International Superstar Sarah Brightman Interview

Sarah Brightman an international singing superstar, is the world’s biggest-selling Soprano. She pioneered the classical crossover music movement and is famed for possessing a vocal range of over 3 octaves. Sarah Brightman is the only artist to have simultaneously topped the Billboard dance and classical music charts. Her voice has rung out from theaters, arenas, cathedrals, world heritage centers, and Olympic stadiums, bringing to life some of the world’s most beautiful music. Sarah’s work transcends any specific musical genre, synthesizing many influences and inspirations into a unique sound and vision. Today, she remains among the world’s most prominent performers, with global sales of 30 million units having received more than 180 gold and platinum awards in over 40 countries.

Born and raised in Berkhamsted, England, Sarah began singing and dancing at the age of three.  She began her career as a member of the television dance troupe, Hot Gossip and released several successful disco hit singles as a solo performer. In 1981 Sarah made her West End musical theater debut in Cats and met composer Andrew Lloyd Webber. She went on to star in several Broadway musicals, including the world-renowned The Phantom of the Opera, where she originated the role of Christine Daaé. In 1987, the Original London Cast Album of the musical was released in CD format and sold over 40 million copies worldwide, making it the biggest-selling cast album of all time. After many successful years on the musical stage, Sarah decided to make a fresh start and resumed her music career with former Enigma co-producer Frank Peterson.

Their first release, Dive (1993), was a water-themed pop album that featured “Captain Nemo”, a cover of a song by the Swedish electronica band Dive. The album gave Sarah her first success as a solo recording artist and garnered a Gold award for exceptional international sales. Sarah and Frank’s second collaboration yielded the pop-rock album Fly which catapulted her to fame across Europe with its hit track “A Question of Honor” – a mélange of electronic, rock, classical strings and excerpts from the Alfredo Catalani opera “La Wally”… A subsequent single “Time to Say Goodbye” – which she performed as a duet with tenor Andrea Bocelli.  became an international success selling 12 million copies worldwide. Later albums including Eden (1998) La Luna (2000), Harem (2003) and Symphony (2008) all became chart-topping Billboard hits and were accompanied by live world tours.

How did the project “Royal Christmas Gala” started?

Frank Peterson attended one of my gala concerts where he proposed to create a joint Christmas gala because Christmas has always been our favorite time of the year. Shortly thereafter, we have started with the preparations for it and in a few weeks, the tour is already starting.

What plans and hopes do you have for this project?

We hope the Royal Christmas Gala will be a successful, multi-year project. Recurring in Europe, but maybe also the US and other countries.

As an artist, I experience Christmas so much that you go to a choir concert, as well as to modern or classical music. We, with our program, combine all these different genres into an evening program. You will experience something traditional with us, because we all love this time, but also modern technologies and show elements that have not existed before.

What is your personal favorite song, or your favorite part of the program?

I have no special favorites in the program. I value all the songs equally. Of course, there are songs that are harder to sing. But they also make a program more interesting and keep the tension alive.

You are an international superstar and have been on stage for around 30 years. Are you still nervous about an appearance?

Oh yes, of course. Every time! I have Alice (for my make-up) and Debby who regularly help me get it done on time and push me to get me into the right stage mood. So about 5 minutes before the performance, I start to gather and concentrate and when I hear the music from the stage, it becomes easier. I start all alone and the show can begin.

You have sung in the biggest arenas and concert halls around the world. Which appearance do you particularly like to remember and why?

There were some very memorable moments. But especially my appearance at the opening of the Olympic Games in China. It was incredibly impressive. Nobody knew what exactly would happen, it was kept very secret in advance. Only when I arrived in China, I gradually got all the information.

And I also like to remember my very first appearance in the “Met”. I sang a requiem at that time. A song from it will also appear in our Christmas show.

How really was, with your appearance in the “Met”?

An appearance for a singer is intimidating in the “Met” in New York. So I warmed up my voice at the hotel, grabbed my dress and walked to the opera to sort out my thoughts. Once there, I went straight into my wardrobe, changed and went on stage. The Requiem was danced by Alessandra Ferri and Mikhail Baryshnikov. Placido Domingo was on stage with me and the conductor was Lorin Marcel. That was an incredibly rounded show. That was a very intimate moment for me.

It ranges from the “Met” to the huge Olympic Games and much in between, with countless, beautiful memories.

How did the super hit “Time To Say Goodbye” change your life?

It did not change my life in that sense, but it hastened my career path. Whether that was good or bad, I’m not so sure, because I’ve just gone this way. I lived in Italy for 6 years before that and trained my voice in “belcanto”, gave smaller concerts and recorded in the studio with Frank Peterson over the weekend. When “Time To Say Goodbye” arrived, I was very happy, but I did not want my circumstances to change a lot because I enjoyed the life of a student. But I could not ignore it, because it was a true gift. My life then became more commercial again. But I already knew that from my time when I performed in musical. So it was not new to me. I started to travel the world and had a very successful time.

In addition to the world-famous duet with Andrea Bocelli, you sang with other superstars. Which one was your favorite?

Many years ago, I sang a duet with a British choirboy who had a voice like an angel. It was on the occasion of the unrest in Northern Ireland, where many children were killed. Director Stephen Frears shot a video about it. That was my favorite and most moving duet.

How do you like Vienna?

Vienna is beautiful, I love it. It’s such a special place. I have many nice memories of it.

Do you have a message for readers and viewers in Austria?

It’s beautiful for an artist to find joint projects. Especially those who appreciate the audience. I thank my fans and my audience for their loyalty over many years, which has allowed me to be on stage as an artist for so many years. I’m really looking forward to my return to Vienna and to the “Royal Christmas Gala” on the 23rd of December in the Wiener Stadthalle.

For more information, please visit: Sarah Brightman


Photo Credits: ©BA Management

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