Sarah Brightman, depending on who you ask, is best known for one of three things: playing Christine in Andrew Lloyd Webber
's The Phantom of the Opera
, being a classical crossover singer, or appearing in Repo! The Genetic Opera
. This is a consequence of her reinventing herself enough times to rival Madonna
(or perhaps David Bowie
). A chronology:
The disco era. Yes, there was an era before Phantom
. In her late teens, she and the British dance troupe Hot Gossip scored a hit with the song "I Lost My Heart to a Starship Trooper," which is pretty much Exactly What It Says on the Tin
and an attempt to cash in on the popularity of Star Wars
and similar space films that came out during this time. She released many solo singles as well.
The Musical Theatre
era. Long story short, she met Andrew Lloyd Webber
while soloing on his Requiem
album, married him, and starred in a number of his musicals, most famously as Christine in The Phantom of the Opera
— a part written specifically for her. Much tabloid attention was had.
The early solo era. Brightman and Webber eventually divorced — more tabloid attention was had — and she released several now-obscure, rather uneven solo albums such as "As I Came Of Age." All this pales in comparison to:
The Frank Peterson era. Around the early '90s, Brightman heard the work of Enigma, liked it a lot, and got in touch with one member of the group, Frank Peterson. He has been her producer ever since (and was her boyfriend for much of the decade.) Her albums since then include:
- Dive: Water-themed, unsurprisingly, and somewhat of a transition from the early solo era. Most fans consider it to be somewhat uneven.
- Fly: A rock/electronic album, the likes of which she has never recorded since. Also contains one of her first classical crossover singles, "A Question of Honor."
- Eden: Her first true "classical crossover" album.
- La Luna: Like Eden, but more ethereal. Moon-themed.
- Harem: Middle Eastern-themed and more influenced by electronic and dance music.
- Symphony: Classical crossover again.
- Dreamchaser: Space-themed (in celebration of her flight to the International Space Station in 2013). Time will tell as to what genre it falls under, but her first single, "Angel", seems to be classical crossover.
She's also appeared in Repo! The Genetic Opera
as Blind Mag
, in one of the more pronounced What the Hell, Casting Agency?
in that film.
Provides examples of:
- Adaptation Dye-Job: Sarah Brightman is the reason why Christine is brunette in the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, not blonde as in the book.
- Breakup Song: "Free," "So Many Things"
- Christmas Songs: On A Winter Symphony, an entire album of them.
- Concept Album: Most of her earlier albums would qualify.
- Cover Version: She does a lot of them.
- The Cover Changes The Gender: Many of her covers, but averted with Tu, originally by Mecano. In effect, she's singing it to a woman.
- Elegant Classical Musician
- Epic Rocking: Many of her songs, such as "A Question of Honor" and "Arabian Nights," are fairly long with several distinct sections. (In Arabian Nights, they're specifically delineated.)
- Greatest Hits Album: Several.
- Hotter and Sexier: "Once In A Lifetime" was rewritten from its original version by Frank Peterson's old project Gregorian. This was the effect.
- Intercourse with You: Surprisingly, a lot of it. Once in a Lifetime is probably the most blatant example.
- Law of Inverse Fertility: While in a relationship with George Peterson, she had an ectopic pregnancy and two miscarriages. Ouch.
- Lyrical Dissonance: "Once in a Lifetime."
- Mistaken for Cheating: "Hijo de la Luna." A gypsy woman makes a deal with the moon to find her a husband, as long as she agrees to give up her first-born child in return. The baby ends up as pale as the moon. Bad things happen.
- Murder Ballad: "Hijo de la Luna" counts as one, but her folk-ballad album The Trees They Grow So High is unusual for NOT containing these.
- The Muse: To Andrew Lloyd Webber, arguably to Frank Peterson.
- New Sound Album: At least three times in her career.
- Of Corsets Sexy: Many of her costumes.
- Pimped-Out Dress: Her concerts are famous for these. Just one glorious example.◊
- Sampling: An interesting variation; a lot of her early work contains samples from songs off "Sadisfaction," an earlier Frank Peterson album.
- Shout-Out: Over half the lyrics of "I Loved You"; a few in "As I Came Of Age". Nearly all of the lyrics in "I Lost My Heart To A Starship Trooper" consist of references to many different Sci Fi and Space Opera works.
- Soprano and Gravel: Most of her non-classical duets end up like this, particularly anything involving Chris Thompson.
- Spoken Word In Music: "I Loved You" samples a Ronald Reagan speech.
- Sweet Polly Oliver: A rendition of the Trope Namer ballad is on her album "The Trees They Grow So High."
- To The Tune Of: "Running" is set to Holst's "Jupiter". "Figlio Perduto" is set to Beethoven. "Schwere Traume" is set to Mahler. It's a crapshoot whether these are credited or not.
- Truck Driver's Gear Change: Several songs — "The War Is Over" for one.