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Sarah Brightman


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Sarah Brightman (born August 14, 1960) is an English classical crossover soprano, actress and dancer.

Brightman debuted as a dancer in troupes such as Hot Gossip and later released a string of disco singles. She achieved greater fame as a musical theatre performer and partner of theatre composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, with whom she originated several roles including Christine Daaé in The Phantom of the Opera. Her 1984 marriage to Lloyd Webber attracted active tabloid coverage. The couple divorced in 1990, ending her musical theatre career.

After her divorce, Brightman established a position as a crossover artist with former Enigma producer Frank Peterson. Her style, a blend of classical vocals and pop-inspired instrumentation and arrangement, earned her further success. To date, Brightman has received over 150 Gold and Platinum awards in 34 countries and is the only artist to hold #1 spots on the Billboard Classical and Dance charts simultaneously.

Music and voice

Brightman has undergone vocal training first with Elizabeth Hawes, head of the Trinity Music College in London, and later with Ellen Faul of Juilliard. She currently studies with internationally known voice teacher David Romano. She has a three-octave vocal range that extends to an E above Soprano C.

David Caddick, a conductor of Phantom, has stated:

"What is amazing about Sarah is that she has two voices, really. She can produce a pop, contemporary sound, but she can also blossom out into a light soprano. The soprano part of her voice can go up to an E natural above high C. She doesn’t sing it full out, but it is there. Of course, she has to dance while she is singing some of the time, so it’s all the more extraordinary."

She sometimes deploys both her pop and classical voices in the same song. One example is "Anytime, Anywhere" from Eden, a song based on Tomaso Albinoni's Adagio in G minor. In the song, she starts out in classical voice, switches to pop voice temporarily, and finishes with her classical voice.

Brightman's music is generally classified as classical crossover. In a 2000 interview with People, Brightman dismissed the label as "horrible" but stated she understood the need for categorization. Her music influences include 60s and 70s musicians and artists such as David Bowie and Pink Floyd, and she incorporates aspects of genres from pop/rock to classical and contemporary. Her work has also been compared to that of Madonna, Cher, and Celine Dion. The material on her albums ranges from versions of opera arias from composers such as Puccini (on Harem, Eden, and Timeless), to pop songs by artists such as Kansas ("Dust in the Wind" on Eden), Dido ("Here with Me" on La Luna), and Procol Harum ("A Whiter Shade of Pale" on La Luna).

Personal Life

At age 18, Brightman married Andrew Graham Stewart, a music manager. This marriage ended in divorce. She met Lloyd Webber while performing in Cats; Lloyd Webber later divorced his first wife, Sarah Hugill, to marry Brightman in 1984. During their partnership, the couple faced intense media and tabloid scrutiny. The marriage lasted until 1990, when they divorced. Brightman acknowledged the marriage in a 1999 interview as a "difficult time" but also one of much creative output. Currently they are on friendly terms; at the 20th London anniversary of The Phantom of the Opera, Lloyd Webber publicly pronounced Brightman a "wonderful woman" and "absolutely beloved mentor". Later, Brightman became involved with Peterson, a relationship that lasted for several years.

Brightman has suffered several personal crises, including the suicide of her father in 1992, and two miscarriages. In an interview with the British magazine Hello!, she stated that motherhood would have been "lovely", but she accepted her destiny peaceably.

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