Back to Enigma-like Bands
Sarah Brightman| Web Site:

2003 Heady and intoxicating, Harem is, without doubt, the most expansive and cinematic of Sarah’s albums yet. The same artistry that, in previous albums, was used to interlace pop with opera, is evident here yet again. This time, Sarah and producer Frank Peterson deftly intermingle their contemporary and, at times, dance-oriented sensibilities with the exotic instrumentation and melodic phrases of bygone eras. Nowhere is this fusion more pronounced than in the mesmerizing title track, Harem. Although this album is a departure from her recent classical crossover albums, one song features Sarah’s operatic voice. On It’s A Beautiful Day, Puccini’s Un Bel di is artfully coalesced with driving synthesizer beats and Middle Eastern refrains. Sarah’s voice is complemented by Nigel Kennedy’s touching violin passages and Kadim Al Sahir’s strapping vocals on the melancholy and mournful "The War is Over." In "What You Never Know" and "Free," Sarah delivers intimate renditions, exposing the raw vulnerability that her fans find so endearing and seductive. Sarah takes on an active writing role in this album and is credited with writing or co-writing the lyrics and/or music to Harem, It’s A Beautiful Day, Free, The War Is Over Now and You Take My Breath Away. Lyrics that speak of myth and fantasy weave through the album.

2001 Classics is the essential collection of Sarah’s classical greatest hits, merging new recordings with her personal favorites from Eden and La Luna, including her solo version of the international hit "Time To Say Goodbye." New recordings with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra include Ave Maria, Winterlight, Alhambra and Dans La Nuit. Sarah also re-recorded Pie Jesu, Nessun Dorma and O Mio Babbino Caro for Classics. Although the music is classical, the artwork is far from Sarah’s cover photos feature edgy digital alterations. Sometimes clothed in little more than gold foil, Sarah strikes poses that are reminiscent of classical Botticelli paintings
La Luna

2000 Nothing is as evocative of romance and of alienation as the moon. Nothing is at once so barren, yet so vivid. La Luna manages to capture not only the enigma that is the moon but its elusive beauty as well. Sarah achieves this, not by tethering her lyrics to the theme, but with the artful use of voice and orchestration. The album opens with "La Lune," gauzy and moody, laced with ambient sounds and voice samples. This sets the tone for the infectious "Winter in July." (These two tracks are not on the European release, which features a slightly different tracklist). In the meantime, haunting background vocals on "This Love" and Beethoven's "Figlio Perduto" leave them to linger in the listener's head long after the songs are over. On "Gloomy Sunday," Sarah’s silky voice stands in stark contrast to Billie Holiday's smoky rendition. In this album, Sarah can be heard gliding seamlessly between classical adaptations, '60s anthems and contemporary pop tracks in English, Italian, Spanish, French, even Russian. In the hands of conventional artists, Handel's "Solo Con Te" would never co-exist on the same album with the trip-hoppy "This Love," much less be adjacent to it. At times, the transition between Sarah's pop and opera voices is made within a single song, like on the US version of Dvorak's "La Luna." Conversely, Sarah uses her full operatic voice throughout the European version of "La Luna."

1999 Following the enormous international success of Timeless/Time To Say Goodbye, Sarah’s subsequent album, Eden, evokes a musical paradise that is both lush and tranquil. Sarah co-wrote In Paradisum with Peterson and the lyrics to So Many Things. In addition to English, Sarah also sings in Latin, Italian and French. The mystical strains of the opening track, In Paradisum, sets the mood for the album. This is followed by the title track, Eden, where Sarah’s sensual vocals are interlaced with haunting Gregorian chants. The album seamlessly merges pop and classical, sometimes within the same song; the sultry "Anytime, Anywhere" being a case in point. Operatic highlights include Haendel’s Laschia Ch’io Pianga and Puccini’s Nessun Dorma, hitherto the sole domain of tenors. Contemporary songs include the uplifting Deliver Me, the remarkably placid So Many Things and Ennio Morricone’s Nella Fantasia. Aptly named indeed, Eden has the uncanny ability to soothe workaday nerves and transport to the listener to a quiet haven of serenity. The US release of Eden contains "The Last Words You Said," a duet with Richard Marx. The Japanese edition also contains the duet, plus "Time To Say Goodbye." A subsequent "Millenium Edition" release features "Time To Say Goodbye," "Sleep Tight" and the bonus track, "Desert Rose."

1997 This, of course, is the album on which the international smash hit Time to Say Goodbye feels most at home. This platinum breakthrough topped the Billboard Classical Crossover chart in the U.S. for a staggering 35 weeks, sold three million copies worldwide and went gold or platinum in 21 countries. Recorded with the London Symphony Orchestra, this album takes on a decidedly more classical feel. It was released in Europe by East-West as Timeless, and in the US as Time To say Goodbye on Angel Records (EMI’s classical label). The album includes multiple operatic arias as well as two passionate duets with the famous tenor, Jose Cura. It also features live performances of Mozart’s Alleluja and O Mio Babbino Caro (first recorded by Sarah as the B-side to the Theme from a Room with a View single in 1987)

1995 Fly is Sarah’s second collaboration with Frank Peterson. The album is rock-oriented and far edgier than its predecessor Dive. Sarah co-produced the album with Frank Peterson and also co-wrote lyrics for The Fly, Why, You Take My Breath Away, and Fly with Peterson, plus Heaven is Here, and I Loved You with Thomas Schwarz. Sarah also performs on lead vocals, piano and background vocals (virtuoso performances in their own right, such as on the impossibly high chorus of How Can Heaven Love Me). On the two original duets in the album, the vulnerability of Sarah’s voice strikes a gorgeous antithesis to the raspy vocal performances of Tom Jones and Chris Thompson (of Manfred Mann's Earth Band fame). On How Can Heaven Love Me, Sarah’s vocal textures run the gamut, from sweetly pure to positively penetrating. After the initial release of Fly, Sarah enjoyed meteoric success with her single Time to Say Goodbye, a classical duet with Andrea Bocelli. Due to public clamor for the song, subsequent pressings of Fly include Time to Say Goodbye, even though it does not thematically fit the rest of the album. Question of Honour is a fusion of rock and opera that is nothing short of masterful. The song begins with an aria from Catalani’s La Wally, which is eventually layered into a synthesized and ebullient new composition by Peterson, featuring Sarah’s dulcet voice set against a male chorus. Other highlights include the Indian-inspired You Take My Breath Away (later reprised in Harem) and the wonderfully sparse and chaste Murder in Mairyland Park.

1993 Dive marks an important milestone in the career of Sarah Brightman. Not only does it signal a departure from her successful musical theatre career with Andrew Lloyd Webber and her return to her pop roots, it marks her first collaboration with German producer, Frank Peterson (the co-producer of Enigma’s first album). An association that has continued to this day, the team has produced a stunning body of music in the decade that they have worked together. Dive is an aqua-inspired album, the first of many thematic recordings that they would produce together. Like the ocean, this album is magnanimous and mercurial. It is at once heaving with passion (“Salty Dog”), tranquilizing (“La Mer”), atmospheric (“Captain Nemo”) and sensual (“Once In A Lifetime”). The album was co-produced by Frank Peterson and Sarah Brightman. In addition to lead vocals, Sarah is also credited for keyboards and background vocals. Sarah co-wrote the lyrics of “Once in a Lifetime” and “La Mer” with Peterson; “When it Rains in America” with Peterson and Schwarz, and “By Now” with Schwarz. Simon Fowler (who photographed Dive and all of Sarah’s albums since) captures Sarah in a sheer gold outfit on the inside sleeve