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Sarah Brightman
September 14, 1999 - San Jose Center for the Performing Arts - San Jose, CA

Sarah Brightman is a vocal prodigy. Coming to fame early in the 1980s as the new find, and love, of theater genius Andrew Lloyd Webber, Sarah took off on her own wings and has carved a very popular niche for herself. Sarah can certainly sing, and sing she does in many different styles. Her forté has been in musicals, such as Cats and Phantom Of The Opera, but she has also covered such rock classics as Brian May's (of Queen) "Who Wants To Live Forever" and Kansas' "Dust In The Wind." The song she is most known for, "Time To Say Goodbye" has sold more worldwide than any other song ever. Currently, Sarah has been touring for her One Night In Eden show which displayed her songs in very colorful and interestingly designed theater setting.

The show opened with several characters in Celtic monk cloaks walking out with candles burning. They parted the red velvety curtain which showed Sarah laying on an elegant chaise lounge as Cleopatra. During "Who Wants To Live Forever" the set was lit as waves of clouds floated about the stage. The orchestra went into an instrumental before Sarah changed costumes and returned to sing several Spanish and Italian influenced songs. One of these was "Nella Fantasia" which was inspired by an instrumental soundtrack for the film, "The Mission", which Sarah had begged the composer to allow her to put lyrics to. The final song of the first set was "Nessun Dorma."

After the 20 minute break, Sarah returned on a stage now lit as an underwater ocean fantasy with the hint of dolphins swimming in the background as she launched into her "oceanic" set of two numbers - "La Mer" and "Dive/Captain Nemo". During the first number, Sarah was flown into the air as though swimming angelically beneath the waves. Then, upon the end of the song, the backdrop lowered as though the oceans receded downwards and the railing of a ship appeared as Sarah went into her rendition of the theme to Titanic, in Italian. Sarah also performed some of the songs for which she is best known as she sang "Phantom Suite: Twisted Every Way - Overture - Little Lottie" and "Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again" from Phantom Of The Opera as well as "Music Of The Night", before ending the second set. An encore was, of course, expected as Sarah returned to the stage to perform her final and most classic number, the appropriately titled "Time To Say Goodbye", which she sang flawlessly. Her accompanying musicians, which included orchestra, along with her dancers are to be applauded for laying the musical foundation for Sarah to work off of. After a rather loud musical overpowering of Sarah's voice in the first number, the vocals and music went on to layer themselves nicely within each other.

Although, arguably, perhaps a bit self-indulgent by some standards, Sarah Brightman is truly a work of art to be seen. Her voice seems to attach itself to any range as she controls it with perfection. Her beauty is effervescent as she performs in her young, sprite-like demeanor. Aside from just her magical voice, Sarah moves with the grace and agility of a fairie while maintaining the dignity of a princess.

At the completion of this tour, she is planning to take a sabbatical for an extended time before beginning work on a new CD which will contain her own penned tunes. That will be the true definer that will lock her into place in music history.

Written by and Photos © 1999 Philip Anderson

Philip Anderson is a musician, in addition to being a writer/photographer. He has performed as a guitarist/vocalist, as well as songwriter, in several bands over the past 20 years. As a writer and photographer, he has been published by several magazines and in several books, and had his works appear on television.

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