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Pop - Released January 1, 2003 | Angel Records

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Classical - Released November 9, 2018 | Sarah Brightman

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Classical - Released January 1, 2008 | Manhattan Records

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. © TiVo
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Pop - Released January 1, 1993 | Polydor Associated Labels

Recorded with a large contingency of German musicians, British stage-diva Sarah Brightman's Dive is a loose concept album tied together by a common thread of nautical references. Opening with the short, spoken-word piece that is the title track, there are constant images of the sea throughout the lyrics. The material sounds like what you would expect from Brightman's ex-husband Andrew Lloyd Webber. It's all fairly pretentious power ballads, but there's no denying that they're melodic. Brightman has a powerful set of pipes and, actually, shows a good deal of restraint. There are several songs that are a cut above like "Captain Nemo" and "Seven Seas." She does go over the top on her cover of Procol Harum's "A Salty Dog," but she redeems herself with the closer, "The Second Element II." The song, a reprise of an earlier track, is a stripped-down, acoustic affair with a subdued vocal by Brightman. © Tom Demalon /TiVo
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Pop - Released March 10, 2017 | Nemo Records

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Classical - Released January 1, 1998 | Angel Records

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Pop - Released January 1, 2005 | Polydor Records

Though six of the 14 tracks on Love Changes Everything: The Andrew Lloyd Webber Collection, Vol. 2 are tagged as "previously unreleased," that's a little misleading. Fans still get to hear Sarah Brightman singing "Too Much in Love to Care" from Sunset Boulevard, or "Make Up My Heart" from Starlight Express. But it's not as if the songs themselves are new, and the arrangements don't differentiate that much from the countless other versions out there. (Andrew Lloyd Webber's catalog alone is clogged with best of/greatest hits/encore collection redundancy.) Nevertheless, Love Changes Everything gives listeners a slightly remixed version of the title track -- its bass line is pumped up and a brass fanfare has been added -- and Brightman's ending to "Think of Me" (on a duet with Steve Barton) is pretty amazing. "Don't Cry for Me Argentina" appears in a suitably epic Spanish version, and the Joseph fave "Any Dream Will Do" is its usual jaunty self. As for the truly previously unreleased songs, Brightman's pristine, mannered delivery wins over the sugary A/C keyboards and typically ALW flourishes in "Probably on a Thursday" and "Perfect Year." © Johnny Loftus /TiVo
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Classical - Released January 1, 2000 | Angel Records

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Classical - Released January 1, 2008 | Manhattan Records

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Pop - Released April 16, 2013 | Simha

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Dreamchaser is classical crossover superstar Sarah Brightman's first studio recording in five years. The offering was inspired by her decision to become the first singer in outer space. She has already spent time training, and is scheduled to blast off to the International Space Station in 2015. Mike Hedges and Sally Herbert (the latter formerly of the Banderas) helmed these sessions with heavy hands and regal elegance. The set opens with the spacy classical pop of "Angel," written by Herbert and Jerry Burns specifically for the singer. Its enormous strings, electronic percussion, throbbing bassline, disembodied backing voices, guitars, and harp offer a dramatic entrance -- especially when the choir enters to cap it. Up next is the first eye-opener: her reading of Elbow's "One Day Like This." Her voice is surrounded by sequenced synths, painstakingly arranged strings, and ambient textures, turning this indie pop gem into the mainstream, grown-up variety, yet keeping the song's integrity. She follows it with a reading of Sigur Rós' "Glosoli," with English lyrics by Squeeze's Chris Difford. The beautiful, subtle soundscapes of this Icelandic band are absent here, replaced by a more pronounced sense of melody. That said, ambient sounds, layers of cellos and violincellos, a restrained backing chorus, and drums that sound like muted thunder create a stellar backdrop for Brightman's gorgeous vocal. Her readings of the "Lento e Largo" from Henryk Górecki's Symphony No. 3 and Rimsky-Korsakov's "A Song of India" are less successful, however, due to so much reverb that Brightman actually gets swamped in the mix. Another standout is her version of Sia's confessional "Breathe Me." Framed in sparse keyboards and warm spacious electronics before the other instruments enter, her vocal is treated with digital delay and reverb tastefully, adding dimension to a track she makes her own. Likewise, pushing her version of the Cocteau Twins' "Eperdu" out further on an excess ledge -- while remaining faithful to the basic production -- works quite well, even if it is less delightfully alien than the original. That said, her reading of Paul McCartney's "Venus and Mars" falls quite flat, containing none of the charm written into the tune. Though Dreamchaser may not win her many new fans -- she doesn't need them -- it's is a shoo-in for fans. Despite some missteps, Brightman stretches her comfort zone again; she gets points for even attempting some of these songs. That she pulls off her most daring choices is a testament to her artistry. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Pop - Released March 10, 1997 | Nemo Records

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Classical - Released January 1, 1997 | Angel Records

In the pop music world of the 1950s and 1960s, when you scored a hit single, you used to put together an album featuring the hit as the title song, with the disc filled out by soundalike songs that, with any luck, might give you a follow-up hit. Apparently, the world of contemporary classical crossover isn't much different. Sarah Brightman, who enjoyed a European hit with "Time to Say Goodbye," her duet with Andrea Bocelli, constructed an album beginning with that recording and continuing in kind. The characteristics of the hit -- a lush, melodramatic, mock-operatic arrangement complete with a crescendo out of Ravel's "Bolero" and soaring voices singing in English and Italian -- are repeated here, whether the material is drawn from Puccini, the Gipsy Kings, or Queen. The result is thus not as eclectic as you might at first suppose, and anyone suspecting that Brightman continues to find ways to restate her performances of Phantom of the Opera would not be far wrong. (Which is not to say that the formula doesn't work, as this album enjoyed a healthy run at the top of the classical crossover charts.) © William Ruhlmann /TiVo
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Classical - Released January 1, 2008 | Manhattan Records

You probably already know whether or not you're going to like this album, but for those who haven't yet encountered the phenomenon called Sarah Brightman, a stab at objective description may be in order. The genre is British crossover classical, with a mixture of contemporary pop-style tunes and more traditional numbers, in this case Christmas carols. Some of the factors that have made Brightman unusually successful among practitioners coming from the pop/Broadway side of the genre are on display in this seasonal release, with the outer covers showing Brightman slogging through a winter landscape and the booklet artwork showing the prone, bare-shouldered singer swathed in diaphanous linens and looking awestruck as snowflakes or confetti (better hope it's the latter) drop from above. First and foremost is Brightman's voice. You can argue over whether Andrea Bocelli or Russell Watson has operatic chops, but the debate is irrelevant in Brightman's case. She's the crossover equivalent of Donna Summer or Beyoncé, a singer who is good at adapting her voice to the needs of the surrounding production. Other examples might be the two female vocalists of ABBA, from whose Arrival LP the opening selection is drawn. But Brightman can do more with her voice than those Swedes, and part of what gives people chills is the way she can push her squeaky sound up into its top register in a piece like "Silent Night" (track 4) and not lose control. A second thing Brightman's albums do well (and here the credit goes to the producers and arrangers) is to make a symphony orchestra (several of Europe's finest, actually) sound uncannily like a pure product of studio electronics. Is that a good thing? Brightman detractors might read the Harry Crews novel Car, in which a redneck junkyard employee becomes distraught over the prevalence of mechanization and attempts to eat an entire car piece by piece, before saying no. The third effective piece of musical intelligence here is the selection of material. The subconscious cues that make music like this work are buried below the surface, and the surfaces work best if they are calmly simple. This does not foreclose gnomic lyrics like those of Andersson and Ulvaeus or of Neil Diamond (the little-known "I've Been This Way Before"); indeed, they can enhance the overall effect. Brightman and her producers have a knack for picking songs that aren't hackneyed, yet go down easily. Most of her colleagues would not have been likely to pick "Colder than Winter" by U.S. country singer/songwriter Vince Gill, for example, but it works like a charm. All in all, if you like Sarah Brightman, you are virtually guaranteed to like this album. And if you're absorbed by the strangeness that is European pop culture, you just might like it too. © TiVo
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Musical Theatre - Released January 1, 2002 | Decca (UMO)

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Musical Theatre - Released January 1, 1989 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

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Classical - Released January 1, 1990 | Polydor Records

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Classical - Released November 16, 2018 | Sarah Brightman

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Pop - Released January 1, 2005 | Polydor Records

Though six of the 14 tracks on Love Changes Everything: The Andrew Lloyd Webber Collection, Vol. 2 are tagged as "previously unreleased," that's a little misleading. Fans still get to hear Sarah Brightman singing "Too Much in Love to Care" from Sunset Boulevard, or "Make Up My Heart" from Starlight Express. But it's not as if the songs themselves are new, and the arrangements don't differentiate that much from the countless other versions out there. (Andrew Lloyd Webber's catalog alone is clogged with best of/greatest hits/encore collection redundancy.) Nevertheless, Love Changes Everything gives listeners a slightly remixed version of the title track -- its bass line is pumped up and a brass fanfare has been added -- and Brightman's ending to "Think of Me" (on a duet with Steve Barton) is pretty amazing. "Don't Cry for Me Argentina" appears in a suitably epic Spanish version, and the Joseph fave "Any Dream Will Do" is its usual jaunty self. As for the truly previously unreleased songs, Brightman's pristine, mannered delivery wins over the sugary A/C keyboards and typically ALW flourishes in "Probably on a Thursday" and "Perfect Year." © Johnny Loftus /TiVo
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Pop - Released January 1, 2001 | Angel Records

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Classical - Released April 5, 2019 | UNQUIET

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