as it includes several foreign or foreign/English language duets, "Time To Say Goodbye" with Andrea Bocelli, "There For Me" and "Just Show Me How to Love You" with Jose Cura. Also included is a cover of the Gipsy Kings' "Tu Quieres Volver". A few English tunes also appear, including a cover of Brian May's "Who Wants to Live Forever." It also includes a number of classical arias from composers ranging from Mozart to Orff. Sarah's voice shines in the duets and throughout the album. She seems to have gained significant confidence and this album does well to show off her beautiful breathy soprano. (jjhanson@att.net)

Eden

Release info:

1999

Availability:

Wide in Europe

Ecto priority:

Recommended for Sarah Brightman & pop fans

Comments:

I picked up Eden at the same time as Fly, which so far I like it better than Eden—mainly because I could have done without the Titanic theme song ("My Heart Will Go On"—at least it's done in Italian). (jjhanson@att.net)

another voice of wow! again is Sarah Brightman in eden, which i was not so sure about because i hardly have played time to say goodbye at all all all and i'm not sure even that i bought eden but well it was there anyway on my desk somehow so i have played it. (the reader at this point is wholly heartened to envisualize the Depths of Stuff which lie about the author's life. go wild, let slip the reins of imagination and let fall the lash, no danger is there of you getting even close to the Awful Truth.)
     but Sarah, Sarah, Sarahs, remember "Dear God"? do you, when Sarah McLachlan let slip the reins of *her* voice and we were laid waste, left quaking in the ruins? and having glimpsed and having survived that Angel of near-Death-experience you might never feel safe again, might never forget that the honey'd Voice, so warm and sweet, might open once again and devour you whole. dear god it's full of stars, and life is like that, we stand each alone at the edge but looking away from it to the safety of the middle. Sarah, i mean Brightman this time but it's true for both, can do this thing where you think she's just singing and la la la merrily along and suddenly her Voice opens and she turns you to face the edge and you're left there a brief eternity standing alone in the terror of the infinite and time stops or just is not there at all and then you're back facing the middle again, safe and warm and asleep. but once you've been awake it's not so easy to go back to sleep and you know that she's just singing la la la merrily along but you know too that sometime when you're just about to go back to sleep that Voice will turn you back to the edge and leave you staring down the infinite.
     and maybe this time, she'll push you in. (winona@mildh.pair.com)


La Luna

Release info:

2000

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Recommended for Sarah Brightman & pop fans

Comments:

I also like the new Sarah Brightman album—and personally think it's pretty cool that she covered Dido—I've always admired her cover choices. I like how she picks the songs she likes—not necessarily the ones that she "should" sing. I however, found her cover of "Scarborough Fair", pretty boring. But overall I'd rate the album better than Eden.
     And yes, at times, she does sound like Kate Bush. (jjhanson@att.net)

Even though I'm not a HUGE fan of Sarah Brightman she does have a great voice (just no emotion in it)...I bought La Luna and have to say there are three or four GREAT songs on it...the rest are either boring or...well, boring lol. The only thing that REALLY bothered me was her attempt to cover Dido's "Here With Me". WHAT WAS SHE THINKING??? hahaha! Not cool at all. But the album itself, it's cool for what it is I guess, I think she jumps around from style to style a little too much on an album. (RocketsTail@aol.com)

I was surprised how much I liked La Luna. I was also disappointed with the unimaginative cover of "Here With Me", but the album is good pop-operatic listening, in my opinion. I especially liked her version of "Gloomy Sunday"...she's done it at least as well as Sinéad O'Connor, Sarah McLachlan, and Heather Nova! Actually, Ms. Brightman reminded me a little of Kate Bush at some points, in a "And Dream of Sheep" way. Is that just wishful thinking, or does someone else agree? :) (excelsis@angelfire.com)

Sarah is poppy and a little overblown at times in her delivery, but I still love her. She has a very beautiful and angelic voice. I enjoy her selection of cover material and her interesting blend of pop and opera. She does it very well. Her version of "Scarborough Fair" is gorgeous. (wpm@value.net)


Symphony

Release info:

2008

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Sarah Brightman—vocals, keyboards, programming, background vocals

Guest artists:

London Symphony Orchestra
Eve Gunther Laudahn—background vocals
Peter Weihe—guitars
Roland Peil—percussion
Frank Peterson
Paul Bateman
Alex Grube—bass guitar
Amelia Brightman
Carsten Heusmann—keyboards, programming, background vocals
Curt Cress—drums
Michael Soltau—keyboards, programming
Matthias Meissner
Carolin Fortenbacher
Annie Skates
Crouch End Choir
James Fitzpatrick
Klaus Hirschburger
Kristian Draude
Metropolitan Voices
Mike Reed
Paul Stanley
Andrea Bocelli
Alessandro Safina
Fernando Lima

Produced by:

Frank Peterson, Carsten Heusmann

Comments:

This album is one I've continued to play all year. It's a pretty dramatic album, much better than the Christmas-themed Winter Symphony that came out later in the year that is sometimes annoyingly pop and sung too much in Sarah's upper register. And who'd have thought Sarah singing a duet with Paul Stanley of Kiss would actually be rather good? (jjhanson@att.net)

She promised to make a gothic metal album that'd piss off her record company, and her and Frank come out instead with this bland Il Divo-like potboiler. Out of all the genuinely interesting albums you've done—the weird and wonderful Fly, the lush Eden, the fragile and beautiful La Luna—hell, even the Enigma-fied pop of Dive—you choose to emulate your most boring one? (lotterose @ gmail . com)

Released way back in January, but definitely good enough to make it on the [best of 2008] list. I had some issues with the album at first. I'd love for the WHOLE album to sound like "Fleurs du Mal", which is a brilliant song. Instead, she gets into it and then basically says "Oh, just kidding!" and goes about doing typical songs you'd expect from her for the rest of the album. But it DOES show potential... I hope she lets her hair down and explores the rock/goth/grunge style of music more. Anyway, once I accepted that the whole album would not sound like that track, I was able to listen to it for what it is... turns out, there's a lot this album offers. Listen to the remarkable "Sanvean", for example. WOW, just wow. Or the wonderful, powerful duet with Paul Stanley, "I Will Be With You". "Let It Rain" is a great pop song, with great vocals from Sarah. The one fatal flaw this album has?? The absolutely SILLY "Sarai Qui"—which is Faith Hill's "There You'll Be" sung in another language. *rolls eyes* (lasherboy@gmail.com)


Thanks to John Sandoval and sspan for work on this entry.

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Entry last updated 2016-05-21 15:45:19.
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