Concert Review: Sarah Brightman

I took my wife to see Sarah Brightman last night in Glendale, AZ.  For those who do not recognize the name, she is most famous for playing Christine in Phantom of the Opera, which was essentially written for her by her husband at the time, Andrew Lloyd Weber.  She made an appearance at the recent Beijing Olympic opening ceremonies singing from on top of that big ball-thing.

Her solo career defies characterization.   The two concerts I have seen are a mix of pop/rock remixes (e.g. "Dust in the Wind", of all things),  new agey sounding stuff, opera, and Broadway.  A couple of notes on this concert:

  • Brightman seems to be a bit of a flake.  Her costumes can be downright loony  (think Bjork at the Academy Awards in the swan outfit).   Her stage backdrops all seem to be taken from 1970's Yes and Genesis album cover art.  Her staging is often odd, which leads to some numbers that are really cool and some that I found myself laughing out loud at  (the swimming sequence was cool, as was little Red Riding Hood in the forest).   It was like she was auditioning for her own show in Vegas.
  • In most shows she has one or two male tenors to sing duets with her.  This always tends to be the best part of the show.  She gets top talent here, and, like as not, if you see a guy singing with her this year he probably will be famous next year.  We saw a guy named Mario Frangoulis who was freaking amazing.
  • I really have to criticize the song selection.  Way too much new agey stuff that really didn't seem very challenging.  All I could think of on these songs was that her singing them was like driving the kid's carpool in a Ferrarri.  Because at the end of the day, with the right material, she has a really heart-stopping voice.  But only 3-4 songs really pushed the envelope.
  • Ian Random

    I love Sarah's voice, but I like the intensity when Nightwish recorded Phantom of Opera:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QoSIuaczGN0&feature=related

  • Swede

    I saw her once back in 2000 and the one song that she sang that was absolutely amazing was her version of Puccini's "Nessun Dorma". I have a very eclectic taste in music and love heavy metal as well as opera and this version was incredible. I have to agree though even when I saw her besides Nessun Dorma she sang a very good version of "Ava Maria" as well as "Time to Say Goodbye" the duet she made famous with Bocelli. But her newer stuff sounds way to much like Enya. If she would stick to pure Classical, she could really showcase her amazing range and versitility.

  • http://www.feralchild.net SSFC

    Love the voice as well, and also hate the song selection. Compare Brightman with Laurie Anderson, who has a voice about as weak as that of Bob Dylan or Randy Newman (both technically poor male singers), but gets wonderful results by way of good song selection and smart writing.

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