This is billed as a live recording of Sarah Brightman, and at some level no doubt it is one. There are photos of Brightman under the footlights, and an accompanying DVD contains more details about the elaborate production that goes into a show of this kind. The final product, however, is nearly as much a result of studio work as with any of Brightman's studio releases. The end of each track captures a segment of audience applause, enthusiastic enough, and it is instructive that toward the end Brightman thanks the audience for its patience. Plainly not all was spontaneous. The live situation barely affects the features of Brightman's voice that have made her so successful, so distinctive, and so reviled in certain quarters.
Indeed, she comes through in its full strangeness here, where there are limits on the subtlety of the instrumental accompaniment, which tends to alternate between hushed tones and full-on bombast.
Like Brightman or not, her singing is far from monotonous. She's something like the female vocalists from ABBA, but with the advantage of vocal training, and if you step back from her voice and listen to it objectively, unimpeded by either fandom or animus, what you hear are weird sounds that just about nobody else could make. Listen to the opening track, Andrew Lloyd Webber's Pie Jesu, noting the almost crowing sound Brightman makes in her upper register on the lines beginning with "Qui tollis," and then again at the final little flourish. It's not a sound that would be pleasant on its own, but in the electronic environment within which Brightman works, even in a live situation, it stands out in the listener's mind. Brightman's choice of material is canny. It's noteworthy here for its pan-European base-covering -- Brightman sings in several languages, often within the course of the same number -- and its corresponding lack of influence from American pop. Brightman had a hand in several numbers, and her producer Frank Peterson shaped several others. This is Europop at its splashiest and most elaborate, inflected in a classical direction, and few people do that better or more distinctively than Sarah Brightman, "live" or not.
|Pie Jesu, for soprano, treble & orchestra (from the Requiem) / Andrew Lloyd Webber||Sarah Brightman||3:56|
|Fleurs du Mal, song / Sarah Brightman / Martin Himmelsbach / Klaus Hirschburger / Matthias Meissner / Frank Peterson / Thomas Schwarz||Sarah Brightman||4:46||SpotifyAmazon|
|Symphony, song / Grant Black / Sarah Brightman / Stefanie "Pony" Kloß / Andreas "Nowi" Nowak / Johannes "Hannes" Stolle / Thomas "Ratte" Stolle||Sarah Brightman||5:00|
|Sanvean, song / Andrew Claxton / Lisa Gerrard||Sarah Brightman||4:03|
|Canto della terra, song / Lucio Quarantotto / Francesco Sartori||Sarah Brightman||4:21|
|Sarai qui, song / Michelangelo La Bionda / Diane Warren||Sarah Brightman||4:10|
|Attesa, song (adaptation of the Sinfonico Intermezzo from Mascagni's Cavalliera Rusticana) / Sarah Brightman / Chiara Ferrau / Pietro Mascagni||Sarah Brightman||4:40|
|I Will Be With You (Where the Lost Ones Go), song / Amund Björklund / Espen Lind / Magnus Rostadmo||Sarah Brightman||4:48||Amazon|
|Storia d'amore, song / Michelangelo La Bionda / Sarah Brightman / Phil Cordell||Sarah Brightman||4:20||SpotifyAmazon|
|Pasión ("Sueñas con un amor"), song / Jorge Avendaño Lührs||Sarah Brightman||5:33|
|Running, song / Sarah Brightman / Klaus Hirschburger / Frank Peterson||Sarah Brightman||6:20||Amazon|
|Let It Rain, song / Carsten Heusmann / Klaus Hirschburger / Frank Peterson||Sarah Brightman||4:36|
|The Phantom of the Opera, song (for the musical The Phantom of the Opera) / Charles Hart / Richard Stilgoe / Andrew Lloyd Webber||Sarah Brightman||4:36|
|Time to Say Goodbye (Con te partirò), song / Frank Peterson / Lucio Quarantotto / Francesco Sartori||Sarah Brightman||4:35|
|Ave Maria [For voice & piano] [after Bach's Prelude No. 1 from the Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1] / Charles Gounod / Frank Peterson||Sarah Brightman||3:32|