:: related pages
Frank Peterson
(composer/producer)
Thomas Schwarz & Matthias Meissner
(composers/producers)
Alex Christensen
(producer)
Andrea Bocelli
(duet-vocalist)
Gregorian
(duet-artist)
Chris Thompson
(duet-vocalist)
Paul Bateman
(conductor)
United Citizen Federation
(remix-project)
Michael Soltau
(producer)
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Photo copyright eastwest Records - digitised by Stefano TrentadueT was to be the sound of Enigma, that would bring Sarah Brightman and Frank Peterson together to create a team that has gone from strength to strength solidly for more than a decade. Frank's inventive re-styling of Sarah's music and image ensured that her popular appeal never waned. Taking us from albums of romantic, sea-swept pop to Sarah's Siren-like voice haunting us across ominous dance soundscapes. However it was to be her classical-crossover guise that would grant Sarah the greatest success, a genre she and Frank helped forge into the popular one it is today. But one of Sarah Brightman's greatest qualities, is her ability to ease into all these disparate performance-roles effortlessly.

:: prelude in America

After her success as a leading stage-musical singer during the 1980s, such as her defining theatrical role as Christine in"The Phantom Of The Opera", Sarah sought a solo career in Los Angeles. Her fame was both a blessing and a curse, as it meant people only knew her from her stage-musical roles, and thus thought of her always in this style. But then Sarah heard the music of Enigma, a project recently released in Europe and enjoying a growing popularity. Its style instantly captivated her and Brightman realised this was the mood she wanted for her music. Her work with the American producers had not managed to reach this same revelation and she expressed a desire to work with someone from Enigma. Thus Sarah travelled to Germany in 1991 to meet Frank Peterson. The two had an immediate synergy in what they were trying to achieve with their music.

:: new beginnings

As a relative unknown in Germany, Sarah could cast off her old image completely and start anew. Peterson, too, was starting from scratch with a new studio being built and fresh off Sadisfaction. So began a long and involved production, as Frank and Sarah experimented with new styles of music to determine what her sound should be. Initially shuttling back-and-forth between Hamburg and Britain, where she was still starring in various theatrical productions, Sarah later moved to Germany permanently to continue her career there with Frank. In 1993 she triumphed with her first Peterson-produced hit, Captain Nemo. This song served as the landmark start of her solo career with Frank, with the full-length album Dive following later that year. The album's gentle synth-ballads mixed with rock beats and dark textures, made for a haunting journey with its tragic tales of lost galleons and sea-swept legends. Frank and Sarah's partnership continued to strengthen, ensuring a great friendship between the two, both professionally and personally.

:: flying high

Peterson's next major project was with Marky Mark and Prince Ital Joe the following year. Sarah demoed Life In The Streets before the choir-parts were recorded, it was simply a one-take session. Although these recordings were not used on that album, Frank felt her vocals fit rather well on some of the remixes and thus they can be heard on The Remix Album. This project had also served to introduce Frank and Alex Christensen who then went on to collaborate for three tracks on Sarah's follow-up album Fly. The aggressive hard-edged sound came as something of a shock to some fans, but it proved that Sarah was willing and eminently capable of performing a variety of styles convincingly. The concept of Brightman's crystal-clear angelic voice pitched against powerful, unrepentant dance music was personified in A Question Of Honour, the single that made her truly a European star.

:: the turning-point

So impressed by her vocal range was Peterson that he urged Sarah to start taking opera lessons. As a showcase for this new honing of her talent, Frank adapted the song Time To Say Goodbye. No expense was spared to give Sarah the full orchestral backing she richly deserved. Although originally a solo piece, Peterson decided to re-cast it as a duet and it was fitting then that the singer of the original version Andrea Bocelli be invited to perform the male lead.

The heart-rending duet with its string ensemble and faint military beat was debuted at the retiring fight of German boxer Henry Maske. It was a complete gamble really, opera can be a tough-sell to audiences fashioned out of pop and rock. And although Sarah's previous big-hit had incorporated operatic elements, it had not been solely a classical-styled arrangement. But with its haunting melody, Time To Say Goodbye quickly became the biggest-selling single ever in German recording history. Its success wasn't limited to Germany or even Europe, but went on to be a massive worldwide hit selling more than 4 million copies (and counting!)

:: the precedent

This success prompted Peterson to find more songs in this neo-operatic vein, yet at the same time ensuring a contemporary appeal. The classically poignant subsequent album, Timeless was the masterpiece that truly gave Sarah global stardom, including markets such as America and Britain which had previously remained elusive for her solo-career. Just as Fly had been so radically different from Dive so too was this new album a complete departure from the work Frank and Sarah had done previously. But despite such a change in style, it brought her a wealth of classical-crossover fans and laid the ground-work for her new image: one of an operatic chanteuse, effortlessly floating from Puccini aria to pop-ballads. The world had finally been conquered by the operatic voice of a woman whom people thought could only do musicals!

:: exotic world

With Brightman's success now firmly rooted, Peterson could expand the repertoire with synthesisers and electronic textures. In 1998 Eden was released again seamlessly combining opera vocals with orchestral music, but with a greater modern-dimension than Timeless. It also kicked off the first world tour of Sarah Brightman's solo career, which began in South Africa's Sun City. The show, designed and arranged by Frank, brought a visual dimension to the music with a troupe of dancers, orchestra and wide array of breathtaking costumes. She visited numerous countries throughout 1999 and received tremendous welcome from each. For the first time also, a VHS and later a DVD, of her One Night In Eden show at Sun City was released worldwide. Forever the perfectionist, whenever Sarah hears one of her songs on radio or television, she gives her personal criticism of what she could have done better.

:: elevation

From here there was only one way to go: up and the heavens became the subject of her following release. On 25 April 2000, her fifth Frank Peterson-produced album, La Luna was finally available in Europe. It picks up where Eden left off, combining pop with opera but now also including elements of folk and traditional, thereby perfecting Sarah's dark-ambient pop-classical crossover style. Many people who would hardly ever listen to opera, now found it refreshingly interwoven within Sarah's albums. This was due in no small part to Frank's unnerving talent for selecting exactly the right source material and arranging it in such a way that it would be pleasing for a pop audience. Although Peterson admits he does not readily enjoy full-length operas, he is very knowledgeable about the famous arias and orchestral standards.

The first single off the American edition of the new album was A Whiter Shade Of Pale which was also specially remixed by German club/trance music producer ATB (Andre Tannenberger). This therefore resulted in a single with the unrivalled distinction of not only topping Pop and Classical Crossover lists, but also Dance charts! Along with the new album, Sarah launched her second world tour on 20 August 2000. Beginning in Brazil this time, she performed a remarkable 60 shows before the year-end. The concert was a superb and impressive event which complemented the music of the album and proved that she is an equally impressive live performer (and definitely not afraid of heights)!

:: serious form

After such a taxing year, it was important for Sarah to take a break from recording, so on 20 November 2001 a compilation album was released entitled Classics which featured 8 of her more classical-orientated songs from her last three albums. But Sarah never could rest, so 7 never-befere-released recordings were included as well.

:: talents

Besides her stunning vocal performance, Sarah Brightman is also able to play piano and keyboards. Ever since Dive, she has also been taking a more active role in producing, composing and arranging her music. But Sarah also contributes to other Peterson projects, from co-composing songs for Princessa's album Calling You to providing guest vocals on Gregorian's Masters Of Chant albums.

Sarah presenting Frank with a cake on his birthday - digitised by Netcore:: and to relax?

When she is not busy with music Sarah enjoys going to the movies, preferably at midnight, so that her work during the day is not disturbed. Although often staying in Milan training with her vocal teacher, she spends most of her time in Germany with Frank and the two enjoy taking long walks along the beach. In the mornings, she also jogs around the lake in Hamburg, as running makes her feel wonderful. During the summer she looks forward to working in the garden at her London home, which she describes as a wild place filled with apple trees and mountain roses.

:: early start

Before her deserved rise to fame as a solo performer, Sarah had always been part of an ensemble. Born on 14 August 1960 in Berkhampstead, England she finished school early and joined a pop-group called Hot Gossip in the late 1970s. They had some top ten hits, their biggest success being (I Lost My Heart To A) Starship Trooper which was re-released with all-new remixes, two decades later as a Frank Peterson project called United Citizen Federation.

:: all the world's a stage

Sarah was out of work for about a year and a half after Hot Gossip folded, before deciding to audition for a new musical called "Cats". There she met the composer of the show, Andrew Lloyd-Webber, a prolific British stage-musical producer who told her she should consider working in the theatre. Sarah had to go through at least another six auditions after that (for the producer, director etc.), but she persevered and finally clinched the role. So at the age of 20 Sarah began a career in musicals, but always knew that she would never stay in it forever.

After "Cats" she performed in the musical "Nightingale" where she received arguably her best theatre reviews ever. She also played Valencienne in "The Merry Widow" (1985) at the Saddler Wells' Opera and Tara Treetops in a show called "Masquerade". Brightman and Lloyd-Webber were married in 1984, and during their time together she mainly concentrated on singing in his musicals. However she did continue to star in non-Lloyd-Webber shows like "The Merry Widow" and "Masquerade". Later she also released a few albums, namely The Trees They Grow So High, As I Came Of Age and The Songs That Got Away (which was produced by Lloyd-Webber). In 1990, Sarah and Andrew were divorced, which compelled her to start afresh and begin a journey that would ultimately culminate in a solo career with Frank Peterson at the helm a career filled with praise, plaudits, awards and massive album-sales.

:: the horizon...

Towards the end of 2001, Peterson began fleshing out the concept for Brightman's newest album. The desert sands of the Middle East were calling and soon Sarah would be welcoming everyone into the music of Harem. And, as has become the norm, Sarah launched a world tour in December 2003 to promote the new album. But this is a tour that was bigger, brighter, and bolder than ever before – and in 2004 the Live From Las Vegas DVD and CD recording revealed one of the most impressive performances of the tour.

Sarah is a remarkable performer, with a truly heavenly voice that will remain forever timeless...


This ever-growing biography would not be possible without the invaluable assistance of Ellen Chang and her Sarah Brightman Timeline Website.

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