Sarah Brightman

Sarah Brightman
Sarah Brightman

Sarah Brightman performing at the World Athletics Championships 2007 in Osaka
Background information
Born 14 August 1960 (1960-08-14) (age 51)
Origin Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, England
Genres Classical crossover, operatic pop, Symphonic Rock, Symphonic Metal, pop, New Age, rock, dance, electronica, techno, folk, traditional
Occupations Singer, actress, songwriter, dancer
Instruments Vocals, piano, keyboards
Years active 1976–present
Labels A&M (1993)
East West (1995–2001)
Angel/EMI (1997–2007)
Manhattan/EMI (2008–present)

Sarah Brightman (born 14 August 1960) is an English classical crossover soprano, actress, songwriter and dancer. She is famous for possessing a vocal range of over 3 octaves and singing in the whistle register. [1][2]

She sings in many languages which are English, Spanish, French, Latin, German, Italian, Russian, Hindi, Mandarin Chinese and Japanese.[3]

She began her career as a member of the dance troupe Hot Gossip and released several disco singles as a solo performer. In 1981, she made her musical theatre debut in Cats and met composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, whom she married. She went on to star in several Broadway musicals, including The Phantom of the Opera, where she originated the role of Christine Daaé. The Original London Cast Album of the musical was released in CD format in 1987 and sold over 40 million copies worldwide, making it the biggest-selling cast album of all time.[4]

After retiring from the stage and divorcing Lloyd Webber, Brightman resumed her music career with former Enigma producer Frank Peterson, this time as a classical crossover artist. She is often credited as the creator of this genre and remains among the most prominent performers, with worldwide sales of more than 30 million records and 2 million DVDs, establishing herself as the world's best-selling soprano of all times.[5][6][7]

Her duet with the Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli, "Time To Say Goodbye", topped charts all over Europe and became the highest and fastest selling single of all times in Germany, where it stayed at the top of the charts for fourteen consecutive weeks breaking the all-time sales record, with over 3 million copies sold in the country.[8][9] and subsequently became an international success with 12 million copies worldwide.[10] She has now collected over 180 gold and platinum sales awards in 38 different countries.[11]

Brightman is the first artist to have been invited twice to perform at the Olympic Games, first at the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games where she sang "Amigos Para Siempre" with the Spanish tenor Jose Carreras with an estimated global audience of a billion people, and sixteen years later in Beijing, this time with Chinese singer Liu Huan and performing the song "You and Me" to an estimated 4 billion people worldwide.[12]

Since 2010, Brightman is Panasonic's global brand ambassador. Together they launched the song "Shall Be Done" at the 2010 Winter Games held in Vancouver, Canada. The lyrics of the song express Panasonic's vision for the next generation as well as Brightman's vision, infusing the spirit of 'ideas for life' of contribution for a sustainable society. The song has been used in a wide range of global promotional activities including stores, advertising, exhibitions and other events.[13]

Brightman is the element of union in Panasonic's signing of Strategic Partnership Agreement with the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, as she stars the campaign "The World Heritage Special" that is being aired on the National Geographic Channel in 183 countries and areas.[14] She has also been named promoter of Malaysia's brand promotion campaign "Econation Campaign".[15]

Apart from music, Brightman has begun a film career, making her debut in Repo! The Genetic Opera (2008), a rock opera-musical film directed by Darren Lynn Bousman, and in autumn 2011 and early 2012 the Stephen Evans' "First Night" is released in which she plays the role of a conductor, opposite to Richard E. Grant.[16] [17] In addition, she formed her own production company, Instinct Films, where her first film is in pre-production.[18]

Brightman ranks among Britain's music millionaires with a fortune of £30m (about US$49m).[19]


Family and early life

Brightman is the oldest of six children of businessman Grenville Geoffrey Brightman (1934[20]–1992) and Paula Brightman (née Hall). She was raised in Little Gaddesden, a village near Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, England, and lived in John O'Gaddesden House in the village. At age three, she began taking dance classes at the Elmhurst School for Dance in Camberley, Surrey.[21] and went on to perform in local festivals and competitions.[22] At age 11, she successfully auditioned for The Arts Educational School, Tring Park, a boarding school specialising in performing arts.[21] Although Brightman was teased by other students and attempted to run away, she nevertheless remained at the school. Later, she auditioned for the Royal Ballet in London but was rejected.[23] Brightman continued to study dance, particularly jazz, as a pupil of choreographer Arlene Phillips. At 13, on 1973 Brightman made her theatrical debut in the musical I and Albert at the Piccadilly Theatre, London, playing one of Queen Victoria's daughters (Vicki).[24][25]

In 1977, she was recruited to lead Arlene Phillips' troupe Hot Gossip. More provocative than Pan's People, the group had a disco hit in 1978 with "I Lost My Heart to a Starship Trooper", which sold half a million and reached number six on the UK charts. Hot Gossip released a follow-up single, "The Adventures of the Love Crusader", six months later, but it failed to chart, reaching a high of number 53 on the UK charts.[26] Brightman, now solo, released more disco singles under Whisper Records, such as "Not Having That!" and a cover of the song "My Boyfriend's Back".[27] In 1979, Brightman appeared on the soundtrack of the movie "The World Is Full of Married Men" and sings the song "Madam Hyde".[28][29]

1981–1989: Stage career

Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman performing the title song of The Phantom of the Opera at Her Majesty's Theatre.

In 1981, Brightman auditioned for the new musical Cats and was cast as Jemima. In rehearsals she met Andrew Lloyd Webber. After a year in Cats, Brightman took over from Bonnie Langford as Kate in The Pirates of Penzance at the Drury Lane Theatre, London, and appeared as Tara Treetops in Masquerade, a musical based on Kit Williams's book of the same title. On that year she left to play the title role in Charles Strouse's children's opera, Nightingale.[30]

Enticed by a rave review, Webber went to watch her in the show one evening and was flabbergasted. It seemed inconceivable that he could have missed such vocal talent when she'd been in his show for a year. It would be an awakening that would alter more than just his perception of her. It would alter the course of their careers and lives. The two married in 1984, and Brightman appeared in many of Lloyd Webber's subsequent musicals including Song and Dance and the mass Requiem, the latter written for her.[30]

Scarcely a year later, Brightman's crystalline recording of Pie Jesu rocketed up the charts, selling 25,000 copies[30] on the first day of release and peaking at number 3; no mean feat for a song in Latin. With classical music permeating the Lloyd Webber household (Brightman was in heavy operatic training at the time), Webber was moved to write the Requiem Mass as a tribute to young victims of war. Its Manhattan premiere, starring Placido Domingo and Sarah Brightman, was filmed by both PBS and the BBC for later broadcast. The LP eventually became UK's top selling classical album of the year and earned Brightman a Grammy nomination as Best New Classical Artist."[31]

Brightman starred as Christine Daaé in Lloyd Webber's adaptation of The Phantom of the Opera. The role of Christine was written specifically for her.[31] Lloyd Webber refused to open The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway unless Brightman played Christine. Initially, the American Actors' Equity Association balked, because of their policy that any non-American performer must be an international star. Lloyd Webber had to cast an American in a leading role in his next West End musical before the Equity would allow Brightman to appear (a promise he kept in casting Aspects of Love). In the end, it was a compromise that more than paid off. "Phantom" chalked up a staggering $17 million in advance sales prior to opening night on Jan 28, 1988, and generated a public and media frenzy that is unmatched since.[32] The original cast album was the first in British musical history to enter the music charts at number one. Album sales now exceed forty million worldwide and it is the biggest selling cast album of all time, and has gone six times platinum in the US, twice platinum in the UK, nine times platinum in Germany, four times platinum in the Netherlands, 21 times platinum in Korea and 17 times platinum in Taiwan.[33]

After leaving Phantom, she performed in a tour of Lloyd Webber's music throughout England, Canada, and the United States, and performed Requiem in the Soviet Union. Studio recordings from this time include the single "Anything But Lonely" from Aspects of Love and two solo albums: the 1988 album The Trees They Grow So High, a compilation of folk songs accompanied by piano, and the 1989 album The Songs That Got Away, a musical theatre compilation of songs cut from shows by composers such as Irving Berlin and Stephen Sondheim, also Brightman sang the song "Make Believe" at the end during the credits of the children's film "Grandpa"; Howard Blake wrote the music and lyrics.[34]

By 1990, Brightman and Lloyd Webber separated. After their divorce, Brightman played the lead in Lloyd Webber's Aspects in London opposite Michael Praed, before transferring to Broadway.[27] Her work in Aspects notwithstanding, Brightman steeled herself and set forth to find her own footing. Perhaps the most poignant declaration of independence came in the form of her second solo album from this period, an eclectic but personal collection of folk-rock songs that she had hand-picked. It was a departure from musical theatre and indeed, a departure for Webber himself. More tellingly, the album bore a most prescient title: As I Came of Age.[30]

1990s: Solo career

Brightman and José Carreras closed the Barcelona Olympic Games singing the theme song "Amigos Para Siempre" to a worldwide audience of 3 billion people. The song was released on seven-inch vinyl and CD single. The CD single also has the rarer Spanish version of the song. The lyrics, written by Don Black, are in English, except for the title phrase which is repeated in English, Spanish and Catalan.[35]

Her stage career curtailed, Brightman pursued solo recording in Los Angeles. Inspired by the German band Enigma, she requested to work with one of its members. Her request was answered and in 1991 Brightman traveled to Germany to meet producer Frank Peterson. Their first release was Dive (1993), a water-themed pop album that featured "Captain Nemo", a cover of a song by the Swedish electronica band Dive.[36] The album is considered Brightman's first success as a recording solo artist, receiving her first Gold award for exceptional sales in Canada.[37]

Fly (1995), a pop rock album and her second collaboration with Peterson, propelled Brightman to fame in Europe with the hit "A Question of Honour". The song and the video by Frank Papenbroock introduced at the World Boxing Championship match between Germany's Henry Maske and Graciano Rocchigiani, combined electronic dance music, rock elements, classical strings, and excerpts from the aria "Ebben? ... Ne andrò lontana" from Alfredo Catalani's opera La Wally.[38]

The cover of the Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman single Time to say Goodbye.

"Time to Say Goodbye" ("Con te partirò") was the second Brightman song debuted for Maske, this time at his retirement match. This duet with tenor Andrea Bocelli became an international hit and sold more than 3 million copies in Germany alone,[31] became Germany's best-selling single, and was successful in numerous other countries; the album eventually sold over 12 million copies worldwide.[10] Because of the song's success, a 1996 re-issue of Fly featured "Time to Say Goodbye" as the first track. It is regarded as one of Brightman's, and indeed Bocelli's, signature songs.

Timeless (released in 1997, with the title Time to Say Goodbye in the United States) contained "Time to Say Goodbye" and other classical-inspired tracks such as "Just Show Me How to Love You", a duet with José Cura (originally sung by Dario Baldambembo with the title "Tu Cosa Fai Stasera?"), a cover of the Queen hit "Who Wants to Live Forever", and "Tu Quieres Volver", (originally recorded by the Gipsy Kings). The album has sold 1.4 million copies in the US[39] and 4 million worldwide.[40][41]

In March 1998, her own PBS special, Sarah Brightman: In Concert at the Royal Albert Hall, marked the point when she crossed from Billboard's Top Heatseekers chart to the Billboard 200 chart, with Time to Say Goodbye.[42] The same year, Brightman starred A Christmas in Vienna along Placido Domingo, Helmut Lottie and Riccardo Cocciante singing traditional Christmas carols.[43] On 7 April 1998 she was one of the guest stars in Andrew Lloyd Webber's 50th Birthday Celebration singing Hossanaa with Dennis O'Neill, Pie Jesu, Phantom of the Opera with Antonio Banderas, All I Ask of You with Michael Ball and Music of the Night.[44] In 1999, she appeared on the album I Won't Forget You by Princessa, another artist with whom Peterson had worked.[45]

2000–2004: Further international success

Later albums included Eden (1998) (the title track of which was a cover of a song by Belgian band Hooverphonic), and La Luna (2000). These albums, unlike Time to Say Goodbye, incorporated more pop music elements. Reviews were mixed – LAUNCHcast deemed Eden "deliriously sappy",[46] while Allmusic called Eden "a winning combination"[47] and La Luna "a solid, stirring collection".[48]

Eden reached #1 on the US Billboard Classical Crossover chart and #65 on the Billboard 200 charts and was certified Gold.[49] La Luna peaked at #17, with 900.000 in US sales and receiving Gold as well.[39] In addition, both albums reached #1 on Billboard's Classical Crossover charts. La Luna also reached #1 on the US Billboard Top Internet Albums and #1 on the Mexican Top 20 International Chart. In 2000, PBS's La Luna concert, Brightman sang There for Me in a duet with an up and coming star, Josh Groban. At the end of 2001, Billboard magazine noted Brightman as one of four classical crossover artists from the UK (the others being Charlotte Church, Russell Watson, and bond) with albums on both the Classical Crossover and Billboard 200 charts, a phenomenon which, it said, contributed to a resurgence of UK music in the US after "a historic low" in 1999.[50] In 2000, Brightman sold more records than Elton John and the Rolling Stones, becoming America's highest-selling and top touring British artist.[51]

Brightman ventured into film acting in 2000 when she was part of the cast of the German film "Zeit der Erkenntnis", based on Rosamunde Pilcher book.[52]

In 2001, Brightman released Classics, a compilation album of operatic arias and other classical pieces including a solo version of "Time to Say Goodbye"; this was released worldwide except Europe. In the US the album peaked at #66 on the Billboard's 200 charts and went Gold.[49] It reached #2 on Billboard's Classical Crossover charts, Entertainment Weekly although calling Brightman a "stronger song stylist than a singer", gave the album a grade of B-.[53] -. Classics was re-released in the Europe as "Classics: The Best of Sarah Brightman" in 2006. The European edition has the same cover art, but a different track listing.

In 2002, Brightman released "The secret" on SASH!'s fourth studio album S4!Sash!. This song was re-released in 2007 as "The secret 2007 (Unreleased)" on SASH!'s sixth album 10th Anniversary.

Her 2003 album Harem represented another departure: a Middle Eastern-themed album influenced by dance music. On Harem, Brightman collaborated with artists such as Ofra Haza and Iraqi singer Kazem al-Saher. Nigel Kennedy contributed violin tracks to the songs "Free" and "The War is Over", and Jaz Coleman contributed arrangements.[31]

The album peaked at #29 on the Billboard 200 charts (with sales tracked by Nielsen SoundScan figuring at approximately 333,000, or about one-third the total sales of La Luna),[54] #1 on the Billboard Classical Crossover chart and #1 on the Swedish Album Chart[citation needed] and yielded a #1 dance/club single with the remix of the title track. Some time later, another single from the album (the ballad "Free", cowritten with Sophie B. Hawkins) became a second Top-10 hit on this chart. A year later of the album's release, Harem was referred as a multi-million seller in EMI's annual music sales report.[55]

The albums Eden, La Luna and Harem were accompanied by live world tours which incorporated the theatricality of her stage origins. Brightman acknowledged this in an interview, saying, "They're incredibly complicated...[but also] natural. I know what works, what doesn't work, all the old tricks."[56] In both 2000 and 2001, Brightman was among the top 10 most popular British performers in the US, with concert sales grossing $7.2 million from 34 shows in 2000 and over $5 million from 21 shows in 2001.[57]

In 2004 the Harem tour grossed $60 million and sold 800,000 tickets,[31] $15 million and 225,000 sales of which came from the North American leg, although with ticket prices raised 30% from previous tours, average sales per venue were up 65%.[54] In North America, Harem tour promoters Clear Channel Entertainment (now Live Nation) took the unusual step of advertising to theatre subscribers, in an effort to reach fans of Brightman's Broadway performances, and also sold VIP tickets, at $750 each, that included in-stage seating during the concert and a backstage pass.[54] Tour reviews were mixed: one critic from the New York Times called the La Luna tour "not so much divine but post-human" and "unintentionally disturbing: a beautiful argument of emptiness."[58] In contrast, a reviewer from the Boston Globe deemed the Harem tour "unique, compelling" and "charmingly effective."[59]

Television specials on PBS were produced for nearly every Brightman album in the U.S.; a director of marketing has credited these as her number-one source of exposure in the country.[50] Indeed, her concert for Eden was among PBS's highest-grossing pledge events.[60]

2006–2008: Diva and Symphony

Sarah Brightman performing during her Symphony World Tour in Auburn Hills.

Brightman released a DVD collection of her music videos on 3 October 2006 under the title of Diva: The Video Collection. The Singles Collection is the accompanying CD, released on the same date. The album marked the first time Brightman has released a greatest hits album in the United States; it reached #1 on the Billboard Classical Crossover chart. Her other reflective offerings for Europe were The Very Best of 1990-2000 and Classics: The Best of Sarah Brightman. These four compilation albums were intended as a marketing strategy to bridge the gap between Brightman's previous 2003 album Harem and her next album that would be released on early 2008.

Brightman was one of the artists featured on the January 2007 series of the prime time BBC One show Just the Two of Us, partnered with English cricketer Mark Butcher.[61] The pair finished the competition in third place.

Subsequent appearances include the Concert for Diana in July 2007, where she sang "All I Ask of You" from The Phantom of the Opera with Josh Groban. Around 15 million people from across the UK watched Concert for Diana at home, and it was broadcast to over 500 million homes in 140 countries; 7 July 2007 Chinese leg of Live Earth in Shanghai, where she performed four songs ("Nessun Dorma", "La Luna", "Nella Fantasia" and "Time to Say Goodbye") and debuted her single "Running" at the 2007 IAAF Championships in Osaka, Japan on 25 August.[62] She also participated at the 2007 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, where she performed "The Journey Home" on the Jolly Polly Pirate Ship.[63] She recorded a duet with Anne Murray singing "Snowbird" on Murray's 2007 album Anne Murray Duets: Friends and Legends.[64]

On May 2007, Brightman was invited along with Lesley Garrett to sing at the Wembley Stadium in London the anthem " Abide With Me before the FA Cup final between Chelsea and Manchester United.[65]

At a dinner held at The Mansion House, on 10 September 2008, His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales highlighted the urgent need for action to halt tropical deforestation. The Prince invited Brightman to sing at the event they hosted to engage the financial community in the task of finding a solution to the problem of making rainforests worth more alive than dead. The music performed was Nella Fantasia (used in the soundtrack of the movie The Mission) and further declared a Hymn to the rainforests.[66]

On 29 January 2008, Brightman released her first album in five years: Symphony, influenced by gothic music.[67] The Title track of the album "Symphony" is a cover of "Symphonie" by the German band Silbermond. In the United States, it became Brightman's most successful chart entry and also her highest ranked album on Billboard's "Top 200 Albums". It was also a #1 album on two other Billboard's charts: "Top Internet Albums" and "Top Classical Crossover Albums". The album moved there 32,033 copies in first week,[68] according to Nielsen Soundscan. However, the album's success was short-lived in the United States, with sales declining rapidly in the country and disappointing final results. In contrast, the album debuted in top five positions and received multiple Gold and Platinum awards in Canada, Mexico, Japan, Tawian, China and Poland, and entered the top twenty across Europe.[69][70]

Featured on the album were artists Andrea Bocelli, Fernando Lima, and KISS vocalist Paul Stanley, who duets with Brightman on "I Will Be with You", the album version of the theme song to the 10th Pocket Monsters motion picture, Dialga VS Palkia VS Darkrai (Pokémon: The Rise of Darkrai).[71] On 16 January 2008, she also appeared in concert at Vienna’s Stephansdom Cathedral, performing songs from her new album. Special guests who sang duets with Brightman include Italian tenor Alessandro Safina, Argentinean countertenor Fernando Lima, and British singer Chris Thompson. Brightman made several appearances on television in the United States to promote Symphony, including Fashion on Ice on NBC on 12 January, The View on 30 January, Martha on 31 January and Fox and Friends on the Fox News Channel.

She performed two songs, "Pie Jesu" and "There You'll Be", at the United States Memorial Day concert on 25 May 2008 held on the west lawn of the United States Capitol in Washington D.C.. The top-rated show was broadcast live on PBS before a concert audience of 300,000 and millions more at home, as well as to American troops serving around the world on the American Forces Radio and Television Network.[72][73] Brightman made her feature film debut as Blind Mag in the rock musical film Repo! The Genetic Opera which was released on 7 November 2008.[74][75][76] Brightman was cast in the film at the last minute after the original actress who was cast for the role was dropped.[76] On 8 August 2008, Brightman was honored to sing the Olympic theme song, "You and Me", with Chinese star Liu Huan in both Mandarin and English at the Beijing Olympics opening ceremony. The event appeased the already established supreme popularity and recognition of Brightman in the Asian country. The performance was broadcast to over five billion viewers. In the 26 hours after the performance, "You and Me" was downloaded 5.7 million times.[77][78]

On 4 November 2008, Brightman released her first holiday album, entitled A Winter Symphony, the album debuted at number #38 on the Billboard Top 200 and scored a number six in the Top Holiday Albums, being the first entry for Brightman on this chart.[79] To accompany Symphony and A Winter Symphony, Brightman embarked on a tour in Autumn 2008; "The Symphony World Tour" featured new and groundbreaking technology, with virtual and holographic stage sets that had never been seen before in any touring concert production.[80]

In addition to the tour, there were other appearances to promote the Christmas album such as the Walt Disney World Very Merry Christmas parade where Brightman sang "Silent Night" airing on ABC in the Christmas Morning.[81] Brightman also performed in the Japanese TV show Happy Xmas Show (Nippon Television Network) which was aired on NTV(Japan) on 23 December. Filmed at St. Brendan Catholic Church in Los Angeles, the songs performed included Lennon's "Happy Christmas (War is Over)" and "Symphony". Finally, the "I Believe in Father Christmas" music video was premiered on Amazon as part of their Twelve Days of Christmas program. The video was featured on the Music Homepage.[82]

2009–present: Rise in Latin American and Asian markets

Following her performance at the Beijing Olympics, Brightman was appointed as the Shanghai 2010 World Expo Promotion Ambassador in Britain. In anticipation of the Expo, she launched "Shanghai Week in London", which showcases the city's heritage and culture.[83]

In response to persistent calls for a global release of the Symphony: Live in Vienna concert, EMI Music launched worldwide the PBS special which features Brightman's landmark performance at Vienna’s St. Stephen's Cathedral on January 16th, 2008, in both audio and visual formats. The Symphony — Live in Vienna television special debuted on PBS in March 2008 during the network’s spring pledge drive and aired throughout the month. The album broke all-time records of sales in Taiwan and experienced success in certain Latin American markets.[84]

The music of Brightman was featured in the movie Amarufi: Megami no hôshû (international title: Amalfi: Rewards of the Goddess), which was a special production to mark Fuji Television's 50th anniversary. The first Japanese movie to be shot entirely on location in Italy. In conjunction with the release of the movie Amalfi, Brightman released only in Japan an album titled Amalfi - Sarah Brightman Love Songs which reached Gold status in the aforementioned country.[85][86]

Brightman performing in the Concert of the Pyramid in Chichen Itza, Mexico.

Autumn 2009 saw Brightman starting a new concert tour called Sarah Brightman In Concert covering Latin America with 13 sold-out performances in Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, Chile, Argentina, and Brazil. The last venue of the tour, "The Concert of the Pyramid" featured Brightman performing a concert at the archaeological site of Chichen Itza, an UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.[87][88]

Japanese network NHK premiered in november 2009 the historical drama series Saka no Ue no Kumo; to give a boost to the rating of the series they put Brightman in charge of the main theme song for the first season. The song's lyrics are entirely in Japanese. Titled "Stand Alone," the song was composed by Joe Hisaishi and written by Kundo Koyama. It was included on the drama's soundtrack album, released on 18 November 2009.[89]

Since January 2010, Brightman is Panasonic's global brand ambassador. Together they launched the song "Shall Be Done" at Panasonic's Olympic Pavilion at LiveCity Yaletown, the official celebration site of the 2010 Winter Games held in Vancouver, Canada. The lyrics of the song express Panasonic's vision for the next generation as well as Brightman's vision, infusing the spirit of 'ideas for life' of contribution for a sustainable society. The song has been used in a wide range of global promotional activities including stores, advertising, exhibitions and other events.[13]

Back in the United States she appeared on 15 September 2010 on America's Got Talent's finale episode before that season's winner was revealed. The soprano was the celebrity guest duetting with ten year old contestant Jackie Evancho.[90]

Given the increasing popularity of Brightman in Asia, the artist toured there in late 2010 with 5 gigs in Tokyo alone, followed by presentations on Kanazawa, Nagoya, Osaka in Japan, Macau in China and Seoul in South Korea. The singer headed to perform in private events in Canada and Ukraine as well as part of the tour.[91][92][93]

On 3 November 2010, Brightman was invited to sing at the Tōdai-ji Buddhist temple complex located in the city of Nara, Japan. The temple is a listed UNESCO World Heritage Site as "Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara".[94][95] The concert was recorded and later broadcasted nationwide by TBS network.[96]

On 27 January 2011 Hunan Broadcasting System, China's second biggest television network after China Central Television (CCTV) invited Brightman to participate in their Spring Festival, analogous celebration to the New Year's celebrations in the Western countries. She sang Scarborough Fair -Brightman's evergreen song in China- and Nessun Dorma.[97] For the first time it was revealed that Brightman charges an average of US$ 150,000 for interpretation in such events as Chinese media remarked.[98] When announcing the arrival of Brightman in their country, local press took the opportunity to mention China's appreciation and gratitude for the singer by her donations for the development of that area of China after the Wenchuan earthquake.[99]

Her popularity continues to rise remarkably in Asia, with high profile appearances and sales. Brightman was South Korea's best-selling international artist of 2010 with her album Diva: The Singles Collection charting the almost the whole year in the #1 spot ahead Mariah Carey, Michael Jackson, Eminem, among others. The album was released in 2006, but charted again in both 2009 and 2010 when Brightman toured there with the Symphony World Tour and Sarah Brightman In Concert With Orchestra. Diva was certified Double Platinum in South Korea. Also, her digital single "Nella Fantasia" has sold 2 million copies in the country.[100]

Brightman's multifaceted profile grants her importance in the music scene that she has today. As her solo version of the single Time to Say Goodbye is a best-seller in Japan and goes Gold in the same country,[101] SC Films International release their new production under the direction of BAFTA winning producer Stephen Evans bringing Sarah Brightman and Richard E. Grant as stars.[102][103] The film was first screened at 2011' Glasgow Film Festival, and is to be released on late October, November and early December worldwide.[104] First Night is a story of love's fluctuating fortunes set against a backdrop of visual and vocal beauty.

In parallel, on 1 and 2 October 2011, she made a special appearance during the finale of The Phantom of the Opera at The Albert Hall; a fully staged production performed at the famous London venue - marking 25 years since the musical received its world premiere. Brightman performed the title song backed by five past, present and future Phantoms.[105]

Legal action against YouTube

Frank Peterson, a German composer, producer and copyright holder for several of Sarah Brightman's performances, sued YouTube in Germany for allowing Brightman's work to be posted by users. The Hamburg state court has now ruled that Google Inc.'s subsidiary YouTube LLC must pay.[106]

Music and voice

Sarah Brightman and Liu Huan performing "You and Me", the Beijing Olympic theme song.

Brightman underwent vocal training first with Elizabeth Hawes, head of the Trinity Music College in London, and later with Ellen Faull of Juilliard. She currently studies with internationally known voice teacher David Romano. She has a three-octave vocal range.[107] According to Brightman, her voice sometimes reaches an F6.[108] However, her highest note sung in public and in studio is the E6 final of "The Phantom of the Opera".

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."[27]

She sometimes uses her pop and classical voices in the same song. One example is "Anytime, Anywhere" from Eden, a song based on 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. Another example is heard in the Lions Gate film Repo! The Genetic Opera, during the songs "Chase The Morning" and "Chromaggia" by her character, Blind Mag.

Brightman's music is generally classified as classical crossover. According to Manhattan Records GM Ian Ralfini, she is largely responsible for the popularity of the genre.[22] In a 2000 interview with People, Brightman dismissed the classical crossover label as "horrible" but stated she understood people's need to categorise music.[109] Her personal influences include '60s and '70s musicians and artists such as David Bowie and Pink Floyd,[31] and she incorporates aspects of genres from pop/rock to classical. Her work has also been compared to that of Madonna, Cher and Celine Dion.[110] 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). She sings in many languages which are English, Spanish, French, Latin, German, Italian, Russian, Hindi, Mandarin Chinese and Japanese.

Personal life

At age 18, in 1979, Brightman married Andrew Graham-Stewart, who then managed the German band Tangerine Dream.[111] In 1983, she divorced Graham-Stewart. She met Andrew Lloyd Webber when she performed in Cats, and Lloyd Webber later divorced his first wife, Sarah Hugill, to marry her on 22 March 1984.[112][113] in Hampshire. Their marriage saw intense media and tabloid scrutiny. Brightman acknowledged the marriage in a 1999 interview as a "difficult time" but also one of much creative output.[26] They are currently on friendly terms; at the 20th London anniversary of The Phantom of the Opera, Lloyd Webber called Brightman a "wonderful woman" and "absolutely beloved mentor". He appeared as a special guest in her 1997 concert at the Royal Albert Hall (London).

Brightman has suffered several personal crises. In February 1992, her 57-year-old father committed suicide by asphyxiation in his car in Hertfordshire after divorce and financial issues.[114] Later, she experienced an ectopic pregnancy and two miscarriages with Peterson.[21] In an interview with British magazine Hello!, she said motherhood would have been "lovely" but accepted that she would never have a child.[115]

Sarah Brightman has a younger sister named Amelia Brightman, who has collaborated with both Sarah and Gregorian.


  • 1997 Echo Award nomination: Best Female Artist[11][116]
  • 1998 Echo Award: Best Song Time To Say Goodbye[11][116]
  • 1998 Guinness Book Entry: Germany’s Best-Selling Single of All Time Time to Say Goodbye[11][116]
  • 1999 Czechoslovakian Grammy: Singer of the Year[11][116]
  • 2001 New Age Voice Music Award, US: Best Vocal Album[11][116]
  • 2003 Media Control Award, GAS: Biggest Hit of All Time Time To Say Goodbye[11][116]
  • 2004 Arabian Music Award: Best Collaboration (“The War Is Over” with Kazim Al Saher)[11][116]
  • 2004 Arabian Music Award: Best Female Artist[11][116]
  • 2005 New York Film Festival: First Prize, Music Documentary (A Desert Fantasy)[11][116]
  • 2005 New York Film Festival: Third Prize, Music Video Time to Say Goodbye[11][116]
  • 2009 The 24th Japan Gold Disc Award 2010: Classic Album of the Year Amalfi - Sarah Brightman Love Songs[117]
  • 2010 Mexico's Lunas del Auditorio nomination: Best Pop-artist in foreign language[119]

Stage credits



  • Trelawny of the Wells (as Rose Trelawney), 1992
  • Relative Values (as Miranda Frayle), 1993 Chichester Festival and Savoy Theatre
  • Dangerous Obsession (as Sally Driscoll), 1994 Haymarket Theatre, Basingstoke
  • The Innocents (as Miss Giddens), 1995 Haymarket Theatre, Basingstoke


  • Granpa, 1989 animated children's film, singing "Make Believe" over the end credits
  • Brokedown Palace, 1999 singing "Deliver me".
  • Zeit der Erkenntnis, 2000 feature film (Germany), as herself
  • Repo! The Genetic Opera, 2008 feature film, as Blind Mag
  • Amarufi: Megami no hôshû (Amalfi: Rewards of the Goddess), 2009 feature film (Japan), as herself
  • First Night (aka Cosi), 2010 feature film, as Celia

Selected discography

Studio albums

Albums with Lloyd Webber

Compilation albums


  • Andrea Bocelli – "Time to Say Goodbye", "Canto Della Terra"
  • Plácido Domingo – Requiem (Lloyd Webber), "The Closing of the year", "La ci darem la mano", "Love Unspoken", "Time to say goodbye", "La Traviata: Libiamo ne' lieti calici... Brindisi", "Die Lustige Witwe – Lippen Schweigen","The Phantom Of The Opera: All I Ask Of You", "West Side Story: Maria & Tonight"
  • Sir John Gielgud – "Gus: the Theatre Cat"
  • José Carreras – "Amigos para Siempre ", "Love Unspoken", "La Traviata: Libiamo ne' lieti calici... Brindisi"", "Subaru"
  • Michael Crawford – The Phantom of the Opera (Andrew Lloyd Webber)
  • José Cura – "Just Show Me How to Love You", "There for Me"
  • Josh Groban – "There for Me", "All I Ask of You"
  • Andrew Lloyd Webber – "Whistle Down the Wind"
  • Tom Jones – "Something in the Air"
  • Antonio Banderas – "The Phantom of the Opera"
  • Cliff Richard – "All I Ask of You", "Only You"
  • Gregorian – "Moment of Peace", "Join Me", "Héroes", "When A Child is Born", "Send Me An Angel", "Voyage Voyage", "Don’t Give Up"
  • Riccardo Cocciante – "Frohlice Weihnacht", "Cantemos Rapaces", "Santa Claus is Coming to Town", "Silent Night"
  • Kadim Al Sahir – "The War is Over"
  • Nigel Kennedy – "Free"
  • Ofra Haza – "Mysterious Days"
  • Chris Thompson – "How Can Heaven Love Me", "I Will Be With You (Where The Lost Ones Go)", "The Phantom of the Opera"
  • Fernando Lima – "Pasión", "Ave Maria"
  • Alessandro Safina – "Sarai Qui", "Canto Della Terra", "The Phantom of the Opera" (Symphony World Tour – México, Asia)
  • Mario Frangoulis – "Carpe Diem", "Sarai Qui", "Canto Della Terra", "The Phantom of the Opera" (Symphony World Tour – EE.UU., Canadá)
  • Paul Stanley – "I Will Be With You (Where The Lost Ones Go)"
  • Liu Huan – "You And Me"
  • Dj Schiller – "The Smile", "I've Seen it All"
  • Sash! – "The Secret Still Remains" or "The Secret" & "The Secret (2007)"
  • Prince Ital Joe Feat. Marky Mark – "Happy People", "Life in the Streets" (Background vocals Sarah Brightman)
  • Michael Ball – "All I Ask of You", "Seeing is Believing"
  • Andrzej Lampert – "I Will Be With You (Where The Lost Ones Go)"
  • Sergey Penkin – "I Will Be With You (Where The Lost Ones Go)"
  • I Muvrini – "Tu Quieres Volver"
  • Eric Adams – "Where The Eagles Fly"
  • Jacky Cheung – "There For Me" * Steve Harley – "The Phantom of the Opera"
  • Erkan Akin – "Just Show Me How To Love You","The Phantom of the Opera", "Canto della Terra" and "Sarai Qui" in "Sarah Brightman In Concert 2009" a Tour in South America "Latin American Tour".
  • Paul Miles-Kingston – "Pie Jesu"
  • Connar Burrowes: "Pie Jesu" (This Is Your Life: Andrew Lloyd Webber, 1994)
  • Adam Clack: "Pie Jesu" (In Concert "At The Royal Albert Hall" – 1997)
  • Ben De'Ath: "Pie Jesu" (The Andrew Lloyd Webber Celebration, 1998)
  • Andrew Swait: "Pie Jesu" (The Classical Brit Awards – 8 May 2008)
  • Eric Scott Kincaid – "The Phantom of the Opera"
  • David Malek – "The Phantom of the Opera: All I Ask Of You"
  • Mark Butcher – "Take The Weather With You", "Heroes", "Leaving On A Jet Plane", "Let's Face The Music And Dance", "Music Of The Night", " Ain't No Sunshine", "The Rose", "Moon River"
  • Princessa – "Calling You" (1996) (Background vocals Sarah Brightman)
  • Anne Murray – "Snowbird"
  • Betty Buckley – "Memory" (Kennedy Center Honor – 3 December 2006)
  • Lesley Garrett – "Abide with me" (FA Cup Final 19 May 2007)
  • Jackie Evancho – "Time To Say Goodbye" - (America's Got Talent - 15 September 2010)

These Duets were announced but were never made:

  • Florent Pagny – "Just Show Me How To Love You"
  • Biondo – "I Will Be With You (Where The Lost Ones Go)"


See also


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External links

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